History of the city of Delchevo
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The area of Pijanec has very rich historical past and archeological remains from Neolithic period (in the region of Gabrovo, Dramce, Dzvegor, Grad etc) and from Haldstatic period (in Bigla, Dramce and Delchevo region), which shows the existence of a roman road that led to Osogovo, along the right side of Bregalnica River to the village of Trabotivishte and through Maleshevo this region was connected to Thessalonica. Another vital roman network passed through this region: the road led to the roman city of Astibo (Shtip), through Vinica and Bigla, passing the Bregalnica River near the village of Ochipala, and then through the village of Kidelica and Crna Skala this road led to the roman city of Pautalija (Kyustendil). This road was linked to the road of Via Ignatia, connecting Drach and Thessalonica.
There are many roman ancient sites where numerous archeological remains have been found, such as regions of Dzvegor, Grad, Iliovo etc. The main settlement has been discovered in the village of Grad, as well existence of chronological continuity of living in several localities registered in this region. The most recent studies of this settlement show the existence of ancient settlement from late classical and medieval period.
There are several explanations regarding the origin of the name Pijanec (drunkard). This region was well known for plums growing, production and drinking of rakija (brandy). Additionally, there is a belief about the use of the plant pijanec, which had hallucinatory characteristics. This plant grown on the wheat fields, and the flour that was produced from this plant made people to fall asleep. The scientific explanations linked the name with the ancient Balkan tribe Peonci and with the existence of medieval city with this name, but this theory hasn’t been confirmed yet.
In the Charter of Vasilie Pijanec the Second, Pijanec is mentioned as a place which was joined to Byzantium, and which belonged to the Bishop of Morodvis. Later on, Pijanec came under Bulgarian power, and after very short period, under the power of Serbian medieval state. With the invasion of the Turks at the Balkan, Pijanec became part of Kyusetndil Region.
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Most densely populated place in Pijanec (Delchevo) in Byzantium period was place named Vasilevo, after the Byzanum Czar Vasilij. This name was mentioned for the first time in one of the Charters of Czar Dushan, from 1347-1350, as a village in Pijanec, with the curch of St. Nikola and St. Bogorodica at Bregalnica River. In 1904 there was a strong earthquake which ruined Vasilevo and the immigrants from Vasilevo has settled Gorna Maala, on the hill across the flow of Gabrovica River, where new Vasilevo and church of St.Bogorodica (today’s city church)were built.
Turks settled so-called Sredno Maalo and in that period Vasilevo was well known for cattle breeding and plums growing. Since it was a central place on the way to Struma, Sultan Mehmed IV paid a visit to Vasilevo in 1671 and he built a mosque to the Turks in Sredno Maalo or Turkish area. The visit of Mehmed IV has induced Macedonian population for faster and more intensive acceptation of Islamic religion, and the number of inhabitants rapidly increased with immigration of Islamic people. In order to show an appreciation to the Sultan for his visit and for the mosque that was built by his order, the inhabitants named this place Vasilevo (place of the sultan).
In the 18th and 19th century Carevo Selo (Czar’s Village) was rural settlement settled by Turks, Macedonians and by so called Torbeshi which presented the greatest part of the population. In the middle of the 19th century Macedonians inhabited Carevo Selo, in the region of Gorno Maalo along the valley of Struma River and since they were artisans, they have established the bazaar. Dolno Maalo was inhabited by Vlachs – cattle breeders from West Macedonia, who drove their sheep to pasture in the hillside of Golak Mountain. Great number of Turks, so called Madziri, from North Bulgaria, has settled Dolno Maalo and this part was named Madzir Maalo.
After the liberation of Bulgaria, Macedonian clans from Kyustednil, mostly merchants, artisans and farmers, have immigrated in Carevo Selo. In that period Carevo Selo had 1610 inhabitants and it started to look like small town with its market and bazaar. By the end of 19th century there were 220 Turkish and 80 Macedonian houses in Carevo Selo and the main activity of the population was agriculture. After the Balkan Wars Carevo Selo didn’t develop much due to the newly established state border with Bulgaria. According to the new territorial division, Carevo Selo has become county seat and started to develop in main economic center in Pijanec. In the period of two world wars the number of the population has increased with average rate and Carevo Selo began to grow at the right side of Bregalnica River.
After the Second World War, with the newly established social structure in our country, on 01.05.1950 Carevo Selo has changed its name for the fourth time in its history. Since then it is named after the great revolutionary and ideologist Goce Delcev.
The intensive economic growth in the country had an influence on industrial development, which push aside handicrafts and at present Delchevo is modern city with wide asphalted streets and boulevards, sewerage and water supply system and with many greenery and parks.