Kičevo (Кичево, Kichevo)


Kicevo - a city in the central part of Western Macedonia. The city lies in the Kichevo Valley under the southeastern slopes of Mount Bistra. Kicevo is 110 km away from Skopje, and is located almost halfway between Gostivar (46 km) and Ohrid (61 km). The city of Kicevo with its location is one of the most important traffic and transit centers in Western Macedonia.


Origin of the name Kicevo
When the Slavs came to this area, they established new settlements. The present city was probably founded at that time, which, as a settlement, is first mentioned in a charter of the Byzantine emperor Basil II from 1018 with the toponym Kitsavis. During the Middle Ages, the city was mentioned with the forms Kitsavin and Kitshavin (Kichavin) and was part of the Ohrid Archbishopric. The Archbishop of Ohrid Theophylact mentioned the settlement with the toponym Kittava, and the Byzantine chronicler Acropolis named the city of Kicevo with the forms Kitsavin and Kitsaveos. In 1316 near the town of Kitsavis (Kicevo) was built the monastery "St. Prechista ”in which our first revivalists Joakim Krчоovski and Kiril Pejчиinoviгаш once resided and were educated.

When the Turks came to the Kichevo region at the end of the 14th century after the death of King Marko, Kichevo is mentioned as a settlement in a written document from the second half of the 15th century. The famous Turkish travel writer and geographer Hadji Kalfa visited the city in the first half of the 17th century and mentioned it with the forms Firdzova, Firchova (Firchovo), Kirchova (Kirchovo). From these forms it is presumed that the toponym Krchovo (settlement in Krchevina) was obtained. With the name Krchovo the settlement was mentioned in a firman of Sultan Selim III from 1798 as kaza (surrounding place) - Krchovska kaza. In the Middle Ages, during the reign of King Milutin, the form Kichava was used. Vuk Karadzic mentions the forms Krcevo and Kicava. The name Krcevo in the sixties of the 19th century is also mentioned by the Russian scientist A. Gilferding. The Austrian travel writer J. Mr. In a geographical map from 1867, Hahn mentions the city in the form of Krishtevo. It is assumed that the current name of the city comes from the forms: Kitsavis, Kirchovo, Krchovo or Krcevo.

Folk legends explain the current name of the city of Kicevo differently. According to the legend of Marko Cepenkov, he connects the name of Kicevo with the fortress above the city that Volkashin built for his daughter Kita. (King Mark's sister). The fortress (fortress) was named after her, Kitino Kale, ie Kitin Grad. Later, a settlement was established under Kitino Kale, which was named Kicevo after the name of Kita (Kite, Kice - accented).

History of Kicevo
Ancient and medieval history
Near today's Kicevo there was a city in ancient times, known as Uskana. This settlement was first mentioned during the reign of the ancient Macedonian ruler Perseus. In that period the city played an important role in the Macedonian-Roman wars (170-169 BC). During Roman rule, the valley in which the present settlement is located was well populated, as evidenced by archaeological remains. The Romans also built roads in this part of Macedonia. It is believed that the Roman settlement was destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 518.

It is known that a roadside castle (fortress) was built on Calais during the Romans which served to control the ancient Skupi-Lychnid road. Whether there was a fortress here before is not certain. The road passed at the foot of the fortress, exactly where the main street passes today. In time, people began to settle under the fort and along the ancient road, and a small trading settlement was formed. In time, it grew into a small town. Life was beautiful. Life was rich. With the barbarian invasions (Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgarians, Slavs) life in the settlement itself probably stopped, and the temples were probably destroyed. In the 7th century the Slavs settled. The Bulgarian and Byzantine governments alternated during these centuries. The existence of the Berzitia sclavini is known. With the re-Christianization of these territories, a symbiosis of the population occurs and life begins to bloom again. With that the renewal of the medieval settlement. and on the north-south trade route. The temples are also being restored. By the time of Tsar Samoil Kicevo was already a large military castle (town) and probably numbered over 5,000 inhabitants and a military crew on the fortress. Civil life took place down in the bazaar. In 1015-1018 Kicevo (Kitsavin) again fell under Byzantine rule. Kicava functioned for centuries as a Byzantine castron (from the 10th to the 13th century), which controlled the roads on the outskirts of the empire, in the direction of frequent Serbian incursions from the north. In the centuries that followed, the city fell under Serbian, Bulgarian, and Epirus rule. The Byzantines took it again after the Battle of Pelagonia to be conquered by the Serbs (King Milutin) between 1282 and 1297. In the Middle Ages, the mentioned territories fall under the medieval Serbian state, which is confirmed by the gift of King Milutin who in 1294 showered with gifts the monastery of St. George in the village of Knezino. Kicevo in these years is probably burned (at least the fortress).


Ottoman rule
Kichevo and Kichevo region came under Turkish rule in 1385. After the conquest, the city was turned into a military and administrative center. In the early Turkish period, a guard was stationed in the Kichava fortress. In the second half of the XV century, more precisely in 1476, the manager of the Kichevo nahija was Ali-bey, and Kichevo was the economic and administrative center of the nahia itself. Kicevo in this period had 217 houses. The city, as the economic and administrative center of the nahiya, receiving a Turkish element, changed its physiognomy day by day and got more and more oriental appearance.

With the growing influx of foreign capital in the late nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire showed interest in exploiting the region's mineral resources, especially copper and manganese, and construction and communal development began in the city. A city clock was erected at the foot of the Kichevo Fortress, and a beautiful fountain was built in the center of the city and drinking water was brought.

With the spread of Christianity in these areas, the first churches were built in late antique and medieval Kicevo. It is known that there are 3 churches that were demolished over time, and were built probably in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages and all three are located in the area that everyone knows as a bazaar:
St. Five, does not exist today. It was located on the site of today's city mosque, it was destroyed with the arrival of the Ottoman Turks. The older people from Kichevo have said that during a small earthquake, plaster fell from the walls of the mosque and frescoes appeared. It is probable that the mosque was built on the foundations of the destroyed church (the surroundings of the church) or further, at least one wall of the old church was part of the new building of the mosque. The mosque itself was probed by archaeologist Gordana Spasovska and no material evidence was found for the existence of a church within the mosque building. This means that debris could be found somewhere in the area. And it is not impossible the material from which the old church of St. Petka to be used for the construction of the mosque.
St. Apostles Peter and Paul, still exists today, built (and built) on the foundations of an older church (medieval / late antique). Around the church used to be the city cemetery, which does not exist today. With the construction of the new ancillary buildings of today's church, graves were discovered. The white marble slab on the threshold of the church is probably a tombstone that was unknowingly placed here during the construction of today's temple. Only twenty meters from the church is the Roman cemetery, right at the foot of the fortress. Travelers who walked along the old road probably also came back to the church because the church is next to it. Today the church "St. Apostles Peter and Paul "is the only Christian church in Kicevo.
St. Dimitrija does not exist today. It was a small, perhaps first-built church, at least that is what it looked like in the Middle Ages.
Englishman Edmund Spencer was a captain and traveled extensively, primarily for intelligence purposes. In 1850 he also visited Macedonia. He passed by Kicevo. It is interesting that in his travelogue Spencer states that Kicevo is the place where the city "Skirtijana" used to be. It is known that in the Kichevo Valley was the ancient city Uskana (Hiskana), whose location has not yet been determined. The source for this information is not listed, but it is quite interesting. Here is what else Edmund Spencer writes about Kicevo in his travelogue:

Leaving the beautiful valley of Dreska, we crossed the mountain on the way to Kritchovo, the ancient Skirtijana, which today is a small village with no more than a hundred houses. We felt melancholy looking at the beautiful and spacious basin in which the village was located, where the soil was obviously very fertile, but little cultivated. Several abandoned villages were scattered around, indicating that the area must have once been the site of a deadly clash recently. Kritchevo is located at the foot of a mountain range, not very high, here and there covered with forest, representing a refreshing landscape in these areas of Macedonia, where the cold bare stone is often the main feature of the landscape; although these mountains are intertwined with numerous fertile areas, small valleys or gorges, where the waters of Zajas, Karasu, Kandrisu flow and several smaller rivers flow into the river Vardar, the land still seems to be well adapted for agriculture; yet the only inhabitants we met on our way were a few nomads with their flocks. ”


Spencer visited Kicevo in one of the most difficult periods the city has gone through. Namely, in the years just before he passed here, Kicevo was the arena of one of the many bloody clashes in the Ottoman Empire, which occurred as a result of the weakening of the central government in Istanbul, and the strengthening of the local pastures, beys, which began to revolt. At that time the master of Kicevo was Abdi-bey, probably loyal to the sultan. Abdi-bey was killed by Hamza-pasha from Skopje, who then settled in the fortress of Kitino Kale, after which a terrible terror began against the local population. It is said that as many as 400 servants served him in the fortress. When Ayredin Pasha managed to defeat Hamza Pasha and retake Kicevo, the fortress was set on fire and destroyed. Then life began to return to normal. All this happened during the overthrow of Ali Pasha-Janinski, in the first half of the 19th century, a time of feudal anarchy in the Ottoman Empire. The abolition of the Janissary Order in 1826 by Sultan Mahmud II was used as a reason, after which a large number of Turkish feudal lords revolted and began mass terror in the areas where they ruled. Due to that, the population increasingly left the villages and moved to the cities. Edmund Spencer undoubtedly witnessed the period after the feudal anarchy in Kicevo.

The first sprouts of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization began with the revolutionary work of Deacon Joseph at the monastery of the Holy Mother of God - Prechista, and the teachers of several Kichevo villages. After the tours and the first contacts with the migrant workers in the Kichevo villages Pere Toshev together with Josif in 1878 they formed the first armed detachment led by Duko Tasev, and in whose ranks was Jordan Piperkata. They will lead the Brsjak Uprising in 1880. Also, on August 2, 1903, an uprising began, led by Arso Vojvoda and Jordan Piperkata, and the liberated territories were held until August 9, when the uprising was bloodily suppressed.

The Old Kichevo Bazaar
In the centuries under Turkish rule, the bazaar gets what it looks like today (probably not much different from before). All the churches have been destroyed. There is a mass Islamization of the population which is becoming significantly Muslim. But in the first centuries of Ottoman rule there was a new boom in trade in the bazaar when many craft shops began to be built. The bazaar gets more beautiful fountains, the city mosque is built, the clock tower (1741) which looks towards it. Several tekkes (dervish, bekteshko ...) are being built, which still exist today. The houses being built at that time had a shop downstairs and a living space upstairs. The first centuries of Turkish rule are characterized as a period of peace. In fact, the empire itself is gaining momentum on every level. The bazaar got its look today, just over a century ago. In it, as well as in Kicevo (in 1903 it had just over 4,000 inhabitants) the Christian element was strengthened. The population is moving to the security of the city where it is less endangered by the robber gangs. New and beautiful chorbadzi houses, inns, bakeries are being built. Some of the activities of VMRO before the Ilinden Uprising are taking place here. In 1907, probably with the strengthening of the Christians, the church of St. Peter and Paul on the foundations of the older church. The old ancient road, which is now the central city street, is paved. The cobblestones still exist today. But in 1938 the bazaar lost one of its biggest landmarks, the clock tower, which burned in a fire, probably in 1926. The Serbian governor of Kicevo did not want to rebuild it and ordered it demolished because it reminded him of Turkish rule.

After the liberation in 1945, the political activity in the bazaar is alive, which after the destruction of the real people's government headed by Metodija Andonov-Cento and the appointment of communist officials, openly turns into nationalism and aims at an independent and sovereign Macedonia or secession from SFRY. Leaflets appear on the cobblestones of the bazaar. Young people are arrested and beaten, the regime chases witches. The new communist powers appropriate property for themselves through nationalization. Nationalization mortally wounds the old Kichevo bazaar. Old crafts are dying out, shops are being nationalized, petty trade is dying out. The monuments that once adorned the bazaar are being destroyed (the Old Town Fountain).


In the first half of the 19th century, the old ground and multi-storey buildings were demolished and shops were built in their place - massive buildings built of brick, plastered and decorated with stucco, thus forming their stylistic features. A feature of these buildings is the construction of a ground floor and a first floor. Today, in the Bazaar, exactly these buildings with ground floor and first floor are the most numerous - 68, there are far fewer ground floor buildings - 20, and there are also buildings with ground floor, first floor, mezzanine and first floor. The appearance of additional construction of a large number of attics is noticeable, which increases the number of storeys (and height) of the buildings. This phenomenon is especially pronounced in the series of buildings constructed in continuation of the museum building. At the several new buildings, which are part of the rows, there are buildings with ground floor and two floors, ground floor and three floors, and in the contact zone of the Bazaar, buildings with ground floor and four floors are registered.

Today, the most numerous in the area of ​​the bazaar are the buildings built between the two world wars, which at the same time mark the period of construction of the "new" bazaar. The oldest of them were built between 1931-1935. By the beginning of World War II, the Bazaar was a fully formed and compact urban and economic zone, as it had been preserved until a decade ago. It is important to conclude that the surviving parties of this former whole date almost entirely from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Various decorative architectural elements, taken from the European neo-styles, appear on the facades of the buildings, which leads to an uneven stylistic physiognomy of the street canvases. The trade and craft buildings in the bazaar, for the most part, possess characteristic features of the European civic historical architecture from the 19th century, but in mediated variants and provincial variations, characteristic of the Balkans in the first half of the 20th century. The decorative solutions on the floor are significantly more diverse and more sophisticated. Here you can find stucco decorations on the window openings, on the balcony doors, on the accentuated belts in stucco-profile between the ground floor and the first floor, on the intricately solved various sims and on the parties above the sims, ie. decorative parapet walls and tympanums at the level of the roof structure. All this stucco decoration is performed in a stylized and eclectic manner of mediated neoclassicism. On the floor, in some buildings there is a slight protrusion / ejection above the ground floor, which achieves a kind of dynamism of the architectural volumes and tables. Balconies in different dimensions, but with a small protrusion, are often performed on the floor, in a basically symmetrical arrangement, which have a decorative effect and play the upper parts of the facade. The balconies have iron fences in various styles or are made of masonry or profiled columns. Balconies in different dimensions, but with a small protrusion, are often performed on the floor, in a basically symmetrical arrangement, which have a decorative effect and play the upper parts of the facade. A special architectural-decorative feature of the façade design of the buildings in the urban whole of the Kichevo Bazaar are the various bold solutions above the floor, at the height of the roof structure. This highest part of the front facade of the buildings is especially emphasized and profiled, so it is the most important feature of this architecture. Although such solutions are found in other places in Macedonia, the number and variety of these facade solutions in the Kichevo Bazaar form a recognizable local ambient feature.

Contemporary history
Kicevo and the Kicevo region ceased to be under Turkish rule in 1912 after the end of the First Balkan War. During this period, the Ohrid-Debar uprising took place in which the suffering of the population was even greater, especially in the Second Balkan War when the population was divided into two sides so it was not known which side and for whose interests they were dying. In 1919, with the Versailles Conference, this region belonged to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which pursued a policy of assimilation of the population. During the Kingdom of SHS, beautiful buildings were built in the bazaar (the building of today's museum, Hotel Thessaloniki, cafe "Velika Zupa" ...). Trade is reviving. The narrow line that will connect Kicevo with Ohrid is also being built. The building of the former train station still exists and is located 100 meters from the bazaar, and the remains of the rails were known until recently. Sports life is also on the rise. This period can be characterized as a kind of rise, but basically blackened due to the Greater Serbia propaganda over the population. In this period from the beginning of the century until 1940, the bazaar has over 200 shops and craft workshops, hotels, bakeries ...


In incredibly difficult conditions, this region experienced the fascist occupation in 1941. Kichevo region falls under Italian occupation. But Kicevo will not betray the old revolutionary customs. Many partisans have emerged from the city and its surroundings. In October 1941, Kuzman Josifovski-Pitu formed the local committee of the Communist Party, in which he later became a member and one of the most prominent citizens of Kichevo of all time, Dr. Vladimir Polezina (Polezinoski). In the beginning, Kuzman Josifovski did not agree for Polezina to join as a member of the CPM, because he believed that the party belonged to the working class, and intellectuals like him, a doctor of law, could not be members. All Kicevo first fighters fought for Polezina to be a member. After the joint meeting, Kuzman Josifovski realized that Polezina as a convinced democrat and anti-fascist should be a member of the CPM. On December 15, 1941, the first party organization was formed in the village of Karbunica.

September 11 - day of the liberation of Kicevo.

On September 11, 1943, immediately after the capitulation of Italy, partisan units liberated the city of Kicevo after fierce fighting. With that, Kicevo became the first free city and free territory together with Debrca in Macedonia. This is the first liberation of Kicevo which in the coming months will be occupied and liberated several more times. A people's government was formed in the city in which representatives of all nationalities living in the city took part. For the first time, common freedom was felt in action. A large public rally was held on September 26. The ballistic leaders were forgiven for collaborating with the Italian and German fascists and were even entrusted with guarding the border with then-fascist Bulgaria in the vicinity of Bigor Dolenci. The loyalty of these units was very short. In less than a month from the direction of Gostivar begins a massive German attack on the free territory defended on Mount Bukovic by a small but highly motivated detachment led by Mirko Mileski which on that occasion was wiped out. Surrendered and betrayed by the ballists and with the support of the Bulgarian air force, the partisans were forced to retreat to Kopacka and on October 2, 1943 Kicevo was reoccupied. In short, from November 1 to 6, 1943, Kicevo was liberated again, and finally liberated on November 15, 1944.

With the historic referendum on September 8, 1991, Macedonia became an independent state, with the construction of a multi-party system and a market economy, and Kicevo entered the system of transition.


Air conditioning
The Kichevo region is under the influence of the warm continental and mountainous climate. The zone of influence of the warm continental climate in the Republic of Macedonia is in the altitude range from 600 to 900 m above sea level. which means that in this climatic area in the Kichevo region is the city of Kichevo and most of the settlements, and the mountainous areas are influenced by the mountainous climate. The annual average temperature in the narrower city area is 10.7 ° С where the absolute monthly maximum temperature is 40.5 ° С while the absolute monthly minimum is -23 ° С. The average annual maximum temperature is 17.1 ° С, and the average annual minimum temperature is 5 ° С.

The stated climatic and other natural conditions in the analyzed region have a limiting effect on the development of certain fruit species and enable certain development of other fruit species. Relatively moderate and stable humidity (74%) and warm continental climate allow the cultivation of apple fruit species (apples and pears), as well as favorable conditions for the cultivation of some bony fruit species (cherry, cherry, plum). growing conditions for both walnut and chestnut. The limitation of irrigated areas and the low amount of rainfall in recent years have a negative effect on the development of apple fruit species. Apples and pears require high humidity and a lot of water, so the conditions for their cultivation are most favorable along rivers, watercourses and areas under irrigation. Cherries and sour cherries are fruit species that are not very picky in terms of climatic conditions and thrive at higher altitudes, which is very important for the region given its altitude. Despite the relatively good conditions for growing more fruit species, fruit growing in the region at this time is not a significant agricultural branch. This is primarily due to the poor organization of production and marketing, in relation to the "specialized" regions for certain fruit species (and in which there are relatively better conditions for growing those fruit species). There are only 75 ha under orchards) shows the stagnation of this agricultural branch in the region.The comparison with the situation from ten years ago when there were about 400 ha under apples and about 200 ha under cherries region.

Only 3 km from the city center on the slopes of Bistra is the famous picnic place Krushino. In the center of the city are the remains of the medieval town of Kitino Kale. Also, right after Krushino, only 6 km away is the village of Knezino and the monastery of St. Georgia.

About 9 km south of Kicevo, on the regional road to Bitola, is the monastery "St. Bogorodica Prechista - Kicevska ”, the largest spiritual center in the Kichevo region, as well as one of the most famous Christian and religious temples in Macedonia. Mount Cocan is located at an altitude of 920 meters. According to the legends, on the place of the former ancient temple, near the holy fountain, which is still visited by those who believe in the healing power of its waters, in 1316 a monastery dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God was built.