Strumica (Струмица)


Strumica - a city in Macedonia. It is the cultural, commercial and political center of the Southeast region. According to the 2002 census, the city has 35,311 inhabitants and is therefore the largest in the planning region and the tenth largest city in Macedonia. The city is located in the Strumica Field and is surrounded by the mountain Elenica in the west, together with the Tsar's Towers. The city is the seat of the municipality of the same name.



Ancient period
Confirmation that the Strumica region was densely populated since ancient times is the existence of the Neolithic settlement "Stranata" near the village Angelci. This archeological site offers new knowledge about the late Neolithic because the settlement dates from around 4500 to 3800 BC. Until recently, it was known that it exists only in the Bregalnica and Ovchepolje regions. The latest findings near Strumica confirm the thesis of the existence of a Neolithic road from the Aegean coast to the central part of the Balkans.

Discovered fragments of pottery, ordinary Neolithic plastic, house furniture, cult objects, etc. indicate the fact that there was pottery here at an enviable level, and the excavated tools (hoes, axes, chisels) and female figures as a symbol of fertility, lived agricultural-livestock population.

Under the name Astraion, the city is first found in written sources by the Roman historian Titus Livius, in 181 BC, in connection with the assassination of Demetrius, brother of the Macedonian king Perseus (179-168 BC), or son of Philip V (221-179). The city was named Astraion after the Paeonian tribe, Astraeus. In 168 BC. Macedonia fell under Roman protectorate and was divided into four meridians, and Astraion belonged to the second meridian. In 148 BC. Macedonia became a Roman province. During the Roman period, the city changed its name to Tiberiopolis, as evidenced by the marble pedestal, dedicated to the patron Tiberius Claudius Menon, from the end of the 2nd century and the beginning of the 3rd century. In the time of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) in Tiberiopolis were killed Sts. 15 Hieromartyrs of Tiberias.

In 395 the Roman Empire disintegrated, and Macedonia belonged to the Eastern Roman Empire. Tiberiopolis was then part of the province of Macedonia Salutaris (late 4th century) and the province of Macedonia Secunda (late 5th century). The existence of the city settlement from that period is evidenced by the late antique urban palace - Machuk. The city of Strumica together with its closest environment, favorable geographical-climatic characteristics and the rich Strumica Field, has always been an important crossroads on the roads of various cultures and civilizations that have left their mark on this soil. Following the material remains, created in various historical epochs, starting from prehistory, through antiquity, Byzantine-Slavic, Turkish period, etc. Strumica is one of the few cities with an accumulated wealth of monuments.

Byzantine-Slavic period
In the first half of the 6th century, the people of Strumica settled in the valleys of the rivers Struma and Strumica. The Life of the Tiberiopolis Martyrs states that "a barbarian people entered the Tiberiopolis lands, ravaged many cities, including Tiberiopolis itself, and beat some of its inhabitants with a sword, captured others, and razed beautiful buildings and temples." with the country. "

With the migration of the Slavs, which took place in the period from the eighties of the 6th century to the thirties of the 7th century, the city experienced great destruction. The Slavic tribe Strumyani settled in this area, which got its name from the river Strimon, which they renamed Struma. The Sklavian's sclavinia existed as an independent Slavic principality for a period of time, until it was ruled by Byzantium. In the period from 845 to 855 as a Byzantine military governor in the Bregalnica-Strumica region was Methodius (825-885).

The Strumica area was then conquered by the Bulgarian ruler Boris I (852-889). In 893, Clement, according to Dickange's list (12th century), was appointed "bishop of Tiberiopolis or Great". The Strumica region remained in the Bulgarian state until 969, when the first uprising of the Comitopols broke out (Samuel, Aaron, Moses and David) and would enter in Samuel's state (976-1018).

On July 29, 1014, the Battle of Belasica took place in this area, in which the Macedonian army led by Tsar Samuel (976-1014) was defeated by the Byzantines led by Basil II (976-1025). After the battle, 15,000 Macedonian soldiers were blinded, in revenge for Basil II for the death of his commander Theophylact Votaniat, who was killed by Tsar Samuel's son Gavril Radomir (1014-1015). In 1018 Macedonia was conquered by Byzantium. After 1018, the Strumica region again fell under Byzantine rule, under which it would remain until before the end of the 12th century. Byzantium consolidated its power through the church, which was turned into a tool of the Byzantine state. The Strumica diocese within the Ohrid Archbishopric was placed in the service of the Constantinople Patriarchate. From that time, it is characteristic that many properties from the Strumica region, including the monastery in Veljusa, were donated to the Mount Athos monastery "Iverion".


From the 11th century, for the first time in the written sources (Asemanovo Gospel), the city begins to be named after Strumica. Towards the end of the 12th century, the central government of Byzantium weakened, resulting in the independence of several independent feudal lords. In the Strumica region, Dobromir Hrs (1185-1202) and then Sevastochar Strez (1208-1214) became independent, but their rule was liquidated by the Byzantines. At the end of the 13th century, the Serbian attacks on Macedonia began. Hrelja ruled Strumica and the region for a certain period, until in 1334 the Serbian king Stefan Duшаan (1331 - 1355) conquered Strumica. After the disintegration of Dusan's Empire, the Strumica region was first ruled by Jovan Uglesha, Volkashin's brother, and after his death in 1371 in the Battle of Maritsa, this region will be ruled by the Dejanoviќи brothers. Their rule was short-lived, because the Turks in their penetration in the Balkans conquered Strumica in 1382 - 1383, thus ending the Middle Ages in these areas.

The Ottoman period
In the period from 1382/83 until 1395, Strumica and the Strumica region completely fell under the rule of the Turks. Strumica in the Ottoman period in the Turkish administration was called Ustrumce. It was connected to the Kyustendil Sandzak where a spahi-timar system was established. The city was inhabited by a nomadic cattle-breeding Turkmen population, so the city changed its appearance and began to get an oriental look. According to the census of 1519, Strumica had 2780 inhabitants, of which 1450 were Christians and 1330 were Muslims. During that period there was an intensified Islamization due to the increased number of 2200 Muslims at the census of 1570, as opposed to 1230 Christians.

In the 17th century, Strumica became the seat of Cadillac. The Turkish travel writers Hadzi Kalfa (1665) and Evliya Çelebi (1670) also passed through Strumica at that time, giving a clear description of the city with all the Muslim buildings that existed in Strumica at that time. At the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the Strumica kaza was part of the Thessaloniki Sandzak. In the 19th century the patriarchal movement strengthened and the Greek-speaking population gained momentum. This led to a strong anti-patriarchal movement in the 1960s. In 1860 the first school in Macedonian language was opened in Robovo, and the first teacher was Arseni Kostencev from Stip.

During that period, the great Strumica painters Vasil Gjorgjiev and Grigori Pecanov also created, who worked on the frescoes and iconostasis of several churches, which then opened in the Strumica region.

With the Berlin Congress of 1878, when Turkey lost much of its rule in the Balkans (Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria), large numbers of refugees flocked to Macedonia, and some to Strumica. That population is called Muhajirs.

The increasingly difficult situation of the Macedonian population under Turkish rule, contributed to the formation of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) on October 23, 1893 in Thessaloniki. The first person to accept the ideas of VMRO in the Strumica region was Stojan Gjorgjiev from Dabile, who in 1895 formed the first local committee in Strumica. The Ogra билden District Macedonian-Odrina Revolutionary Committee was formed and operated in these areas. One of the most prominent leaders of the revolutionary organization was Hristo Chernopeev, who also participated in the Young Turk Revolution (1908-1909), which did not end with the liberation of the Macedonian people who remained under Turkish rule.

Strumica in the XX century
With the First Balkan War of 1912, the Turks were defeated and expelled from Macedonia, and thus from Strumica, by the Balkan allies (Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro). Strumica was ruled by Bulgaria.

During the summer of 1913, Strumica and the surrounding area experienced another second short-lived, but vandal and fierce occupation by the Greek occupiers. On June 25, just nine days after the outbreak of the Second Balkan War, Greek troops smashed Bulgarian positions south of the city, and entered Strumica the next day. On August 8, Greek troops set fire to Strumica, and the fires subsided on the 15th of the same month. 1,900 public facilities, churches, houses, shops, bars and the only synagogue were burned. The Greeks completely or partially burned the villages of Kosturino, Raborci, Popchevo, Zubovo and Cham Chiflik, which were never rebuilt. On their departure on August 17, the Greeks also set fire to the monastery in Veljusa, whose lodgings, and in part the church, also burned down.


During the Second Balkan War and the First World War, due to the strong Greek pressure from Aegean Macedonia to the north, large masses of Macedonian population fled, and a good part of them settled in the Strumica region. They were refugees, called "refugees" mainly from Kilkis, Gorno Poroj and Thessaloniki. They settled mainly in abandoned Turkish settlements. According to one source, in 1921 there were 2,700 refugees in the city alone. With that, the ethnic composition of the population in the city changed a lot, especially after the escape of the Turks when the population decreased significantly. Today there is still a so-called Refugee neighborhood.

Strumica with the peace agreement from Bucharest (July 28, 1913), still remained under the rule of Bulgaria. Strumica remained under Bulgarian rule until 1919, when the Peace Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia since 1929). In that kingdom, the Macedonian people were without any rights and were subjected to assimilation by Serbia.

In World War II, Strumica was occupied by the German army on April 6, 1941. Germany, with the agreement they had concluded for an alliance with Bulgaria, handed over Strumica under the occupation of the Bulgarian armies on April 18, 1941. The Macedonian people, and thus the people of Strumica dissatisfied with the occupation of the fascist countries, started military actions against them. On September 11, 1944, the Bulgarian army withdrew from Strumica, and on November 5, 1944, the German army left the city. Blagoj Jankov from Strumica - Mucheto has been declared a national hero. Other more famous Strumica heroes from the period of the Second World War are Sando Masev, Boro Johnny, Geras Cunev.

After the war, Macedonia joined the Yugoslav federation as an equal federal unit. During the Inform Bureau, many innocent people from Strumica were killed, and some of them never returned home.