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|20,000 - 50,000|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Radika region, Mavrovo, Rostuša|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Mijaks (Macedonian: Мијаци, Mijaci) are a sub-group of ethnic Macedonians who primarily live in the Mijačija area, comprising of the Reka and Mala Reka regions, along the Radika river. They are most notable for their unique style of building and the extent to which old traditions and customs are kept alive by Mijaks.
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The Mijaks are named after a group of Slavic people who arrived in Macedonia during the 5th and 6th century. Eventually their nomadic lifestyle transformed into an agriculturally based one. After their conversion to Christianity in the 7th they established permanent settlements along the river Radika. These settlements developed into todays villages and towns of the regions. Their area of settlement roughly corresponds with the Reka and Mala Reka regions of today.
During the Kruševo Illinden uprising, only one Mijak was involved, Veljo Pecan.
The Mijaks have traditionally occupied the Reka region along with the Torbeš, another sub-group of Macedonians. The area including the Bistra mountain and Radika region has been termed "Mijačija" (Macedonian: Мијачија).
The most well known Mijak villages are Galičnik and Lazaropole. Other major Mijak villages are Selce, Tresonče, Rosoki, Sušica, Gari and Osoj. However the majoriy of these villages are uninhabitated as the majority of the inhabitants left during the 20th century. Large Mijak concentrations can still be found in certain villages around Debar and Bitola. The villages Oreše, Paparadište and Melnica in the Veles region were populated by Mijaci during the Turkish occupation of Macedonia. The village of Smilevo, in the Bitola region, is also considered to be a Mijak village, in regards to its architecture and history. The north-western quarter of Kruševo was populated by Mijaks.
The Mijaks are well know for the extent to which old customs are preserved in their every day life. However the act of "Pečalba" or seasonal work, was a deeply entrenched tradition of the Mijaks. Males in their 20s would often leave the village for months, or even years, at a time in order to work in more prosperous regions and creat wealth for the family. It can be attributed to this that most of the Mijak villages are deserted or sparsely populated.
Mijaks had mastered the craft of woodcarving, and for many years a wood carving school operated in the Mala Reka region. They were responsible for the intricate wood carving which is found inside the Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery, which is considered to the be best in Republic of Macedonia.
Mijak architecture has become a defining factor in the culture of the Mijaks. The Mijaks were skilled masons and it suggested that they helped the Aromanians construct Kruševo in the 18th century. Apart from some masons from the Kriva Palanka region, they were the most proficient in all of Macedonia. The Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery is built in the Mijak style.
The Mijaks traditionally speak the Galičnik dialect and Reka dialect. It has however been suggested that they were originally Aromanian speakers who assimilated into Slav Macedonian society. Typical characteristics of the "Mijački govor" (Macedonian: Мијачки говор), Mijak Speech, include:
|Mijak speech||Standard Macedonian||English||Notes|
|žamija||džamija||mosque||reduced use of the phenome "dž" to only "ž"|
|roka||raka||hand||the Big Yus is prounounced as a "o" and not an "a" as in Standard Macedonian|
|tužda/tuža||tugja||foreign||use of the phenome "ž" or "žd" in place of the standard Macedonian "gj"|
|trebuvad/trebit||treba||need||use of the suffix "-t" or "-d" for third person singular|
|stavajed||stavaat||they place||use of the suffix "-ajed" for third person singular|
|glagolj||zbor||word||derived from Old Slavonic; "Glagolithic"|
- ^ Linda, Welters (1999). Folk dress in Europe and Anatolia: beliefs about protection and fertility. Berg Publishers. pp. 100. ISBN 1859732879.
- ^ Who are the Macedonian Muslims?
- ^ THE MULTICULTURAL AND ETHNIC CHARACTERISTICS OF FOUR VILLAGES IN THE VELES REGION - REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA, Aneta SVETIEVA
- ^ 100 Years Ilinden Uprising - Smilevo, Monument of Culture
- ^ Brown, Keith (2003). The past in question: modern Macedonia and the uncertainties of nation. Princeton University Press. pp. 85. ISBN 0691099952.
- ^ Brown, Keith (2003). The past in question: modern Macedonia and the uncertainties of nation. Princeton University Press. pp. 262. ISBN 0691099952.