Montag, 30. Dezember 2013

Novo Selo (Stip) – a view from "above"


Novo Selo is located near the town of Stip, in the vivid gorge of the river Bregalnica. The exact period of its foundation is unknown, but there was a screed during the reign of sultan Murat II which declared the settlement as a military guarding one, with special rights and privileges because of its strategically important position. It contributed to the economic, cultural and political development of the village, especially in the XIX century. That is why rich and respectable families, famous traders and craftsmen from Stip lived here until the XX century.

The Stip Metropolitan lived in Novo Selo in the first decades of XVIII century, while patriarch Arsenie IV stopped by, in the yard of the Metropolitan Efrem, in 1728.

Creators of Macedonian destiny

Novo Selo played an important role during the XIX century in awakening the national awareness and the battle against the Ottoman reign. The teaching of Goce Delchev, Dame Gruev and Gjorche Petrov had great influence in igniting the revolutionary spirit. Many great revolutionaries were born here, more than anywhere else in Macedonia.

Many politicians that decided the Macedonian destiny during the period before, during, and after WWII, during Macedonia’s independence until present day, were also born here. The locals look “from above” because they live at a higher altitude, but also because they consider themselves “the elite” because many famous and important people were born there.

In the family of priest Aleksandar Pop-Orushev and Marija in Novo Selo, was born Todor Aleksandrov, teacher and one of the leaders of VMRO, who dedicated his life to the Macedonian cause since he was 18 years old.

Ivan (Vancho) Mihajlov Gavrilov – Radko, who was Aleksandrov’s secretary, and after his death, took over the organization, was also born here. Mihajlov had a new strategy in VMRO’s battles – terrorist actions and assassinations with so-called Triplets and Quintuplets. Before the end of WWII, he came to Skopje in September 1944 to found an independent country with the Germans’ support, but he was late.

One of the people also born in Novo Selo, which never had more than 3.000 inhabitants, was philosopher Todor Pavlov, supporter of the theory of reflection, regent of the Kingdom of Bulgaria from 1944 to 1946, president of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, member of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party and the Politburo and member of the Presidium of the Bulgarian Parliament. He was known for his memorable speech during the transfer of Goce Delchev’s remains from Sophia to Skopje on 7th October 1946, when he said:
“Without doubt, we can consider Goce Delchev a founder of the Macedonian liberation front, which managed to establish the free and sovereign Macedonian country that freely and independently decided to become an equal country in the Federation of Yugoslavia. With all his revolutionary activity and thought, Goce strongly contributed in the foundation and development of the Macedonian, not Bulgarian or Serbian, national awareness.

In one of his letters, Goce wrote: “I wish there was somebody to write at least one book in Macedonian”. If Goce was alive now, he would have been happy to see that, today there are many books printed in Macedonia, not just poetry or historical books, written in literary Macedonian language.

The act of the transfer of Goce Delchev’s remains in the new and free capital of the Macedonian country would be of great importance because it would go through Eastern (Pirin) Macedonia. Macedonia can, should and will be united into its natural and historical borders. United, strong, emancipated, sovereign and progressive in every sense of the word, it will become a powerful link that will bring the Balkan democratic nations together. Long live free, sovereign, People’s Republic of Macedonia, the dream of its immortal son, Goce Delchev.”

The commander of the Headquarters of the Macedonian liberation army, later an academician, Mihajlo Apostolski, was also born in Novo Selo. He was appointed general major in 1943 and was elected a member of the Presidency during AVNOJ’s second session. He was member of the Initiative board for the convening of ASNOM, and was elected in the Presidium at the First session. When the Macedonian academy of sciences and arts was formed, he was elected as its first regular member and was its president from 1976 to 1983.

The fourth Archbishop of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, Mihail (Metodi Gogov), member of ASNOM who participated in the Liberation war, was also born in Novo Selo. He was the only priest that was offered to be president of Macedonia.

According to the 1519 census, there were 21 Christian families living in Novo Selo. Jordan Mijalkov, Minister of internal affairs in the first government in independent Macedonia, was also born there. He died under mysterious circumstances in a car accident.

I see the world as…

It is presumed that Novo Selo existed even before the XIII century, which is confirmed by the oldest church in the Stip area, built in 1369 by the Duke Dimitrie. In 1971, part of the old paintings from 1369 was discovered under the 1601 paintings. You can see several figures of the prophets from the Old Testament in this church, the amazing compositions “Transfiguration” and the “Holy Inseparable Trinity” (Depiction of Jesus Christ with three heads) and several saints painted by an unknown painter during the XIV century.

You cannot fail to notice “The Holy Mother” church, monument of culture protected by law, one of the master-pieces by famous master Andrea Damjanov. You will be amazed by the 90 icons on the great iconostasis and the 132 works by Stanislav Despotoski from Samokov, painted between 1861 and 1866 in the gallery of icons. “The Ascension of the Holy Mother” is the main church in Novo Selo and it is the seat of the local parish.

Goce Delchev, the ideologist of the Macedonian national liberation movement, taught history, geography, French and geometry from 1894 to 1896 in the school that was built in 1872. Today, the school building is the head office of the “Goce Delchev” University, decorated by a relief made by Jordan Grabulovski in Delchev’s memory. He is depicted as a teacher of the people, with his famous sentence also inscribed: “I see the world only as a field for cultural competition among the nations”.

Balkan town architecture

Go through Novo Selo, one of the oldest settlements in Shtip and walk by the old houses, twenty of which have been protected as cultural legacy. You will see the houses of General Apostolski, the Stanchev and Mijalkov families, the house where Goce Delchev lived, which is one of the three protected houses, bought by cardiologist Zan Mitrev, the memorial plaque set on the place where Todor Aleksandrov’s house once was, etc. 

The houses were built by stone, wood and lime, and covered with tiles. They were built in the spirit of the Balkan town architecture from the XVIII and early XIX century, mostly ground-floor and two-tiered.

From Novo Selo, you can continue towards the geothermal springs Kezhovica and L’dji (with water temperature between 58 and 62 degrees Celsius) at the right bank of River Bregalnica. You can take a bath in the nice town spa with pools and feel younger. The water in the rehabilitation center Kezhovica, which contains many minerals, has a beneficial effect on human health and is one of the most radioactive thermo-mineral waters in the Balkan. The L’dji used to be a place where people washed their clothes and gossiped about the immoral women. But, it was also a place for those who were in love to sing and talk about the faithful love.

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