Vevčani (Вевчани, Vevchani)

 

Vevcani - a village in the Drimkol area, near the city of Struga, in the southwestern part of Macedonia and the seat of the municipality of the same name, the only one in Macedonia with only one settlement.

 

Origin of the name
The name of Vevcani comes from the Old Slavic word ves, which means village. Adding a suffix to a demon gives the name of the village - Vescani. In the 17th century it was also called Vescani, and in the 20th century the name Vehchani was used to finally accept the official name of Vevcani today.

Geography and location
The village is located in the Drimkol area, in the western part of Struga Field, whose area on the eastern side of the mountain Jablanica, rises on its ridge where it touches the state border line with Albania. The village is hilly, whose houses rise at an altitude of 820 to 980 meters. From the city of Struga, this large village is 13.5 km away, and from the regional road Struga-Debar about 7 km.

Vevcani is located at the foot of the eastern slopes of Mount Jablanica, at an altitude of 800 meters. Specifically, the village is located on the border, ie the contact between the mountain slope of Jablanica in the west and the plain of the valley bottom in the east.

The area of ​​Vevcani is located northwest of Lake Ohrid on the west side of the Struga Field on the east side of the mountain Jablanica. It stretches in the east-west direction, from the foot, through the hilly terrain, all the way to the ridge of the mountain Jablanica. It borders the Municipality of Struga, and in a narrower part it touches the state border line with Albania.

The localities in the lower part of the area of ​​the village have the following names: Suvo Pole, Pelvec, Petrushin Red, Vrbice, Popoi Kostenje, Buklej Kostenje, Sadoj, Crveni Bregoj, Nistorchinja, Velkova Koshara, Kalanova Koshara, Ljushkova Koshara, Ma Pot, Durakor, Tumbulka, Sredorci, Ilaja Vodejnca, Mali Log, Sv. Petka and St. Dimitrija.

The localities in the mountainous part of the area of ​​the village bear the following names: Varvara, Gjonec, Kalajdzina Koshara, Mivko, Branejnca, Sv. Spas, Smolejca, Golema Livada, Gropa Ќat, Popov Kutel, Sredni Rid, Shkala Vevchanska, Bacila Vevchanski, Golina, Crn Kamenj, Chuma, Izvor Vevchanski, Gjorejca, Cvetkov Kostenar, Popadina, Leleci, Peshtinski Kushta Raven, Mitrina Glava, Partaloj Kutli, Suva Cesma, Surbanovsko, Lazarov Mev, Kula, Dupni Dol and Grdanova Cesma.

An asphalt road leads to Vevcani, which passes through Struga through the villages of Vranishta and Velesta. Vevcani is a large village similar to a small town ("Palanka") and it is quite well urbanized, arranged and regulated. The main street passes in the middle of the settlement in the east-west direction, where most of the shops, hotels, restaurants, trade and craft shops, the house of culture and the open stage of the amphitheater and the Health Center are concentrated.

Vevcani is the seat of the municipality of the same name and it is the only case in Macedonia, only one settlement to be a separate municipality.

Neighboring villages of Vevcani are: Podgorci in the north, Oktisi in the south, Velesta in the east and Gorna Belica in the southwest.

History
Traces of the settlement exist from the III century BC. Its first location was not today Vevcani, but it was located just below the foot of the mountain Jablanica, in the place that today is called Selishte. It is possible that there was some merging of the ancient Macedonian settlement located in the area of ​​Vajtos which is located directly above Vevcani, with the mentioned settlement Selishte, thus forming it at today's location (between Vajtos and Selishte).

The first legends and writings about Vevcani say that it is an old settlement, and its beginnings date from the end of VI, ie the beginning of VII century, when the tribe Berziti (Brsjaci) flooded the Struga region and settled the location of today's Vevcani, southeast of the mountain Jablanica. There is a small inconsistency here again, because today Vevcani is mostly a Mijak settlement.

Middle century
Since the settlement of Vevcani is recorded in the documents, there are several original documents over the centuries. One of them is Kaliman's letter, as the oldest research document so far. It says that Vevcani as a rural settlement is evident from the end of the IX century and how highly developed, economically strong and obliged to pay taxes in kind to the Bulgarian prince Boris I, and after him to the emperor Simeon the Great. The next written record where the village written under the name Vescani is found is found in the XIV century, ie from 1342-1345 when Tsar Stefan Dusan presented it with a letter to the church of the Holy Mother of God Perivlepta in Ohrid.

Somewhat later in the 16th century, in the Ottoman tax registers of the non-Muslim population of the province of Ohrid, according to the Turkish census of 1509, there were 208 homes, and in the second census in 1519 there were 223 homes and it was a larger settlement than Struga, which then counted. 176 homes.

At the beginning of the XVII century in 1633-1634 the settlement was registered under the name Veschano with 154 households.

 

XIX century
During the late period of the Ottoman Empire, the inhabitants of Vevcani were characterized by great courage, fearlessness and heroism, disobedience, freedom-loving, patriotism and devotion to the Orthodox Christian faith and Macedonia, characteristics with which Vevcani today defy the surrounding Muslim and are known throughout Macedonia and beyond.

At the end of the XIX century, Vevcani was a village within the Struga nahija, in the Ohrid kaza, of the Ottoman Empire.

There are numerous examples from the late eighteenth and throughout the nineteenth century. A mayor of Vevcani, named Tase, was forced by the Turks to convert to Islam, but after he refused he was hanged in Vevcani. East of Vevcani is a locality called Ramov Grob which got its name because there an Albanian Ramo from Velesta illegally took water from Vevcani and released it in his village because of which he was killed by Vevcani. The priest Pop Nahum, also known by the nickname "Mal Oxha", is remembered, who opposed a rich resident named Grozdan-pasha from the village of Gorna Belica who wanted to appropriate the Vevcani pastures on Jablanica, which is why priest Nahum even went to seek justice. to Constantinople.

In the middle and at the end of the XIX century, inhabitants of Vevcani (of the Velkoy genus) who were for profit in Romania, participated and gave their lives as soldiers - volunteers fighting on the side of the Russian army against the Turkish army in the Crimean War in 1856 and the Russian the Turkish war on the Balkan Mountains in 1878.

During the national liberation and revolutionary struggle against the Ottoman slavery from Vevcani were two dukes of the Struga company of VMORO - Jakim Alulov and Stavre Gogov who from the summer of 1904, after the murder of Jakim Alulov, became the leader of the Struga company of VMORO. In April 1907, Stavre was staying at the house of his uncle Trpe Shekutkov in his native village of Vevcani, about which the Turks found out and with a regular army together with a bashibozuk from the neighboring villages Oktisi, Labunista and Podgorci surrounded the house. Stavre Gogov together with the hosts heroically lasted over 20 hours in the unequal battle, while his fiancée Kota Hristova managed to pass the siege and bring them bombs and cartridges. After the bullets were fired, Stavre Gogov committed suicide. Trpe Shekutkov and his brother Kuzman Shekutkov also died with him. The daughter-in-law Andrica and the three grandchildren of Kuzman Shekutkov were wounded, and 27 people died from the attack of the asker and the bashibozuk. The Turks will burn the house. After the murder of Stavre Gogov, his fiancée Kota Hristova kills the traitor and joins one of the VMORO companies.

World War Two
In 1943, in the locality of Sveti Spas, near the village of Vevcani, a NOPO "Drimkol" was created by about twenty fighters, mostly of Albanian nationality.

The case of Vevcani
At the end of the 20th century, at a time when Macedonia was still part of the SFRY, protests took place in the village of Vevcani over the water supply plan of the neighboring village of Oktisi with water from Vevcani Springs.

The Vevcani case is a case from 1987, when the then government intended to capture the Vevcani Springs, under the pretext of bringing water to the residents of the neighboring village of Oktisi, and in fact, intended to use the water for the elite weekend settlement Ellen Kamen, where the villas of the then heads of government were located. The residents of Vevcani opposed this by setting up barricades and the water pipes were not allowed to be laid. Despite the consent of the two local communities of Vevcani and Oktisi, the night connection of the water from the Vevcani springs to Oktisi on May 25, 1987 was not done because there was an organized and violent opposition of the population of Vevcani.

 

Despite the efforts to overcome the situation, the spread information that the water from Vevcani Izvori will be supplied to Struga and the tourist settlement Elen Kamen, and Vevcani will be left without water, discounts were the efforts of the authorities in reassuring the population and construction activities were withdrawn. After the assessments and preparatory activities of the authorities and the inclusion of the possibility of using force by the law enforcement agencies, if violent organized resistance reappears, it was decided to start the water connection activities in the village of Oktisi from Vevchani Izvori on August 6, 1987. However, on the same day, the construction workers at the entrance of the village of Vevcani were greeted by 500-600 inhabitants who made a barricade with wood and stones and carrying sticks, agricultural tools and other objects, despite calls from members of the SIA Struga to leave the place, they did not they did. During the day in Vevcani there was a great movement of residents and their grouping at the place where the construction works were to be performed, and several times the church bell rang in order to call the citizens to gather and obstruct the construction works.

The riots culminated on August 7, 1987, when special police forces intervened, when "electric batons" were used for the first time in then-Yugoslavia. Namely, the next day, August 7, 1987, around 10 am, 23 workers were again obstructed by a group of 500-600 inhabitants of Vevcani, who set up 5 barricades from the entrance to the center of the village, during which the police had to intervene with electric and rubber truncheons. which led to a clash with residents, injuring 23 residents and 11 police officers, 19 residents of Vevcani (of which 3 women) were detained. Despite the gathering and the hunger strike of a group of young people and the telegrams sent to the governing bodies at the national and federal level, as of August 18, 1987, the construction works were completed and the water from Vevcani to Oktisi finally flowed. These events shook the wider Macedonian and Yugoslav public and society, and gained (unusually) wider dimensions and political implications. The local community of the village of Vevcani received telegrams in support of the demonstrated resistance, a delegate question was asked about these events to the Assembly of SFRY, and a protest letter was written by the Association of Slovenian Writers to the organization and participants in the 26th Struga Poetry Evenings. for all this the then authorities blamed the organized action of groups of individuals from Vevcani from the village itself and some who lived in other republics (especially in Slovenia).

Some analysts consider these protests in Vevcani as a kind of expression of dissatisfaction and dissent towards the then socialist regime and the struggle for democratic reforms. In addition to the glorious and disobedient history of Vevcani from the time before and for Ilinden, after these events comes the symbolic protest self-proclamation of the "state of Vevcani" (republic) with its passports and money (so-called personalities) which today is a tourist attraction known for Vevcani. In the village of Vevcani even today there is a plaque where the names of all the leaders of that time are written with the inscription "God kill the traitors".