Like every place in Macedonia, Vevcani is rich in historical data and legends that to this day are told by the older inhabitants of this village. Traces from the settlement exist from the third century BC. Its first location was not Vevcani, it was located just below the foothills of Mount Jablanica, in the place today called Selishte. It is possible that a merger of an ancient Macedonian settlement was placed in the area of Vyatos near Vevchani with Seliste. East of Vevcani there is a place called Ramov Grob which got its name because of a certain Albanian, Ramo from Veleshta, who illegally took from the Vevcani water and placed it in his village which was why he was killed by the villagers. We remember the priest Pop Naum, also known as the Little Oda who opposed a wealthy inhabitant named Grozdan-Pasha from the village of Gorna Belica who wanted to capture the Vevcani pastures of Jablanica, because of which the priest went to seek justice even to Constantinople.
During the national liberation and revolutionary struggle against Ottoman slavery, from Vevchani there were two voivodes of the VMORO’s team: Jakim Alulov and Stavre Gogov, who from the summer of 1904, after the murder of Jakim Alulov, became a voivode of the VMORO . In April 1907, Stavre stayed in the house of uncle Trpe Shekutkov in the native village of Vevcani, for which the Turks find out and with a regular army and bashbizzuk from the nearby villages of Oktisi, Labunishta and Podgorci surrounded the house.
Stavre Gogov, together with the hosts, spent more than 20 hours in an unequal battle, while his fiancée Kota Hristova managed to pass the siege and bring them bombs and patrons. After he ran out of bullets , Stavre Gogov committed suicide in order not to fall into the hands of the enemy. Together with him, Trpe Shekutkov and his brother Kuzman Shekutkov are killed. Daughter in law, Andritsa, and the three grandchildren of Kuzman Shekutkov were wounded, and 27 of them were killed from the attack of the Asker and the Bashibosuk. The Turks burnt the house. After the death of Stavre Gogov, his fiancée Kota Hristova killed the traitor and joined one of the VMORO’s troops. V
evcani is located at the foot of the eastern slopes of Mount Jablanica at an altitude of 800 meters above sea level. More precisely, the village is located on the border, the contact between the mountain slope of Jablanica in the west and the plane of the valley in the east. The vestibule of Vevcani is located northwest of the Ohrid Lake on the west side of the Struga Field on the east side of Jablanica. It extends in the east-west direction, from the foot, through the hilly terrain, to the ridge of the Jablanica Mountain. It is bordered by the municipality of Struga and in a narrower part touches the state border line with Albania. Vevchani is a hilly village whose houses rise at an altitude of 820 to 980 meters.
The city of Struga is located 13.5 km away from the center, and from the road Struga-Debar about four kilometers. An asphalt road leads to Vevchani, it passes through villages of Vranista and Veleshta. Vevcani is a large village similar to the town-palace, and it is quite well-urbanized, arranged and regulated. The main street passes through the middle of the settlement, along which most of shops, hotels, restaurants, shopping and craft stores, the home of culture and the open stage of the amphitheater and the Health Center are concentrated. Vevcani is the seat of the same municipality, and this is the only case in the Republic of Macedonia. Neighboring villages of Vevcani are: Podgorci to the north, Oktisi to the south, Velesta to the east and Upper Belica to the southwest. Vevcani Carnival – one of the most famous events in Macedonia. Written sources testify that the carnival is at least 1,460 years old, but there are archaeological findings that indicate that the carnival exists at least 2200 years.
Today Carnival is an interesting and unusual interweaving of pagan and Christian customs. Traditionally, the participants are trying to avoid the introduction of modern carnival elements, but in recent years, organized by the Municipality and the Ministry of Culture, a parade was introduced in this otherwise chaotic out-of-date event, which this year started on January 12th and lasted for the next three days. Kiril Dzajkovski, Foltin, Pluto’s Doubts were in charge for the Friday party. The music and the masks were all over the Vevcani. Saturday, somewhere around noon, this timeless carnival was officially opened. It was followed by folk music, plenty of dances and masks. The whole place seemed to have lived only in the spirit of the carnival. On Saturday night, men are masked in women’s clothes and knock on the doors of the locals. After completing this custom (adet), they go to nearby springs. And they stay there all night. Sunday before sunset they descend downwards and go to the center (in the middle of the village) to complete the three-day carnival with the mask burning. Each mask that is there is handmade by the locals.
Text: Ogi Ancevski
Translator: Ana Mihajlovska