History of the city of Kavadarci
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In the Tikvesh region near Kavadarci, many artefacts and structures have been discovered dating back to prehistoric times. Bronze and ceramic artefacts were discovered at an archaeological site in the nearby town of Stobi dating back to the 6th and 7th century BC.
This town is said to have been established during the Hellenic period, being situated on the main road of Via Egnatia that led from the Danube to the Aegean Sea meant it became an important military, economic and cultural hub at the time.
The establishment of a mint during the Roman period aided in its prosperity and achieving the status of municipium, denars and coins reading “Municipium Stobensium” were also produced in this area. Numerous buildings and monuments of this era such as a theatre have been discovered at this site.
A Jewish community is said to have existed in Stobi during the 3rd century, however its Synagogue was torn down in the 4th century and a Christian Basilica was built in its place.
In the late 5th and early 6th century, the town was devastated in the great Avaro-Slavonic invasions. Stobi which was previously the centre of this region was replaced by the new village of Dukena.
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The Ottoman Empire
Much change took place during the occupation of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century, the occupying Turks destroyed all existing villages replacing them with oriental architecture. Villagers from Rashtani and Dukena fleeing from the Turks settled in a new area, bringing with them many families that still exist in Kavadarci today. From this settlement a new village emerged, during the 17th century this growing village attracted much attention and spurred a large migration of people from the surrounding hills and villages, thus establishing the new town called Kavadarci.
Records show at the close of the 19th century 1,330 homes existed in Kavadarci: 620 of these were Slav, 709 Turkish and one was Jewish. During this time Kavadarci was under the jurisdiction of Bitola’s area Pashaluk (Ottoman military territorial unit controlled by a Pasha). With the Turkish majority, many beys residences and several mosques were built throughout the town. By this time Kavadarci had also been firmly established as the new centre of the Tikvesh region.
After the forming of the TMORO committee by Dame Gruev in 1894 and the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising many revolutionary troops operated in the Tikvesh area, working with the aim of liberating Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire.
The 20th century
After the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire many Muslim inhabitants began emigrating from this area. Most of the Turkish and Muslim population left Kavadarci completely between 1935 and 1936. It is during this period that Kavadarci flourished, becoming a large economic, administrative and political centre in the Tikvesh area. However this rapid development declined during the period of Bulgarian occupation when the region of Macedonia was divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia.
In June 1913, the Tikvesh Uprising took place against the Serbian occupational forces. The resistance fighters freed the majority of the Tikvesh region, including the towns of Kavadarci, Negotino, Vatasha and several small villages. Serbian military forces killed approximately 1,200 people and burnt more than 1,000 homes. Most of Turks fleed to Turkey. Recep Vardarlı moved to Turkey and founded Tikveşli ("Came from Tikveş" for Turkish) company, which produces yogurt and ayran, in 1943. The firm was sold to Danone in 1998.
During the Second World War, the town fell under German and Bulgarian occupation for a total of 4 years, suffering great losses with over 300 people being killed until the withdrawal of the Bulgarian forces. In the village of Vatasha, a monument was erected to twelve communist guerrillas who were executed by Bulgarian forces on the 16th June 1943 during the Second World War.