Kočani (Кочани, Kochani)

 

Kocani - a city in the eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia with 28,330 inhabitants, seat of the municipality of the same name. The city lies in Kochani Field and is famous for Kocani rice and geothermal water.

 

Legend of the origin of the name
A long time ago, a man named Kocho was making money in China. Having worked hard, after many years he decided to return to his homeland. Since rice was a staple food in China, he decided to take rice with him on his departure, hoping that this crop would succeed in his homeland. He took with him a small amount of this white gold in order to easily and smoothly transfer it from kingdom to kingdom. When he entered the kingdom in which he was born, he encountered problems: rice was forbidden to be imported in any form. However, Kocho did not want to give up his intention to import the rice. He thought and in the end he remembered. He learned that geese were not banned from being imported as a commodity. He bought geese, gave them rice to eat, and then slaughtered them. After entering, he cleaned them and took the rice out of them. So Kocho transferred the rice from China, started to produce it, which gave a new mark and culture to this area, and according to his name, the place where he started to grow rice - got the name Kochani.

The Macedonian revolutionary Gjorce Petrov in his book "Materials for the study of Macedonia" published in 1896, wrote another legend and legend about the origin and origin of the name of the city of Kocani. Namely, the city of Kocani was once above the river on the place of the village Gratche, and the place of the present Kocani was a swamp and whole herds of pigs grazed on it. Here were the "kochini" (places where pigs are kept) of the citizens, from which the newly founded city was called Kocani. In a battle, the inhabitants of the city were slaughtered and so much blood was shed that a furrow was formed in which a bull drowned. After the battle, the city moved to Kocini and was called Kocani.

 

History

Antiquity
As for other settlements in Macedonia and Kocani can not be said with certainty when it was founded. According to the legends, spread among the population, Kocani originated from the settlement that was located north of the current location, in the valley of Kochanska Reka. Traces of that settlement (remains of a high wall, Roman and Byzantine pottery, pithos, etc.) were found at the site Dolno Gradishte in the area of ​​the village Dolno Gratche. In a certain period, the inhabitants of the settlement withdrew to the plain and settled the area of ​​today's Kocani. Several Iron Age sites have been discovered in and around the city, including some excavations at the Tekeshinski Lozja, Barutnica and Alenjak sites. Also, excavations were made at the site of Lukobia, where a necropolis from the Roman period, ie II-III century, was discovered, in which ceramic objects and other movable material were found, as well as remains of a rampart, which indicates the existence of a fortress or a protective rampart. in a city or settlement.

Archaeological material, discovered on the left bank of the Kochanska River in the area of ​​today's city, indicates that this area was inhabited since ancient times. This leads to the conclusion that this settlement grew from the former Tranupara station, which according to the Poitinger board (Tabula Peutingeriana - map of the military roads of the Western Roman Empire from the IV century) was located about 30 miles from the city of Astibo.

Middle century
For the first time in a written document Kochani (Kochani) is mentioned in 1377 in a letter, in which the despot Jovan Oliver gives him the church "St. Dimitrija ”of the city. If we use the data offered by the letter of John Oliver, it can be concluded that Kocani, as a settlement under that name, existed much earlier than 1337. because he did not build the church. It existed and had a larger immovable property which included the village of Jastrebnica (today Jastrebnik). After John Oliver, the feudal lord Konstantin Dejanov ruled here, and then the city fell under the slavery of the Ottoman Turks.

 

According to the writings of the Turkish travel writer Evliya Çelebi, during the 1519 census, Kocani was a village with one Muslim and 54 Christian families and 12 unmarried Christians (Tapu defteri 169, 170). The situation has not changed significantly in the following decades. The census of 1573 noted that the Christian population still prevailed (50 families and 50 unmarried), as even in that year only one family was Muslim (Tapu defteri 85, 446-447). As a settlement, Kocani paid a market tax which in the same year amounted to 2,201 akçe (Turkish payment unit of that time) (Tapu defteri 437). It is interesting that one of the two neighborhoods in Kocani at that time was named Samokov, probably after the samokov who worked here and brought the feudal lord an annual rent of 60 acres. According to Celebija, in 1660, Kocani had 600 houses, covered with reeds and tiles and a small bazaar, consisting of 15 shops. There was a mosque, a mosque, a small administrative building (silent) ... There were more Christians in the town, and there were only ten Muslim houses. The houses of the famous brothers Qazim-bey and Mehmed-bey were real palaces that served as lodgings for travelers. In that period in Kocani lived about 3,000 inhabitants, the same as Kumanovo, for example. Both existing, medieval towers in the city originate from this period, one of which has been restored and contains a small museum collection. According to a legend from 1870, Kocani and its surroundings are plagued by plague. After this epidemic, the population of the city halved, leaving only 300 houses in the city. At that time, a large number of Muslim families from Asia Minor were colonized by the Turkish authorities. The newcomers from the Orient mainly settled in the middle part of the city, where a mosque had previously been built, while the Macedonian-Christian population lived in the southern part of the settlement. At the beginning of the 19th century, the city made some progress in terms of education and culture. Therefore, very early, as early as 1816 in Kocani, a school was mentioned in which the hieromonk Antonie taught.

At the end of the XIX century, more precisely in 1878, Madziri from Russia and Bulgaria and Vlachs from Krushevo moved to the city. These settlers formed their own neighborhoods, Madzi Maalo which stretched northeast of the locality called "Lukobija", as well as Vlashko Maalo, which at that time had 35 houses.

XX century
The inhabitants of the then municipality of Kocani, which was part of the Kingdom of SHS (Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia), also actively participated in the field of politics. Thus, in the elections for the then Constitutional Assembly that took place on November 28, 1920. It was registered that in Kocani there were a total of 930 voters, and in the entire Kocani district their number was 5,678. In the elections of 1927. the number of voters increased to 1,173, and in 1935. at 1,387.

Regarding handicrafts, it is noted that in 1918. in Kocani there were a total of 140 craftsmen, in 1934. their number was 215, and by the beginning of World War II there were 369 craft shops.

Statistics from 1965 They talk about increasing the number of inhabitants to about 13,000, and today Kocani is a municipal and regional center with about 30,000 inhabitants.

Location
The city of Kocani is located 120 km away from the capital Skopje, more precisely it occupies the northern side of Kochanska Kotlina and occupies the space on both sides of Kochanska Reka. The city has a southern location in relation to the 2252 meters high Osogovo Mountains, and 8 km south of Kocani the fertile Kochani field ends and begins the mountain Plachkovica. Kocani lies at 350 to 450 meters above sea level. Near Kocani is the famous winter tourist center Ponikva which leads to an asphalt road in excellent condition, about 20 km long.

Traffic connection
The M-5 highway passes through the city, starting from Ohrid, and through Bitola, Prilep and Veles (70 km) it connects with Stip (30 km), and through it it exits on the highway E-75 (Skopje-Gevgelija), ie with this road Kocani is connected with Central and Western Macedonia. To the east, this road continues to Makedonska Kamenica (30 km), Delchevo (55 km) and the border crossing with the Republic of Bulgaria (65 km), ie Blagoevgrad. To the southeast, towards Vinica (10 km) leads a quality road whose route continues to Berovo (60 km) To the north, towards Osogovo, from Kocani lead three roads; one along the valley of Kochanska Reka, to the artificial lake Gratche (6 km), and then by mountain road through Jastrebnik to the locality Lopen; the second through the village of Beli leads to Ponikva and further by land to the same locality, from where the two roads continue to Kriva Palanka; the third direction leads through Pripor and Recani to the foot of Carev Vrv. To the northwest Kocani is connected with Probistip (36 km) and Kratovo (48 km).

 

Also in 1926. A railway has been built to Kocani, connecting it with Stip, Veles and Skopje.

Near the Ponikva peak on Osogovo, as an extension of the asphalt road itself, in the mid-1970s, a runway was built in the length of about 1,200 meters, whose original purpose was planned for military purposes.

Location and climate
Kochani is located on the north side of Kochanska Kotlina, at the place where Kochanska Reka leaves Osogovo and expands its valley. It is located on both banks of the river, surrounded on the east by Doklevski hill (450 m.) And on the west by Lokobija and Alenjak (524 m.). It is open to the south and has no border, because on that side is Kochansko Pole, while to the north is a long and narrow gorge that gradually closes.

Kocani lies at a latitude of 41 degrees and 55 minutes (which means it is further south than Skopje), and at a longitude of 22 degrees and 25 minutes east of Greenwich.

The climate in Kocani largely depends on the position of the city, as well as the configuration of the terrain. It is characterized by relatively high temperatures and little rainfall. The average annual temperature is around 13.5o C, which means that it is the same as in Strumica, and higher than in Skopje or Prilep. The annual temperature difference in Kocani is quite large and it is 22.4o C. Extremely high and low temperatures occur. Thus, on August 22, 1952. a temperature of 56.5 degrees Celsius was recorded, and on January 26, 1963. the mercury in the thermometer dropped to -35.6o C.

Culture
Kocani hosts the Amateur Drama Festival (DAF), a cultural event of national character that is held once a year, in the last week of May, and which features the best amateur drama ensembles from Macedonia. Also important is the cultural event Days of Rice, dedicated to Kocani "white gold", filled with a series of festivities and celebrations at the beginning of the rice harvest in the Kocani region, as well as the event "Petrovdenski Konaci", related to the celebration of the city holiday. - St. Peter's Day.

The Literary Club "Longing", which operates within the library "Iskra", is the host of two cultural events: the Children's Poetry Festival "May Flower" (of national character) and Book Month.


Religious buildings
There are several religious buildings in Kocani:
Church "St. вмч. George "- built in 1917;
Church "Shroud of the Most Holy Mother of God" - the cornerstone was laid on December 9, 1994, and was consecrated on October 24, 1998. Used as a baptistery;
Church "Holy Annunciation" - the cornerstone was laid on October 11, 2009. It is located in the settlement of Valog;
Church "Holy Transfiguration" - a cornerstone laid in 2006. It is located in the settlement Usova Ueshma;
Church "Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God" - is located in the area of ​​the factory "Leder";
Church "St. George ”- a monastery church in Kocanski Dol;
Church "St. Petka ”- a monastery church in Kocanski Dol;
Church "St. Petka ”- church-chapel in front of the Amfenol factory;
Evangelical Methodist Church;

Dudi Hanum Mosque
Dudi Hanum Mosque is a Muslim temple located in Kocani, Macedonia. The mosque is part of the Stip Muftiate. The mosque is dedicated to Dudi Hanum, who provided funds for the construction of the mosque. During 2014, the minaret of the mosque was completely demolished. Such a decision was made by the mosque board after it was concluded that it was damaged and there is a possibility of demolition. After this, a donation for the construction of a new minaret began.