Vlachs (Aromanians) in Macedonia

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With the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Author: Jovica Stankovski Editor: Dragana Jovanovska Design: Elena Ceban Translation from Macedonian to English: Mila Josifovska Photos: N.I. Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments and Museum - Shtip

This guidebook was developed as part of the project “Cu Tenda – Stories, Images and Sounds on the Move; Living Memory of South-Eastern Europe“, implemented by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, in partnership with The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Romania), O.R.S. Osservatorio ricerca sociale (Italy) and Plovdiv University „Paisii Hilendarski”, (Bulgaria). The guidebook aims to be used as a road map of Aromanian (Vlach) culture in Macedonia, following the movements, tradition and history of the same, starting from many years back until today. We hope that the guidebook will inspire more interest for Aromanian culture and will contribute to creating a living image of the memory of this people as an important link within the Macedonian and Balkan history and identity.

Center for Intercultural Dialogue Kumanovo, 2018


Table of contents The Vlachs (Aromanians) in ancient sources The Vlachs in medieval sources Vlachs and their role in the big Balkan city centers Animal husbandry as a basic commercial activity Naming the Vlach community in the Balkan countries The Vlach language Religion Vlachs in Macedonia Traditional costumes as a characteristic feature of the Vlachs Frashariotes Karagouni Megleno-Romanians (Meglenites) Sarakatsani Vlachs in the Kumanovo region Vlach traditional costume in the Kumanovo region Vlachs and the social trends in Macedonia Significant Vlach traditions and legends in the Northeast region About the author About the project About the partners


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The Vlachs (Aromanians) in ancient sources In historical sources, the Vlachs (Aromanians) are most often referred to as Arӑmӑni or Armӑni. These terms are derived from the term Romanus, from the name of the city of Rome. Various ethnonyms which referred to the Vlach (Aromanian) ethnic community, were derived from this term: Români, Rumâni, Rumâri. Later, with the addition of the vocal 'a' in front of the noun (a characteristic form in the Vlach (Aromanian) language), the terms Aromâni, (Aromani, as the most common form of the folk selfnaming), Arumâni etc. are obtained. In the literature, the most commonly used name for their collective identification is the term Vlach (plural: Vlachs). According to some researchers, the etymology of the term Vlach is derived from the name of the Celtic tribe Volcae which lived in the southeastern sites of Gaul (present-day France) and bordered with the Germans. The Germans adopted this name as a general name for the Celts and after their romanising, for them, as well as for all romanised people, they used the German word Walh, i.e. people who speak the Romance (Latin) language. Today, the German population in Switzerland uses the term Welsch for their Italian and French compatriots. The name Walh was taken over from the Germans by the Slavs who used the name Vlachù for the Italians. Among the Eastern Slavs the name appeared as Volosi. According to the generally accepted opinion, the name passed from the Balkan Slavs to the Greeks.


When speaking of the ethnic origin of the Vlachs, we should recall another historical event. Namely, towards the end of the 4th century and at the beginning of the 3rd century BC., the Gauls, i.e. the Celts have expanded on the Balkan Peninsula in two consecutive penetrations. The first penetration was in the year 280 BC, in the direction of Macedonia, Illyria and Thrace, where they devastated many of these areas. In the second break, the Celts tried to occupy the sanctuary in Delphi, Greece. However, this campaign was unsuccessful. The great Gaul army was defeated, after which part of it headed towards Thrace, where the Gauls founded a short-lived state. One group continued its journey to the east and through Hellespont went to Asia Minor where they founded a state known as Galatia. Part of the defeated Celtic army remained in Macedonia, and a larger group moved along the Danube, where they settled. These Celts are known as the Scordisci. Thus, when speaking about the ethnic origin of the Vlachs, there is a greater disagreement among contemporary researchers. According to some, Vlachs in the Balkans originate from the natives of the Greeks, or belong to the autochthonous romanised ThracoIllyrian population. Other researchers believe that the Vlachs are a symbiosis between the Thracian, the Celtic and the South Slavic tribes. There is also a hypothesis (which today has fewer supporters) that the Vlachs (Aromanians), have the Latinised Dacians as their ancestors, who came from the Danubian space of old Dacia, which Rome left during the reign of Emperor Aurelian (271-275 AD.), before the invasion of the Huns, the Avars, the Slavs and other barbaric warlike tribes. Repressed from their homeland to the interior of the Balkans, they succeeded in settling and surviving on the territory of Southeast Europe, preserving their Latinised language thanks to their mobility as a consequence of their primary occupation - animal husbandry (cattle-breeding). When we are speaking in terms of the Republic of Macedonia, we will be speaking about Vlachs in broader terms than just Aromani, but also Karagouni, Meglenites, etc. 5

The Vlachs in medieval sources As mentioned, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, the Slavs of Eastern Europe use the term Walh, which denote the whole Romance and romanised population. From this term, they derived the form Vlakhi and Volosi. This name (Vlach) continues to penetrate the Greek language as a loan from the Balkan Slavs. Already at the end of the 10th and in the 11th century, the term Vlach was associated with the cattle-breeding communities, irrespective of which ethnic group they belong to. Travelers who traveled through the Vlach territories and studied their life, economic and social structures, spiritual and material culture, confirm that the term Vlach covers different tribal communities. They differed in character and mentality, from which a large number of names for this ethnic community derive. However, despite this, in the sources originating from the Byzantine chroniclers, the term Vlach is used as an ethnonym for all the cattle-breeding communities, throughout the entire existence of the Byzantine Empire. The first mention of the name Vlachs in Western Macedonia is in a text from the year 976 which announces that David, one of the four comitapoles who led the uprising against Byzantium, was killed by Vlachs in a place between Kostur and Prespa. In the year 979, in a charter of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, the Vlachs from continental Greece (Hellada) are mentioned, under the command of one of his military leaders. The existence of a great ethnic core of the Vlachs has been confirmed at the same time in Thessaly.


Vlachs and their role in the big Balkan city centers In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Vlachs had a developed trade network throughout the Balkan Peninsula, through which they influenced not only the development of trade, but also the craftsmanship in the big Balkan cities, leaving a significant mark on the city life and contributing to their development. The trade ties of the Vlachs quickly spread beyond the borders of the Balkans: in Hungary, Austria, Italy, Turkey. Their caravans crossed Southeast Europe at a time when trade routes, especially in the mountainous regions, were not yet developed. The then center of the Vlachs – the Vlach city of Moscopole (Voskopoja) experienced great progress. Over the next centuries, with the weakening of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire and the terror of landowners and Ottoman military commanders, the Vlachs started leaving their old hearths and migrating to the north. The first wave of eviction began in 1769 when Moscopole was looted by the surrounding Albanians, and the second in 1788 when it was robbed and burned by the Turks. Apart from Moscopole, other Vlach settlements in Southern Albania, Epirus and Thessaly, also caused a lot of merchants, craftsmen and cattle-breeders to migrate. In the second half of the 18th and the early 19th centuries, from South Albania and Northwest Greece (the regions of Epirus and Pind), two groups of Vlach population settled in Macedonia. The larger group, composed of craftsmen and merchants, settled predominantly in the urban and rural centers in Western Macedonia as a permanent population, and the smaller group of nomadic cattle-breeders from the Gramos and Frasher (Albania) areas settled down the Macedonian mountains. The Megleno7

Romanians (Meglenites) settled in the southern part of today's Republic of Macedonia. Animal husbandry as a basic commercial activity The primary occupation of the Vlachs was animal husbandry, more precisely sheep-breeding. The beginnings of its development are noticed in the mountains Pind, Gramos, Olympus, and in the northern and southern parts of Epirus, while afterwards it expanded to Shara, Bistra, Osogovo and the mountains in Serbia and Croatia. During the summer the flocks went to the mountains and during the winters they wintered in the plains. These movements took place on a large area: Vlachs from Northern Greece reached Thrace on the east, the mountains on the northern border of present-day Republic of Macedonia on the north, and Peloponnese on the south. The Vlachs from Albania moved south to Greece, north to Serbia, and some of them even reached the Dalmatian coast. Naming the Vlach community in the Balkan Countries The Balkan population uses several different names for naming the Vlachs. Greeks call them Pistiki (Vlachs from Aetolia and Arcadia), Bomi (Vlachs from Beotia), Vlachs, Koutsovlachs, and others. In Albania, the Vlachs are also known under several names: Arvanitovlachs, Kogi, Rumeri, Doti and others. In Serbia, the term Cincari (Tsintsars) is used for Vlachs who live in the urban areas. Bulgarians call them Vlasi, Vlahi, Vlai. In Turkey - Vlach, Olah, Chobani. Romanians use the terms Aromanians or Macedoromans for the Vlach ethnic community. Because of the black traditional costume of the Vlach cattle-breeders in Dalmatia, the Byzantines called them Crni Vlasi (Black Vachs) or Mavrovlasi. Depending on the geographical origin, the Vlachs of the Balkans have also various names. Vlachs from Albania are known 8

as Muzachiars (Vlachs from Muzachia), Frashariotes (Vlachs from the Frasher region), Moscopolitans (Vlachs from Moscopole). In Greece (where the Vlachs appear as a rather compact mass), they are encountered as Pindeans (Vlachs around Pind Mountain), Gramustians (Vlachs from Mount Gramos), Epirusites (Vlachs from Epirus), Meglenites (Vlachs from Meglen) and so on. In Macedonia they are known as Krushevjani (Vlachs from Krushevo), Gopeshani (Vlachs from Gopesh), Ambeloti (Vlachs from Gorna and Dolna Belitsa) and similar. The Vlach language The Vlach language, like the other modern languages of the Romance linguistic family, derives from the folk (vulgar) Latin language. The process of Romanisation began with the Roman conquest of the Balkan Peninsula and took place through the Roman colonists of the Apennines Peninsula, who mixed with the natives. As a result of this interference, in a linguistic sense, a Romanian linguistic variant appears, same as the ones found at the beginning of the Middle Ages on the territory of present-day Italy, France, Spain and Portugal (from which the contemporary languages of these modern Western European countries have developed). The creation of the Vlach language in the Balkans was strongly influenced by the contacts with the local languages of the ancient Balkan tribes, above all those who came to the ThracoIllyrian substratum. Lacking written sources, it is very difficult to define the phonetic structure of this old vulgar Latin language, but over time it began to differentiate itself. The result of this differentiation, according to the generally accepted opinion, is its two branches - a Western Balkan-Romanian language which completely disappeared, and the Eastern Balkan-Romanian language. From the last one emerged the present-day Romanian, 9

Vlach (Aromanian) and the language of the Meglenites and the Istrian Vlachs. The Vlach language did not develop continuously because of the overall historical and social conditions in the Balkans, which resulted in influences in the Greek, Albanian and Slavic languages. Because of this, it is today a collection of several Eastern Romance languages with multiple dialects. Vlachs have never built a native country and they also spoke the languages of the people with whom they shared the same territory. Thus, one could easily say that all the Vlachs are bilinguals. Religion Regarding religious affiliation, the Vlachs are Orthodox Christians. In their folk customs and celebrations, especially those who have long deal with nomadic cattle-breeding, there are relic remains of old pagan beliefs. This is probably one of the reasons why the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, in order to put them under his control, established an episcopate of the Vlachs based in Vranje, in 1020. This episcopate was under the jurisdiction of the Ohrid Archbishopric. Later, in the 14th century, other Vlach episcopates were formed, such as those in Florina, Prilep and others.


Vlachs in Macedonia As an ethnic group in the Ottoman Empire, the Vlachs have been de facto recognized since September, 1878, after the Berlin Congress, when the central government issued an order to local authorities not to hinder their education. At that time, several centers of the Vlach culture were developed, among which Bitola became one of the most significant. On May 23rd, 1905, Sultan Abdul Hamid II signed a proclamation declaring the Vlachs their national rights in the Ottoman Empire, the right to elect their mayors, the right to teach and learn the Vlach language in schools and worship in their own language in the churches. This event is today celebrated as a national holiday of the Vlachs. The first permanent settlements of the Vlachs in Macedonia occur in the first half of the 19th century, caused by the destruction of the Vlach settlements in Epirus and Thessaly, as well as the violence they were exposed to. The Vlachs live in Bitola and mountain villages northeast of Bitola, in Krushevo (which until 1830 was a small village in the Prilep campus exclusively with Macedonians), in the western and southern part of Aegean Macedonia, in the valley of the river Bregalnica, in Shtip, Kochani and Ovche Pole. Vlachs in Macedonia are inhabited mostly in cities, and in most cases, they have been displaced from the mountainous villages in which they lived in the past in Southwestern and Eastern Macedonia. Today, larger Vlach communities can be met in Nishopole, Trnovo, Gopesh, Magarevo, Malovishta, Gorna and Dolna Belitsa, 11

Krushevo (10.53% of the population), Shtip (4.6%), Bitola (1.33%), Kochani, and there are also some in Skopje (0.5%), Ohrid, Veles, Resen, Kumanovo and elsewhere. In the Republic of Macedonia, according to the census from 2002, 9,695 people (or 0.48% of the population) reported as Vlachs. Despite the relatively low percentage of representation of the Vlachs in the total population, the Republic of Macedonia is the only country in which their national rights have been formally recognized as a linguistic and ethnic minority. There is a Vlach (Aromanian) language program on the national television station, a Union for culture and publishing of the Aromans, several associations that cherish their cultural identity and so on. In Krushevo, where the Vlach population is represented in the largest proportion, the Vlach (Aromanian) language is official, in addition to Macedonian. The Vlachs, as cattle-breeders, traders and good craftsmen, have left a significant mark in the economic and cultural life of the present-day Republic of Macedonia. Although their culture is specific, built on the basis of orally transmitted legends and values from the past, their material and spiritual culture is embedded in the Macedonian and world cultural heritage. The rich Vlach villages built beautiful churches with valuable paintings, iconostasis and other church objects. Many people of Vlach origin have left a significant mark on the Macedonian culture, and some of them have become world famous. To mention a few of them: Rajko Zinzifov was a famous Macedonian revivalist, the brothers Milton and Janaki Manaki were the first film cameramen in the Balkans, Fanula Papazoglu was a classical philologist, Branislav Nusic was a Vlach comedian, Tose Proeski was one of the biggest singing stars in the Balkans and many others with Vlach origin. 12

Traditional costumes as a characteristic feature of the Vlach culture

Photo 1: Traditional costumes (women´s and men´s) of Vlachs - Karagouni 13

The traditional costumes of the Vlachs differed from those of the other population on the same territory. The manner of dressing depended on the type of occupation with which a particular Vlach community was engaged (animal husbandry, agriculture, etc.), from which region they originated, but also from the influences it accepted. For example, the Vlachs' herdsmen's costume was made of wool (the cloth was very seldom used). The Vlach community in Macedonia, according to the basic characteristics of the traditional costume, can be divided into three groups: Frashariotes, Karagouni and Meglenites. Frashariotes The traditional costumes of the Frashariotes (originating from the Frasher area in Albania) belong to the old Balkan style of herdsmen’s costumes. They were made of wool, but some parts (sleeveless shirts) were made of cotton. The men’s traditional costume was made of white woollen yarn, and the women’s was made of dark blue felt (woollen cloth) richly decorated with embroidery and braids. Women wore a strong belt with wide silver buckles. The traditional costumes for women and girls were wide open in the chest area, which is not the case with women's costumes in other Vlach communities. The main feature of women's clothing is the dominant dark color which is embroidered with red woollen threads. So was the vest (the most characteristic part of the women's clothing), sleeveless clothing below the knees, which was worn over the clothes. Women's costume lost its original form between 1925 and 1930. After this period, the Vlachs began to dress in city clothes, following the new modern fashion.The most characteristic element of women’s jewelry is the one which in its form, decorative elements made of gold and silver, looks like a crown. 14

The main feature of the men’s costume, which is also composed of many parts, is its white color. In the period between the two World Wars, one can notice some changes in the colour of the costume as well as the disappearance of some of its parts. The dark blue (in the Bitola region) and the brown colour began to dominate (in the Frashariotes from the Ohrid-Struga region). The Frashariotes are concentrated in the villages of Nizhopole, Gorna Belica, Gopesh and other villages in the Ohrid-Struga and Bitola-Prespa regions. Karagouni The Karagouni are inhabited in Eastern Macedonia, in the regions of Ograzhden, Shtip, Sveti Nikole (in the village Mezdra and others), Kumanovo (in the village Dobroshane). The women's costume of these Vlachs is woollen and is also composed of several elements. In terms of color, black and red are dominant (Photos 2 and 3). On the head they wore a cap made of black rolled felt, and over the cap they would put a black woollen scarf which they wrapped around their heads. The bridal cap was decorated with silver coins (Photos 4, 5, 6). The men’s costume is similar to the women’s. Men wore a fur hat on the head which, at the time of Turks, was replaced with a fez. They wore a long shirt with dense folds which went down to the knees. Above it they wore a vest and a woollen tunic with no sleeves, in white or black. During the colder days, these shepherds, who were in constant motion, wore a raincoat made of goat fur, which they used as cover for sleeping in the open air. They wore trousers made of black felt, decorated with black, blue, or steel braids, around the openings. Both women and men wore a tattooed cross between their eyebrows. 15

Photo 2: Dress

Photo 3: Apron - Towel

Photo 4: Jewelry for the head – ‘amur’

Photos 5 and 6: Jewelry for head – earrings and ‘fundija’ 16

Megleno-Romanians (Meglenites) The traditional costume of the Megleno-Romanians (Meglenites), in the southern part of Macedonia (in the Macedonian part of Kozuf Mountain), belongs to the Central Balkan type of costumes. The main material for making the costume was a felt (a type of woollen cloth). The women's shirt was made of a homemade woven cloth made out of wool, and above it they wore a piece of wardrobe going to the forearms made of felt and embroidered with rich embroidery on the front and around the sleeves. Around the attire, they would wear a woollen belt, also richly decorated. On their feet they wore colorful, richly decorated socks, and on the head a woolly dark red scarf decorated with floral ornaments. A special decoration was the bridal cap, decorated with colored jewelry. The costumes, especially the festive and bridal ones, were decorated with jewellery made of beads, silver and artificial flowers, as well as items with an apotropic (protective) function. The men's shirt, especially the one for formal occasions, was made of cotton and it was not decorated. They wore white woollen pants (chakshire), typical of the old Balkan breeding costume, which after the Second World War were replaced with pants of a home-made black fabric. Instead of the white fez, shoemakers started to wear fur hats, and later, casquets (caps). Vlachs who migrated to the cities replaced traditional leather shoes that resemble the moccasins (opinci) with more modern leather shoes. Sarakatsani As a separate, insufficiently explored group of Vlachs in Macedonia are the Sarakatsani. They are thought to be the 17

descendants of ancient herdsmen who inhabited the high Balkan mountains. By the end of the 18th century they were concentrated in Epirus, where they started their migration to the north (Southwest and Central Albania, Macedonia and Eastern Serbia) and east (Bulgaria and Western Asia Minor). They speak a northern Greek dialect influenced by the languages of the other Balkan nations with whom they were in contact (Slavic, Albanian, Vlach). Greeks call them Sarakatsani, and in Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria they are known as Karakachani. Their summer settlements on the high mountains consisted of dormitory cottages. Although they are of Christian faith, many of their pagan elements are preserved in their beliefs and customs. In their summer neighbourhoods near the high mountain pastures, the Sarakatsani, established production centers for dairy products, wool, fabric, paint, wood and objects made of wood and leather. Women engaged in this production, while men grazed the herds. Some Romanian scholars consider that according to some Vlach words in the speech of the Sarakatsani, that they are Hellenised Vlachs. Others consider that the Sarakatsani are Hellenised Thracians or Illyrians, while the Vlachs are romanised indigenous people. They are mentioned in Macedonia in the late 19th century, and in the first half of the 20th century they settled in Gevgelija, Valandovo and Bogdanci. They were seen on the high Macedonian mountains where they dealt exclusively with nomadic cattle-breeding (Kozhuf, Nikodinska Planina, Nidze with Kajmakchalan, Baba, Kozjak, etc.). In the winter period, the Sarakatsani descended into the Macedonian lowlands, or wintered in Thessaloniki.


After the Second World War, with the Law on Collectivization, part of the Sarakatsani migrated to Greece, and some of the ones who remained started a stationary way of living, inhabiting several urban settlements in Gevgelija, Valandovo, Demir Kapija, Bitola, Ovche Pole, Shtip and Strumica. The traditional costume of the Sarakatsani belongs to the old Balkan style of costumes. Women (according to data from the late 19th and early 20th centuries) wore a sweatshirt, a shirt, a skirt (made of red or dark brown woollen cloth, which was richly decorated in the bridal wear), apron, woven belt and a thin belt decorated with motifs made of beads, and an ornamented vest of dark blue felt. On their feet they wore black woollen socks decorated with woollen threads and leather shoes that resemble the moccasins (opinci). Their head was covered with a woollen scarf. The women tattooed stylized crosses on their hands and forehead. The men wore a woollen sweatshirt and a shirt made of white cloth, white woollen underwear and white trouser legs fastened to the underwear with a woollen cord. Around the waist, they usually wore a woollen belt and a leather belt over it. Over the upper part of the body they wore a white vest and white ‘dolama’ which appears as a cape. The cattlemen wore a raincoat with long sleeves. On the head they wore a white or red fez, and during the winter, a fur hat. Judging by the costumes, its functions, coloring and decoration, we can say that the Vlachs and the Sarakatchans are two cattle-breeding communities with a significant difference between them.


Vlachs in the Kumanovo region Towards the end of the 19th century, Vlach families from Veles and Krushevo, craftsmen and merchants, moved to Kumanovo. In Kumanovo they brought the craftsmanship of fur manufacturing, tailorship and the craft of the coppersmith. At the beginning of the 20th century, several dozen Vlach families who were engaged in annihilation and animal husbandry moved in several villages in the Kumanovo region (Bajlovce, Malotino, Blace, Makresh, Proevce, Kutlibeg, Dobroshane). During the emigration of the Turks from Macedonia, the Vlachs bought properties and began to leave the nomadic life while starting to cross to the semi-nomadic way of animal husbandry. At the same time, the Vlachs moved and concentrated in the village of Dobroshane, near Kumanovo, on whose market they have placed part of their products. The Vlachs from Dobroshane (who call themselves Gramustians i.e., from the Gramos Mountains, Greece), in the period from Saint George's Day (Gjurgjovden) marked on May 6th to St. Demetrius’ Day (Mitrovden) marked on November 8th, drove their herds to graze at Kalin Kamen in the Osogovo Mountains, in the near vicinity of Kriva Palanka. On the mountain, they formed a temporary residence where milk products (feta cheese, cheese) were made, part of which went to the Kumanovo market, and part of which was exported to Greece.


Vlach traditional costume in the Kumanovo region The black prevails as a color in these Vlach costumes. They are decorated with colorful ornaments made of wool, sterling silver embroidery thread (srma), silk and lace. Particularly striking is the bridal costume consisting of several parts. The most characteristic of them is the shirt and neck-decor made of beads. A piece of the upper garment is a dress, below the knees, richly folded and without sleeves. Above the dress, they wore a shirt (mintan), an outer garment long to the waist with long sleeves, made of felt and cloth. Above the shirt they wore a long sleeveless black garment, open in the chest area and without sleeves. This garment was richly decorated with yellow and white sterling silver thread and a variety of braids. On top of it they wore an apron decorated with braids. Around the waist the wore a belt made of sterling silver thread (Photos 7 and 8), and on the legs, richly decorated socks and traditional leather shoes that appear as moccasins.


Photo 7: Bean belt

Photo 8: Bean belt


Vlachs and the social trends in Macedonia With the Law on Collectivisation in 1948, the Vlachs left the semi-nomadic life and begun to deal with agriculture. Their migration to cities had also begun to cause profound changes in their traditional way of life. The old woollen cloth in their traditional costumes had started to disappear gradually and was replaced with material of industrial origin (velvet, fabric, etc.). The interference with the Macedonian population in the cities contributed to the acceleration of these processes. Therefore, the preservation of the Vlach culture, language and customs is a great task not only for the enthusiasts of the Vlach community, but also for the institutions that deal with their research and popularisation. The Republic of Macedonia has always supported these activities as part of the country's cultural policies. Vlachs, one of the oldest ethnicities in the Balkans, inevitably deserve it. However, despite all these activities, influenced by social changes, including economic trends and influences, the Vlach community today is exposed to migration. Therefore, a larger part of the Vlachs migrate from rural to urban areas, and not a small part of them belongs to those who are moving out of the territory of the Republic of Macedonia. As a result of such flows, unfortunately, the Vlach material and spiritual culture is threatened by degradation and extinction. From once a big community, today the Vlachs in the Kumanovo region are concentrated in the city of Kumanovo and the villages Dobroshane, Makresh and Strezovce. In the wider region, there are smaller Vlach communities in the Kratovo villages Oratovica and Konjuh, as well as in the vicinity of Probishtip. Due to this situation, the remaining Vlach community in the Republic of Macedonia, including Kumanovo, is actively organised in several civil associations. 23

In that direction, several associations (NGOs) are also working on the preservation of the Vlach culture and tradition. On a national level, such is, for example, the League of Vlachs based in Skopje, while in the Northeast region there is the Association of Vlachs in Kumanovo "Halcha Al Brova", which is named in honor of a prominent Vlach activist from Kumanovo. The Association was founded in 1999 and since then it has realized several projects and activities, with special emphasis on the youth, for which they organise classes for learning the Vlach language, folklore and traditional customs, as well as several modern trainings and workshops aimed at increasing the interaction among the Vlach community from the Kumanovo region and motivating them to actively engage in contemporary social trends. Thus, within the framework of its activities, this Association marks several dates of great importance to the Vlach community in the Kumanovo region, such as: May 23rd – National Day of the Vlach Community, which is celebrated through organising formal academies organised in cooperation with the League of Vlachs in the Republic of Macedonia, accompanied by several art performances. As another celebration of this day, there is the Day of the Vlach Literature where Vlach poetry is read and books from Vlach authors are promoted; July 12th – Day of the Vlach folklore on the mountain, an event that is held annually in Ponikva, Osogovo Mountains (in the vicinity of the city Kochani), under the motto „Everybody on the mountain for the day of St. Peter“. Several Vlach art and culture organisations from Macedonia and the region take part in this event.


Significant Vlach traditions and legends in the Northeast region An extremely interesting event that the Association of Vlachs in Kumanovo "Halcha Al Brova" organises is a visit to the cultural and historical location Kalin Kamen on the Osogovo Mountains. It is associated with a legend that has been passed along generations for several centuries. Namely, at this location near the town of Kriva Palanka, at the end of the 17th century, the Vlachs from the mountain Gramos settled after their village was attacked by the Turks. In total, 86 Vlach families came here and built houses of solid construction, which is highly unusual for their mountain dwellings, they built house of solid construction. After settling, they started producing quality dairy products – feta cheese, cheese – but they also produced wool and grazed lambs, all products which were then taken to the markets in Thessaloniki, and from there some products even ended up in America. After the burning of this settlement by the Turks, the Vlachs stated moving to Kumanovo, but also in Ovche Pole and Bulgaria. Today, this event is annually marked by the Association through organised field trips to the site where traditional Vlach specialties can be tasted, their songs can be heard, their traditional dances can be played and danced, and their legends can be heard.


About the author Jovica Stankovski was born in 1949, in Kumanovo, the Republic of Macedonia. He is an archaeologist and an art historian. He devoted most of his working life to culture. He worked at the N.I. Museum – Kumanovo (NU Muzej – Kumanovo), and at one point he was also the chairman of the institution. He is the author of several expert papers, scientific articles and reports in the field of archeology. It is known to the wider public that in 2001, he discovered the archeo-astronomical site Kokino which is one of the most important sites of this type in the world. So far he has realized several scientific-research projects that he presented at conferences and lectures across Europe.


About the project

“CU TENDA” (“traveling with the tent”) proposes an insight into imaginary of cultures on the move from Southeastern Europe. Using as primary tools creativity and inter-connectivity, the project seeks to explore living memory of cultural and ethnic groups from the Balkans and South Italy, following a symbolic road through time and space. For this aim, the project seeks to: facilitate access to knowledge about these cultural groups (researching/documenting cultural history, finalized with documentary films and the creation of digital public archive and web-site, publications, large promotion and dissemination); encourage and support self-representations and creative manifestations of own identity of these groups (through theatre play, creative workshops);


encouraging communication and true interaction between these cultures and between majority and minority groups (interactive exchange, visits with multiple goals, interactive exhibitions and intercultural workshops/sessions); The core concept of the project is the challenge to envision and experience heritage, especially intangible heritage, through a multitude of perspectives, methods, disciplines (anthropology/ ethnography, museology, photography, visual arts, performance arts, craftwork, music etc.). Based on this view of interdisciplinary as an essential, complex instrument which aids understanding and true encounter with "the other" (cultural groups), the project supports mobility and circulation of knowledge and creative capital (artists, cultural professionals cooperating and performing transnationally) in order to discover and contribute to European common shared values. The project also includes an audience development strategy, focused on attracting new categories of public towards experiencing living memory of ethnic groups of SE Europe. Through this, a greater awareness on issues of cultural diversity and minorities is expected on European level.


Project partners

Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) is a civil society organization working to promote intercultural acceptance and active citizenship through capacity building processes, education and youth work. The organization’s activity focuses on many aspects which are of interest for young people: from provision of services and information, to research and support for policy-making and networking. CID is working to create diverse responsible and cooperative communities where citizens are actively contributing to the social development and integration. Our mission is to ensure sustainable community development by creating opportunities for quality engagement of civil society, advancing learning opportunities, and active involvement of young people and other citizens. Our objectives: To develop and provide quality learning opportunities within nonformal education for diverse groups of learners To offer capacity development of civil society to directly involve citizens in community decision-making through inclusive workpractices and networking opportunities To increase quality of education and learning services through encouragement of cross-sector cooperation, lifelong learning programmes and innovative education tools To facilitate youth support systems as well as participation mechanisms for young people through quality youth work and inclusive policies development 29

National Museum of the Romanian Peasant is a public institution founded in 1990, financed by the Romanian Ministry of Culture, part of European family of Museums of Arts and Traditions, whose profile is Ethnography and Cultural Anthropology. The Museum is in charge with the research of, acquisition, conservation, restoration and promotion of the cultural heritage in Romania, using contemporary perspective on tradition. Its permanent exhibition reflects a unique museography for which it was awarded with the EMYA prize in 1996. The Museum involves constant activities such as: organizing temporary exhibitions, some focusing on the issue of diversity of cultural groups in Romania; publishing exhibition and collection catalogs, visual researches and an annual magazine of anthropology; editing series of multi-media material; developing creativity programs for children. The museum actively participates to the cultural life of the city and of various communities throughout the country, engaging them in interactive projects.

Plovdiv University "Paisii Hilendarski" is one of the leading highereducation institutions in the Republic of Bulgaria. It is the second biggest university in Bulgaria, initially founded in 1961, declared a University in 1972. The University has received official state accreditation (2013), which allows it to confer each form of educational degree i.e. specialist, bachelor, master and doctor. Its departments include natural, humanitarian, social, engineering and economic sciences. Teaching and 30

research activities are carried out by over 700 highly qualified full-time lecturers. The University actively maintains international contacts with almost all European countries, the United States as well as countries in Asia and Africa. It takes part individually or jointly with other European universities in EU, US and Switzerland programs, which fund scientific research. The academic community continues to develop strong research synergies with higher education institutions in Europe, Russia and the Middle East.

ORS - Osservatorio Ricerca Sociale - Centro studi, politiche e ricerche sociali The association, activating since 2011, and established legally in 2013 is an active cultural operator in Tricase area, Italy. Its main continuously developed project, LIQUILAB, deals with anthropological research, art and tourism. The organization's main mission is the recovery and development of Traditional, Modern and Inter-cultural Memory of the common people, through the union between anthropology, art and tourism. The association undertakes projects of research and promotion of tangible and intangible heritage. Topics of work are: community of farmers, fishing communities, traditional crafts etc. The organization has experience in regional and European projects concerning anthropological research, workshops on traditional crafts, intergenerational exchange, theater projects, popular music and so on. At the moment, the organization is developing a project of archiving traditional, modern and intercultural memory, that will soon be available online.


CIP - Каталогизација во публикација Национална и универзитетска библиотека "Св. Климент Охридски", Скопје 94(=135)(036) 316.722(=135:497.7)(036) 39(=135:497.7)(036) STANKOVSKI, Jovica Vlachs (Aromanians) in Macedonia / [author Jovica Stankovski; translation from Macedonian to English Mila Josifovska]. – Kumanovo Center for intercultural dialogue, 2019. - 31 стр. : фотографии; 21 см Превод на делото: Власите (Ароманите) во Македонија / Јовица Станковски. - About the author: стр. 26 ISBN 978-608-65413-4-7 а) Власи - Историја - Водичи б) Власи - Етнологија и фолклор - Македонија - Водичи в) Власи - Културен идентитет - Македонија – Водичи COBISS.MK-ID 110676746


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