Wednesday, 5 December 2012



Kumanovo is a city in the Republic of Macedonia and is the seat of Kumanovo Municipality which is the largest municipality in the country. 

The area boasts several prehistoric settlements, among which are the Kostoperska karpa, the Bronze Age Gradiste near the village of Pelince, the Neolithic site of Mlado Nagoričane, the Iron Age tumulus Groblje at Vojnik, the Roman Necropolis Drezga of Lopate, and the Roman Settlement Vicianus at village of Klečovce.

The city was first mentioned in 1519 in a document housed in a Turkish archive in Istanbul. The most comprehensive and relevant information on Kumanovo is provided by Evliya Çelebi in 1660/1661: 

"The colony of Kumanovo is situated on the territory of the Skopje sanjak and represents one county. The city is embellished with many rivers and 600 tile-roofs houses. The mosque in the downtown is beautiful, there are teke, madrassa, hammam, a number of shops and water mills; and the climate is pleasant and agreeable. There are many vineyards and gardens".

Kumanovo became an urban settlement and administrative center of the region at the end of the 16th century or the beginning of the 17th century. Following the turbulent events (notably, the Karposh Uprising in 1689) the city experienced a period of stagnation, and by the end of 18th century Kumanovo epitomized an Ottoman provincial town.

According to the Turkish historian Silahdar Findikli Mehmed Aga, its leader Karposh initially was a vojvod of haiduks near Dospat, in present-day Bulgaria, but later the Turks named him chief of Christian auxiliary forces in the area between Sofia, Veles, Dojran, Kjustendil and Nevrokop. Initially, he was a vassal of Turks, but when the Ottoman empire began to weaken in 1689 and discontent rose concerning new higher taxation policies, Karpoš became a turning point in the battle versus the Turks. In that period Austria staged an attack on the Ottoman Empire. 

Later there was a change in the military and political situation in the Balkans, which had a crucial effect on the rebellion. The Austrian army was forced to withdraw and powerful Turkish forces, reinforced by Tatar detachments belonging to the Crimean Khan Selim I Giray, attacked the rebels. After fierce battles the Turks took Kriva Palanka, the rebel stronghold, and then attacked Kumanovo and its newly-constructed fortress. Karpoš was captured, removed to Skopje, and put to death on the Stone Bridge across the Vardar.

In October 1912, during the First Balkan War, Serbian forces under the command of General Radomir Putnik won a decisive victory over the Ottomans north of the town. The two-day Battle of Kumanovo ended Ottoman authority in Vardar Macedonia and prepared the way for the region's integration into Yugoslavia.

During the second world war the anti-fascist insurrection of Macedonians and the struggle for national and social liberation began in Kumanovo and Prilep on October 11, 1941. On 11 October 1941, in Kumanovo and Prilep started the antifashist struggle of the Macedonian people. The struggle ended with victory and formation of the Macedonian federative state inside Yugoslavia Federation (SFRY). One of the famous partizans from Kumanovo was Hristijan Todorovski Karposh shown on the picture. After 1945 Kumanovo experienced fast economic, administrative and cultural development.

The city developed economically in the late 19th century (agriculture, handcrafts and trade). Still, industrial development occurred only at the end of the Second World War. The rapid economic, administrative and cultural expansion of Kumanovo began in 1945. Today, it is a modern city with approximately 100,000 inhabitants. It was also the site of the June 9, 1999 Agreement signed between FR Yugoslav Generals and the NATO Generals about bringing in a NATO peacekeeping contingent in Kosovo called, the Kosovo Force, or KFOR.

The Albanian insurgency in Macedonia first started in the mountains outskirts of Tetovo and then spread in May 2001 to the region of Kumanovo mostly to the north. The armed conflict in Kumanovo mainly resulted with a divide of the educational system according to the language of the studies. All the students following classes in Albanian left the schools and demanded new schools to be opened for them. Following this process there is a visible separation in the town affecting the inter-community relations. 

The Law on Local Self-Government envisages the establishment of the Commission for Inter-community Relations (CICR). CICR is a consultative body in the Council of the Municipality of Kumanovo and is formed by 12 representatives from the following ethnic groups: Macedonian, Albanian, Roma, Serbian, Turkish and Vlach. 

Commission for Inter-community Relations aims to develop and improve relations between different ethnic communities and to ensure active participation of minorities in decision-making on issues that have Ethniko nature and are found in the agenda of the Council of the Municipality of Kumanovo.

Other organizations active in bridging the community divide include the Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID), Roma community center DROM, the local Red Cross and others.

Shopping in Kumanovo can be a diverse experience. There are clothes shops such as Springfield, Replay, Van and Nike as well as modern shopping centers such as Nama, Suma and Garnizon Also there are a few designers working in Kumanovo out of which the most popular is Aleksandar Rashkovich Also in Kumanovo you can find cheap fake brands sold at the green market. Get your fake D&G glasses for 5 EUR and experience the sparkling life of the famous.

You can buy souvenirs at Biba Ethno Shop located in the "Kasapski Krug" area. Also some postcards and smaller souvenirs are available at the small multi-product shops and libraries in town.

                                                        Kumanovo’s Top 5:
    1. The Church St. Nikolas, is a church designed by Andreja Damjanov. It is surrounded by arcades and has a rich interior with galleries, frescoes and furniture. According to an inscription on the south entrance, it was built in 1851 on the same site as a prior church (with the same patron) in the "Varosh maalo". The Church is tree-aisle monumental basilica type building a characteristic for all of the secred buildings in the Balkans in the 19 century period. It is built from stone and bricks. On the northern side there is a porch with colonnades. The central aisle is overtopping with four blind domes. Above the northern, western and southern pa rt of the church extends a gallery where unique collection of icons is placed. Above the western part of the gallery extends another one but with smaller dimensions. The oldest fresco drawing is performed only in the blind domes of the centar aisle and origins from the sixt decade of the 19 century.
    2. Kumanovo Central Square - the central square of Kumanovo features many interesting and historical buildings. Starting from the building of the old cinema Napredok built at the beginning of the XX century as the home of the Manufacturers Association of Kumanovo. Just in front of the building is the statue of Batko Gjorgjija (Brother George) who is the town's mythical person admired as the biggest drunk and ladies-man. Across the streets you will see the nowadays administrative municipal buildings that are called "Kasapski Krug". The town square also features a fountain with a monument called "tumba 4 bandere" that was the symbol of the city centre. On the smaller square you will find several monument from the antifascist war as well as a monument dedicated to Tito (Yugoslavia's lifelong President).
    3. The Karpino Monastery is an important Macedonian Orthodox monastery situated in the northeastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, near the city of Kumanovo (near village Suvi Orah). The main monastery church is dedicated to Presentation of Virgin Mary, it was built of crafted stone in the shape of single nave basilica with apse in form of triconhos, from the 16th – 17th century. The church itself was erected in 1100. The monastery and church has been burnt and destroyed many times, but has always been restored by the inhabitants of villages Suv Ora, Aljince, Drenak and Kanarevo.
    4. The Church of St. George - in the village of Staro Nagoričane, near Kumanovo. It is noteworthy both for its architecture and its frescoes. It is considered a key example of Christian heritage in this area. The church was first constructed in 1071, and reconstructed between 1313 and 1318 by the Serbian king Stefan Milutin. During this reconstruction period, the church's walls were painted with frescoes by Mihailo and Evtihij, among which are depictions of Stefan Milutin and his queenSimonida. The Bulgarian emperor, Michael Shishman, was buried in the wall of this church after he died at battle of Velbazhd, against Serbian king Stefan Urosh III Dechanski in 1330.
    5. Kokino is an important archaeological site and a megalithic observatory discovered in 2001 by archeologist Jovica Stankovski in the northeastern Republic of Macedonia, approximately 30 km from the town of Kumanovo, near the village of Staro Nagoričane It is situated 1030 m above sea level on the Tatikjev Kamen Summit and covers an area of a 100-meter radius. The site is more than 3800 years old. The oldest archaeological finds date from the Early Bronze Age. Finds from the Middle Bronze Age are the most numerous (mainly ceramic vessels, stone-mills and a few molds). An agglomeration from the Iron Age has also been discovered. The archaeo-astronomical research was carried out by the Macedonian archaeologist Jovica Stankovski. In March 2010, the nomination proposal for Kokino to be included on World Heritage Site list was accepted by UNESCO. Kokino consists of two parts. It includes special stone markers used to track the movement of the Sun and Moon on the eastern horizon. The observatory used the method of stationary observation, marking positions of the Sun at the winter and summer solstice, as well as the equinox.

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