into Bulgaria or in the Republic of Macedonia as part of the Yugoslav federation. All these historical disadvantages that have occurred in this part of Macedonia contributed Zrnovo to have only a tiny indigenous Macedonian population today. The descendants of the refugees from this region can be found throughout the eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, mainly in Shtip and the vicinity of Sveti Nikole, as well as across Bulgaria, mostly in Sofia, Blagoevgrad, Varna, etc… Today the official name of Zrnovo is Kato Nevrokopion. This is due to the state policy of Greece for changing all the toponyms in the territories it had occupied in 1913, regulated under the Law on renaming villages, cities and small towns, brought into force in September 1926. The purpose of this Act is clear and consisted of Greek assimilation of the newly occupied territories. This Policy of the Greek state did not omit neither Zrnovo nor its surroundings. From then on, the new name of Zrnovo was Kato Nevrokopion. He who understands Greek, will realize that “Kato” means "lower", and therefore the new name for Zrnovo means “Lower Nevrokop”. “Nevrokop", as a consequence, derives from the location of Zrnovo in regards to the city of Nevrokop, located north of it. Ironically, such a change of the name is in opposition to the objectives set forth by the Law for the renaming of toponyms. Namely, the city of Nevrokop (Goce Delcev) is located in the Pirin part of Macedonia, which is today part of the Republic of Bulgaria. Thus, precisely this renaming of Zrnovo instead of achieving Greek assimilation and erasing the past, in fact only confirmed the historic fact of the natural linking and the unity of the territory of Macedonia. Just for clarification, with the drawing
of the borders in 1913, Zrnovo remained in Greece, and Nevrokop to which city it always naturally gravitated remained in Bulgaria. Because of this the whole region around the Zrnovo valley had to orient itself towards the new administrative center in the city of Drama. In this way, the naming of Zrnovo as “Lower” in regards to the “Upper” Nevrokop which remained on the other side of the border, only confirmed the irrationality of the state policy of Greece, which hoped that with the changing of the toponyms it will be able to alter the facts and change the historical reality. Unfortunately even now, after 85 years, this same policy is applied by Greece in its foreign policy towards its northern neighbor, the Republic of Macedonia.
(Dedicated to my grandparents, Mary and Dimitar Marolovi born in Zrnovo) TRANSLATED BY
Published on Jan 1, 2013