Tetovo (Albanian: Tetovë, Turkish: Kalkandelen, translated as "Stitobod") - a town in northwestern Macedonia, on the slopes of Shara, ie in the lower Polog Valley. Tetovo is the seat of the municipality of the same name which covers an area of 261.89 km2, and together with the newly created municipalities that emerged from it and which still gravitate towards it, that area is 945.8 km2. Tetovo is a city with a rich history, inhabited by several ethnic communities.
Origin of the term
The Turks also used the forms Kalkandeli and Kalkandele, and the French consul Henri Pouquil mentions it with the form Kalkandeluk. In addition, the city was mentioned with the forms Tetoven and Teteven. The name Tetovo, according to a folk legend, is associated with an unusual event from the time of Turkish slavery. Namely, in the immediate vicinity of the city, between two hills, lived a large snake that everyone was afraid of. No one was trying to get the terrible beast to the square. Only a certain Teto turned out to be a brave man. One day, armed with a bow and arrow and a sword and shield, mounted on his fast horse, he headed for the endangered place. When he got there, the snake appeared and blocked his way. Teto was not afraid. He stretched his bow and challenged the beast with an arrow. The snake began to react, making a sound. Enraged, she hurried to the prey. But Teto was fearless. When the reptile approached him, he swung his sharp, pointed sword and pierced it. Thus the people were freed from the scarecrow, from the dangerous beast. The fear of them came out, and the passage between the two hills was free and easily passable. Since then, according to legend, the place where the serpent was killed with a sword and a shield (kalkan) was called Kalkandeli, and the city (in Turkish) - Kalkandelen. In memory of the hero Teto, the local population named the settlement Tetovo.
The other version is that the name comes from the Old Slavic word "hъtѢti" - wants, "hъtѣto" - beloved place. Around the middle of the XV century, with the fall of the letter "x", the settlement was renamed Tetovo (Tetova). According to folk etymology, Tetovo came from the word tendon. In connection with this interpretation, the Turkish naming of the settlement - Kalkandelen appeared even then. In a chrysovul of Tsar Dushan from the middle of the 14th century, Tetovo is mentioned as a village, and as a city settlement it is mentioned during the 15th century, as the main point of Dolna and Gorna nahija. The famous Turkish travel writer Haxhi Kalfa, who visited Tetovo around the middle of the 17th century, mentions the city with the names Kalkandelen and Tetova. In Albanian, the name of the city is Tetovë, ie Tetova.
According to the latest data obtained through the archeological excavations of the Neolithic sites Tumba near the village Dolno Palchishte (1987/88.) And Pod selo tumba near the village Stenche (2000), the oldest traces of life in the Polog Valley (Tetovo and Gostvar region) date from 8000 years ago or more precisely from the year 6100 BC. From these sites originate a large number of excavated fragments, but also fully preserved pieces of pottery, as well as altars and statuettes dedicated to the female cult. In the area of Tetovo, many important representations of rock art have been found as artistic compositions related to ritual rituals.
This area throughout the Neolithic was inhabited by the bearers of the cultural group Anzabegovo-Vrsnik, which was also present in the Skopje region and Eastern Macedonia. In the early Neolithic, however, this area was strongly influenced by the Neolithic culture Velushina-Porodin from Pelagonija south of here, which can be seen through the form of the oldest preserved altar type Great Mother (Magna Mater) found in this area, discovered near Stenche . The Late Neolithic is characterized by the influence of the Vinca culture from the north.
At the end of the 4th millennium AD, the first incursions of new settlers began, steppe peoples from Central Asia - Indo-Europeans, who by destroying and assimilating the old Neolithic culture created a new Eneolithic cultural complex in the Balkans, called Salkuca-Buban-Krivodol. Traces of this new population were also found in Polog (in Palchishte, Zelino, etc.). This situation stabilized in the Middle Bronze Age when the first beginnings of the Balkan pre-ethnic and later ethnic communities appeared. In this period begins a strong penetration of material features from the south of the developed Mycenaean culture, which can be seen through a parade of luxury bronze sword found in Tetovo, imported from those Mycenaean centers. Although the next epochs will be marked by mass migrations, the Iron Age is still characterized by stabilization, which led to the development of trade. The ceramic large pitos for cereals, found near the village of Larce, also date from this period.
During this period, according to Strabo's records relating to the
mint at Damastion, and especially to the preserved onomastic traces
of later times, it can be seen that Polog was inhabited by Briges
(Briges, Brigoi). The Brigids were an integral part of the later
ethnic communities of the Paionians, the ancient Macedonians, the
Dasarets, the Edonites and the Migdonians. Even the Paionians,
although an ancient Bronze Age population, had indisputable ties to
the Brigids in this part of the Balkans. The Paeonian and Ancient
Macedonian linguistics and onomastics show a number of glosses and
names with Brigid roots, which points to the fact that the Brigids
were a substratum or base in the Paeonian and Ancient Macedonian
In 1932. A bronze statue from the Agrian period, IV century BC, was found near the place called Balezova Cesma, and is a valuable archeological find, found in the Tetovo district. The statue measures 9 cm long and 4 cm wide, and is located in the Museum of Macedonia in Skopje. The influences of the Greek craft centers on this part of the Balkans will actually lead to an additional change in the culture and way of life of the local populations. It is these changes that herald the new, archaic period and the transition from the epoch of prehistory to the epoch of history and antiquity. Archaeologically, these transformations are visible through new material (new types of pottery, jewelry and other handicrafts), and spiritual (new way of burial: cremation instead of inhumation, acceptance of cults of Greek deities) and other features, which were initially accepted as prestige from the most elite social strata, and then from the rest of the population, which is best seen from the so-called princely tombs, the most famous of which is the one from Tetovo, in which the famous statuette of Menada was found.
In the past there were various theories as to which ancient tribe inhabited this area. However, according to the latest information, the entire area of Southern Serbia, Eastern Kosovo and Northern Macedonia, including Polog, in this period, until the third century BC. was inhabited by the northernmost ancient Macedonian (Paeonian) tribe Agrianes. This is seen in the continuity in the archeological horizons, the developed ceramic import from the Greek south, the rich princely tombs and the like. This tribe had its own kings, the most famous of which is Langaros who in 335 BC. helped the Macedonian king Alexander III during his campaign against the Tribals in the north. The Agrians followed him on his campaign through Asia when they proved to be one of the most ruthless warriors in many key battles, after which they became especially famous in the ancient world.
Due to economic and trade development, certain cities also minted their own autonomous coins. Such was the case with the city of Pelagia, which throughout the 4th century BC. he minted his own silver coins at the Damastion mint. The city of Pelagia is considered to be located near today's Tetovo, and is in fact, in the urban sense, its ancient ancestor, from whose name the later Slavic name of the whole valley Polog (Pelagia-Polog, as in the case of Skupi-Skopje, Astibo-Stip, Thessaloniki-Thessaloniki, etc.).
Towards the end of the IV century BC. The weakened Agrian state came under the rule of King Avdoleon of Paeonia, and by the middle of the third century BC, all their territories were occupied by the Dardanians from the north (south to northern Macedonia and Polog), which can be seen through discontinuity in the archaeological horizons of that period. These border areas throughout the following period will be used as a logistical background, from where Dardania organized strong looting campaigns in the south to the rich kingdom of Macedonia, even after those territories fell within the Roman Empire in 168 BC.
It was not until the 29th century AD. and Polog, along with the rest of Dardania, as far north as the Danube, would descend under Roman rule, beginning an era of stabilization, peaceful life, trade, and prosperity. From the II-III century AD. There are several stone tablets on which the epitaph is written in Greek, which says that this region was part of the Greek language sphere, unlike Kosovo and the Skopje region which were part of the Latin language sphere. This means that in the Early Imperial period (I-III century AD) Polog was part of the Roman province of Macedonia, and in late Attica (III-VI century AD), after the reforms of Diocletian part of the province of Macedonia II (Macedonia Secunda). The found stelae also contain rich onomastic material and personal names that are predominantly indigenous and from which it can be seen that the Romanization of these peripheral ends, outside the main roads, did not gain much momentum.
Taught by the great barbarian invasions (Celts, Ostrogoths, Huns)
that occurred more frequently from the 3rd century and lasted
through the following centuries, Roman emperors began in the late
4th century to build fortified cities and fortresses on dominant
hills. Numerous castrum, castellum and refugium for the population
in the Tetovo area date from that period, the most important of
which are those near the present-day villages of Rogle, Orasje,
Leshok, Stenche, Jegunovce, Gradec and the Isar-Banjice area.
Although Christianity in Macedonia came with St. Paul the Apostle in the 50s of the 1st century AD, still only after the legalization of Constantine in 313 AD. it could penetrate more massively to the common people, and start building early Christian churches - basilicas. To date, traces of 16 early Christian basilicas have been registered in Polog, of which 12 in the Tetovo area and 4 in the Gostivar area, with the best studied being the Stenche basilica from the 5th century AD. which is unique in Macedonia with 3 baptisteries (baptisteries), and the one in Tudence which dates from the second sex. VI century. and is the oldest triconch (three-nave) church in the Republic of Macedonia, and is rare in all of Southern Europe.
However, after the strong Avar-Slavic penetrations in the late VI century AD. all fortresses are abandoned but not completely demolished. Most of them, two or three centuries later, when a stable state organization was re-established, will be rebuilt for the same purpose, but this time they will be inhabited by the dominant Slavic population, laying the foundations for the new medieval towns.
The Slavic colonized population dominated the most important places in the plain, giving a new, Slavic name Podlog, probably meaning under the mountain (under the mountain). Then they destroyed many fortresses and settlements. But from the 5th century Byzantium regained control of the area, fortifying the most important ruined fortresses and maintaining a permanent military garrison. In the time of King Samuel, Polog was part of his state. After the fall of Samuel's Kingdom, Polog and Leshok (Lesh'k, Leshek) were mentioned as city settlements in the Polog Valley. The Arab scientist Idrizi, who, as a geographer and travel writer, visited this area around the middle of the XII century, more precisely in 1153, in his description of the road from Ohrid, through Skopje, to the valley of the river Struma, mentions the city of Polog. He, in his travelogue, says: "From Ohrid for two days we travel on a difficult road to the city of Bologo (Polog), located between two hills, and the river Fardari (Vardar) passes by it. The journey from Bologo to Iskofla (Skopje) lasts only one day ". Later, in the 15th century, Barletti wrote about the "city of Polog" ("urbus Pologus"), who also identified Polog with Tetovo. However, there are conflicting opinions in science about the location of the medieval city of Polog. Some authors point out that this Polog city was located near Tetovo, others near Gradiste (today's village Gradec), and still others near the village Miletino.
Archaeological findings show that the city of Polog, which is
mentioned in the XII century, was located near Gradiste (Gradec). If
we take into account that the medieval cities of Hjtovo (Tetovo) and
Bahjica (Gostivar) were then rural settlements, the second variant
is quite convincing - that the city of Polog was located near
Gradiste (Gradec). In Greek, Polog was mentioned in the form
"Pologos". Some scholars are of the opinion that in the XI and XII
centuries there was no city Polog, but only an area. Otherwise,
Polog, (from bo-log), according to some authors was mentioned with
the meaning of god's mountain, (paradise of god), which
interpretation, above all, from the beautiful location of the city
and the valley, (Polog). According to other authors, polog means
mountain slope (foot, sub-hill or hill). With the word polog, the
ancient Slavs meant a valley (low place, plain), surrounded on all
sides by heights (hills or mountains). When H't'tovo (Tetovo) was a
village in Dolni Polog (until the end of the 12th century), the
medieval town of L'sh'k existed, which at that time was the main
spiritual, cultural and economic center in the Polog Valley. This
medieval city, however, was ravaged and destroyed in 1189, after the
Serbian army entered the area, led by Prince Stefan Nemanja, as a
border town of Byzantium. Then the city of Polog was destroyed, as
well as some other settlements in northern Macedonia. According to a
legend, in the wider area of today's village Leshok, in the late
medieval time, the city of Legen-grad existed (Legendgrad). This
medieval city is also mentioned by Kiril Pejчиinovi во in his
description of the monastery “St. Anastasij ”(in Leshok). However,
when this Polog region came under Turkish rule at the end of the
14th century (1352), with the colonization of the Muslim population
in the Polog valley in the 15th and 16th centuries, Legendgrad
ceased to exist. The colonized then devastated and destroyed 7-8
Christian churches in the city, as well as the old monastery and the
fortress around it. Tetovo, as a settlement, is first mentioned in a
written document in the XII century, under the name H't'tovo, but
that does not mean that the settlement was not established earlier.
The oldest settlement in H't'tovo (Tetovo) was the place around the
church "St. Bogorodica ”, at the exit of the river Pena from Shar
The famous geographer and travel writer Hadzi Kalfa, during his travels through these parts, in his notes names the city as Tetovo and as Kalkandela and describes it as an oriental city that resembles the settlements of the Middle East. At the end of the same century, Tetovo was destroyed in a fire, so that throughout the 18th century, it is not mentioned in the registers as a city settlement. However, the state reforms carried out in the Ottoman Empire itself since the early 19th century had a strong impact on its restructuring into an important economic center. Ami Bue, also a Turkish travel writer and geographer, describes Tetovo as a clean city, you are very green. According to him, the city had 4000-5000 inhabitants, half of whom were Christians (Macedonians), while the rest were Turks and Albanians. Ami Bue, like Hadji Kalfa, compares Tetovo to the cities of the Orient, where monuments erected mostly during the Turkish rule could be found. At the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, Tetovo developed into a famous trade and craft place. In the period from the Balkan wars, despite the emigration of the Turkish population, there was an increase in the city from different ethnic structures, most of which are Albanians.
Revival and Ilinden period
There are no special written documents about the participation of the Tetovo region in the liberation struggle, at the time when the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization was developing its extensive activity in Macedonia. It is known that the population in Polog, according to the conditions, took an active part in the preparations for the Ilinden Uprising, as well as in the actions after its suppression. A Local Committee of VMRO was formed in Tetovo, which worked not only on the ideological education, but also on the physical preparation of the people for armed action. These preparations included all capable men from the town and the countryside. Some of those who were trained to handle weapons were later transferred to detachments formed in the area of Kichevo. All this was done in secret, because the Turkish government in this area was very well organized and had the support of the Muslim population. The local organization of VMRO played a special role in supplying the insurgents with weapons, especially rifles, which were made by the famous Tetovo masters - riflemen (riflemen).
During this period, Manlicher rifles and the famous Tetovo
martinis were made in Tetovo. There was a special workshop on the
Pena River for this, and the making of the rifles was organized by
trusted people. Among others, Risto Kostov - Sican and Sane Ristov -
Gule were in charge of carrying out this action, who organized
secret channels for transmission and handing over of rifles in
certain places in the Kichevo region. First, the rifles were
transferred to the village of Blace, which is located at the foot of
Suva Gora, where there was an underground hiding place in the house
of Kostadin Velkovski. The rifles were hidden there, and then with
horses and donkeys - mostly loaded with pots, and among them rifles
and ammunition - were carried through the mountain passes in
Kichevo. The local organization of VMRO in Tetovo also organized a
secret pharmacy that supplied the troops with medicines and medical
After the suppression of the Ilinden Uprising, some armed detachments in this area continued the action for some time. Such detachments mainly operated in the forest areas and had constant contacts with the detachments in the Poreч region and Kichevo region. It is known that the company that operated on Suva Gora was led by Sofre Gjorgjievski from the village of Radiovce, who gathered a large group of comites from the Macedonian villages at the foot of Suva Gora and continued to fight for two more years, until he was surprised by the Turkish seals and caught sleeping at night in a hut in the forests of Suva Gora. He was then sentenced to one hundred and one years in prison, of which he served only three, because due to the amnesty and the frequent protests and demands of the Macedonian population from this area, the Turkish authorities released him. Sofre Gjorgjievski's company fought during the summer, and in winter it spent the winter in the villages of Stenche, Volkovija, Chelopek, Leshnica and Blace, where it had safe shelters.
After the suppression of the uprising, other reprisals were undertaken by the Turkish authorities. For example, other people from Tetovo are imprisoned, such as the case of Milan Mladenov, Trpe Altikolac, priest Dime Sarov and Tome Smilkovski. Milan Mladenov and Trpe Altikolac were also sentenced to one hundred and one years in prison, the first in the Diyarbakir fortress in Asia Minor and the second in the Fezan district, deep in the Libyan desert in North Africa. The others were sentenced to several years in prison and taken to Kurshumli an in Skopje.
On March 19, 1943, the Communist Party of Macedonia was formed in Tetovo, in the house of the Jovanovci family, which today is a museum.
Tetovo was liberated in the Second World War on November 19, 1944 by the Third, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Nineteenth Macedonian Brigades, as the last liberated city on the territory of Macedonia.
The 2001 conflict
With the entry of some Kosovo terrorists on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, in the beginning of February in the Kumanovo village Tanushevci, and later with its expansion on the territory of Tetovo on March 14, 2001, in Tetovo a conflict occurred between the Macedonian army and police on the one hand and The People's Liberation Army on the other hand. After a few days, the Macedonian security forces start the action for cleaning the terrorists and with that begins the so-called Battle of Tetovo, which is the largest arrangement of the Macedonian army and police in the 2001 conflict. Macedonian forces with about 3,000 troops attacked Baltepe and the Tetovo fortress, which was the scene of fierce battles with local Albanian terrorists and Kosovo criminal extremist gangs. The battle was for control of the city and ended in a heavy defeat for the NLA.
Area and location
Most of Tetovo stretches in the plains, and only a smaller part, mainly the older one, lies on the slopes of Baltepe, a hill 806 meters high. The absolute altitude of the city is between 450 and 500 meters. Lately, urban planners are making efforts to expand the city to a mountainous area that is slightly elevated and favorable for an urban construction area.
The climate is moderately continental, with hot and relatively humid summers, cold and snowy winters, spring and autumn with frequent rainfall. Natural conditions such as climate, relief, geological composition of the country, have enabled the emergence of many water sources in the Tetovo area. Therefore, Tetovo is one of the few cities in Macedonia that has drinking water, water for industry and irrigation water.