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definition - Tetovo

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Location in Northwestern Macedonia.
Tetovo is located in Republic of Macedonia
Location within Republic of Macedonia
Coordinates: 42°00′N 20°58′E / 42°N 20.967°E / 42; 20.967Coordinates: 42°00′N 20°58′E / 42°N 20.967°E / 42; 20.967
Country  Macedonia
Municipality Tetovo municipality
 • Total 1,068 km2 (412 sq mi)
Elevation 468 m (1,535 ft)
Population (2002)[1]
 • Total 52,915
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 1200
Area code(s) +389 044
Car plates TE
Website tetovo.gov.mk
[1] .

Tetovo (Macedonian: Тетово, [ˈtɛtɔvɔ] ( listen); Albanian: Tetova, Tetovë; Turkish: Kalkandelen) is a city in the northwestern part of Macedonia, built on the foothills of Šar Mountain and divided by the Pena River.

The city covers an area of 1,080 km2 (417 sq mi) at 468 metres (1,535 ft) above sea level, with a population of 86,580 citizens in the municipality.[1] Tetovo is home to the State University of Tetovo and South East European University. The city of Tetovo is the seat of Tetovo Municipality.

The home of several ethnic Albanian political parties and a population in which Albanians form a relative majority, Tetovo has become the unofficial capital of a predominantly Albanian region which extends in an arc from Tetovo to Debar.[2][3] It is also home to the National Democratic Party, an Albanian nationalist political entity.[2]



Tetovo (Хтѣтово) is related to the Slavic "hteti" meaning: wanting, wanted[citation needed]. The initial /h/ was regularly lost in Macedonian. The Albanian variant is a direct adaptation of the original Slavic name (see -ovo/-evo).

The name of the city in Turkish is Kalkandelen (meaning: frozen hill).


  Stone Age

According to the latest data gathered through archeological excavations of Neolithic sites Tumba near v. Dolno Palčište (1987/88.) and Pod selo tumba near v. Stenče (2000.), the far oldest tracks of live in the Polog valley (Tetovo and Gostivar region) are dating 8000 years back, or more specific since the year 6100 BC. From those sites came down large number of excavated fragments, several fully preserved items of pottery, and also sacrificial cult plastic and statuettes dedicated to the female cult. In Tetovo area many significant illustrations have been found of Rock Art as artistic composition related with cult rituals.

This region throughout whole Neolith has been inhabited with the carriers of Anzabegovo-Vršnik cultural group, which also existed in the Skopje region and Eastern Macedonia. In the Early Neolith, however, this region was also under strong influence of the Neolithic culture of Velušina-Porodin in the Pelagonia region south from here, seen by the form of the oldest intact sacrificial cult plastic of the Magna Mater type, reviled on these areas, and excavated near v. Stenče. The Late Neolith is characterized with an influence by the Vinča culture from the north.[4]

  Iron Age

Toward the end of the 4th Century BC, the first breaches began of the new settlers, steppe peoples from the central Asia- the Indo-Europeans, who by destruction and assimilation of the old Neolithic culture created new Eneolithic cultural complex on the Balkans, named Salkutsa-Bubanj-Krivodol. Trails of this new population has been found in Polog also (in v. Palčište, Želino etc.). This situation was stabilized in the Middle Bronze Age when first embryos appear of the Balkan proto-ethnic, and latter pre-ethnic communities. In this period also began strong incursion of material signs from south by the flourishing Mycenae culture, which is visible on one parade luxuries bronze sward found in Tetovo, and imported exactly from those Mycenae centers.

Although the following ages had been a symbol of mass migrations, however, the Iron Age is characterized with stabilization, which brought to flourished trade. Also, large ceramic pottery (pytos) for storing cereals, reviled near the v. Larce dates from this period.[4]

In this period, according Strabo inscriptions related to Damastion coins mint, and particularly based on preserved Onomastical trails from latter, it is visible that Polog valley was inhabited by Bryges (lat. Brigoi). The Bryges were composed part of the latter ethnic community of the Paionians (lat. Paiones), the Ancient-Macedonians, Dasaretians (lat. Dassaretes), Edonians (lat. Edones) and Mygdonians (lat. Mygdones). Even the Paionians, although had been an old bronze-aged population on this part of the Balkans, had indisputable connections with the Bryges. The Paionian and Ancient-Macedonian linguistics and onomastics, show large number words and names with Bryges routs, that points to the fact that the Bryges were substratum or base of the Paionian and Ancient-Macedonian ethnical formation.[4]

  Early Antiquity

  Tetovo's old market square, known as Gorna Čaršija

The influence of the Greek handcraft centers exerted this part of the Balkans, in fact, led to additional change of the culture and the way of living of the local population. Exactly those changes introduced the new, Archaic period and the transition from the age of Prehistory to the age of the History and Antiquity. On archaeological plan these transformations are visible through the new materials (new types of pottery, jewelry and other handcraft products), spiritual (new way of burial: cremation instead of inhumation, accepting the cults of the Greek gods) and other characteristics, which at the beginning were accepted as prestige by the most elite social circles, and afterwards by the rest of the people, that best can be seen from so called ‘Princely Crypts’ of which most famous is the one from Tetovo where the well known statuette of the Maenad was found. The statuette is depicted on the obverse of the Macedonian 5000 denars banknote, issued in 1996,[5] and on Tetovo's coat of arms.

In the past there were different theories about the issue- which of the ancient tribes had inhabited this area. However, thanks to the last data, the entire area of Southern Serbia, Eastern Kosovo and Northern Macedonia including Polog valley, in that period until 3rd century BC, had been inhabited by the far-northern Ancient-Macedonian (Paionian) tribe- the Agrianians (lat. Agrianes). This can by seen by the continuity in the archeological horizons, the developed pottery import from the Greek south, reach ‘Princely Crypts’ etc. This tribe had its own kings of which the most famous was Langarus who helped the Macedonian king Alexander III in 335. BC, with his campaign against the Tribales (lat. Tribaloi) to the North. Agrianians followed him also due his campaign through Asia when they presented themselves as one of the most notorious fighters in many key battles, becoming famous particularly in the antique world.[4]

Because of the economic and trade growth, also certain cities minted their own autonomous coins. That was the case with the city of Pelagia which throughout entire 4th century BC minted their own silver coins in the mint of Damastion. The city of Pelagia most probably had been situated near present Tetovo, аnd in fact, in urban sense it is its ancient ancestor, by which name derivates the present Slavic name of the valley- Polog (Pelagia-Polog, as in the cases of Scupi-Skopje, Astibo-Štip, Thesalonika-Solun etc.)

Toward the end of 4th century BC, the weakened Agrianian state fell into authority of the king Audoleon of Paionia, and from mid 3rd century BC all their territories were occupied by Dardanians from the north (tо south including Northern Macedonia and Polog), which is also noticeable through discontinuity in the archeological horizons of this period. These near-border areas throughout entire next period had been used as logistical background, and from there the Dardania organized vast plunder incursions to south on the reach Macedonian kingdom, even long after those territories had fallen into the Roman Empire in 168. BC.[4]

  Roman Period

  Šarena Džamija, built in the early 15th century

At last in 29. BC even Polog, along with other parts of Dardania, and on the north to the Danube River, had fallen into Roman authority, after which the era of stabilization, calm live, trade and progress began. There are few grave stone monuments (stela), dated 2nd-3rd century BC, on which, the epitaph is written in Greek script showing that the region had been a part of the Greek language sphere, and Kosovo and Skopje region which were part of the Latin language sphere. This means that in the Early-Empery Roman period (1st-3rd century AD) Polog had been a part of the Roman province Macedonia and in the Late Antiquity (3rd-4th century AD), after the king Diocletian reforms, part of Macedonia Secunda province. The revealed grave monuments consist also a reach onomastical material and personal names, definitely autochthonic and showing that the Romanization in these peripheral areas, outside of the reach main roads, did not take great rise.

Taught by the large barbaric incursions (Celts, Ostrogoths, Huns) which had happened more frequently from the 3rd century AD and continued in the following centuries, in the late 4th century AD, the Roman emperors started to build strong in-wall cities and fortresses on dominant hills. From this period are dating the numerous castrums, castles and refugee settlements for the population of Tetovo area of which most significant were those near present villages of Rogle, Orašje, Lešok, Jegunovce, Otunje, Gradec and the Isar-Banjiče site near Tetovo.[4] Although the Christianization in Macedonia came along with the St. Apostle Paul in the 50’s of the 1st century AD, even after the king Constantine declared this religion legal in 313, got through the common people more massively, and also the building of Early Christian churches- basilicas started. Until today in Polog trails of 16 such Early Christian basilicas have been revealed, of which 12 in Tetovo area and 4 in Gostivar area, and best has been investigated the one in Stenče dating from the 5th century AD, which is unique in Macedonia with 3 baptisteries, and the one in Tudence dating from the second half of 6th century AD, and being the only one the oldest three-conhal church in R. Macedonia and is rare even in whole southern Europe.

Yet after the strong Avaric-Slavic incursions in the late 6th century AD, all the fortresses were abandoned but not entirely demolished. Large part of them, two-three centuries afterwards, when again stabile state organization was introduced, had been restored for the same purpose, but this time they had been inhabited by the dominant Slavic population laid foundations of the new medieval towns.[4]

  Ottoman Period

  Tetovo 1913
  Tetovo's Old Mosque, demolished during Communism

At the end of the 14th century, Tetovo, with the rest of Macedonia, fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. According to the official Ottoman statistics of Nahiya Tetovo, in 1452 there were 146 Christian households and 60 Muslim, 1453 the population consists of 153 Christian and 56 Muslim families,[6] and in 1468 - 180 Christian and 41 Muslim families,[7] in 1545 there were 99 Christian and 101 Muslim families (38 were islamicised), in 1568 there were 108 Christian and 329 Muslim (184 islamicised).[6]

During Ottoman Turkish rule, Tetovo was also referred to as the “episcopal religious place Tetovo”, an Orthodox religious center; the seat of the Orthodox Church and domicile of the Orthodox religious leader. As the Muslim population in Macedonia began to expand in the early Ottoman period mosques, baths, and markets began to appear as early as the 15th century. The Colored or Painted Mosque (Aladzha or Sharena Dzamija), also known as the Pasha Mosque, was built in 1459 by the Ottoman Turks. Tetovo under Ottoman tutelage became an important trade center for the local farmers and craftsmen, as well as an important military fortification. Turkish influence deeply impacted Tetovo and it was renamed Kalkandelen to reinforce the new Islamic presence. Haci Halife in the 17th century noted in his writings that Kalkandelen was expanding at an amazing rate in its lowland areas. By the 19th century, when the population of Kalkandelen began to increase with settlement from the surrounding villages, the French traveler Ami Boue noted that the population had reached about 4,500 people, which are Bulgarians, Albanians and Serbs.[8][2][3] The total population of the Pashalik of Kalkandelen (Tetovo) is 30,000-40,000 and is consisted of Bulgarians and Serbs who are Orthodox and of Albanian Muslims.[9][4]

According the statistics of the Bulgarian ethnographer Vasil Kanchov in 1900 the population of Tetovo consists of 8,500 Bulgarians, 9,000 Turks, 500 Arnauts and 1,200 Roma.[10] According to the statistics of the secretary of the Bulgarian Exarchate Dimitar Mishev in 1905 the population of the town consists of 7,408 Bulgarians and 30 Roma.[11]

  During WWI and WWII

During the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, Tetovo become under Albanian control by influence of the Albanian Beys and Pashas of the former Ottoman Empire. From a period between 1913 to 1915, the Serbian army captured Tetovo with ease. During World War I, a rift occurred between Bulgaria and Serbia. The Bulgrian army started making way through the area and annexed Tetovo and the rest of Macedonia. At the end of the war, however Serbia gained monumentum, proclaiming the area as "South Serbia". When the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was formed, Tetovo was under the Vardar Banovina province and the term Macedonia was banned for public use.

In 1941, Vardar Banovina ceased to exists due to the arrival of the Axis powers. Tetovo was once again under Albanian rule. The Balli Kombetar ruled Tetovo with military and financial aid from the Axis powers. However, The Balli Kombetar didn't last for long due to the rise of the Yugoslav partisans. In 1945, The Yugoslav partisans liberated Tetovo along with other areas from the Balli Kombetar to form the Socialist Republic of Macedonia

  Under Communism

Tetovo under Tito's Yugoslavia went through major changes. Many Communist styled apartments were built around the city centre of Tetovo as well as concrete roads. New suburbs such as the Hajdućka suburb were formed to help accommodate the rising number of Macedonians moving to the city.[12] Some of the city's historic buildings, such as the Old Mosque, were demolished to accommodate the increase in population.

  Break up of Yugoslavia

During the breakup of Yugoslavia, Tetovo, along with the city of Gostivar, took in and sheltered several thousands of Bosnian Muslim refugees from 1992 until the end of the Bosnian war.[13] Over 100,000 Kosovar refugees from the Kosovo war were also given shelter within the districts of Tetovo and Gostivar.[13] In 2001, a civil war had erupted in Macedonia with Tetovo being the main backdrop of the war. Fortunately, the Ohrid Agreement was established, allowing peace to return to the city again.


  Present-day Tetovo
  Present-day Tetovo

In economic terms Tetovo is one of the most developing cities in Macedonia with some multinational companies (Ecolog International, Renova, Zikoprom) being located in this town. Despite the interest of private companies in Tetovo, the city is neglected by the government. Tetovo suffers from urban sprawl. Due to the lack of government regulations and no system for building permits, many houses and buildings have been built in unsafe ways and are built in random parts of the city i.e. on the footpaths, roads and parks.

Tetovo is one of the educational centres in Macedonia hosting two universities South East European University (Public Private Non-profitable) and State University of Tetovo (Public University). The prior one has educational leadership in the region, whereat the Bologna Process is applicable since its establishment, has the best campus in the region of South East Europe and is trend with international developments in education. More than 20,000 students get their education and degrees in this town.

In addition, Tetovo is a centre of politics. Most Albanian political parties (Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) have their main seats in this city.

Tetovo has one of the highest crime rates in the Republic of Macedonia, second only to the much larger capital Skopje. The city was home to 1,229 criminal acts in the first half of 2009.[14]


The most popular sport in Tetovo is Football. Tetovo is represented by three clubs all of which play in the Macedonian First League. FK Škendija, supported by the majority of the Albanians living in Tetovo, FK Teteks, supported by the Macedonians living in Tetovo and FK Renova, mainly supported by Albanians but has significant Macedonian support. FK Ljuboten (Macedonian: ФК Љуботен) founded in 1919, is the oldest football club in Macedonia. The club currently plays in the Macedonian Third League. Wrestling, karate and volleyball are also fairly popular sports in Tetovo. Few volleyball teams are active in the volleyball league of Macedonia: Škendija, Bami Kor Medika, etc.)

  Main sights

  • Šarena Džamija ("The Painted Mosque"). It is located near the Pena river in the old part of town. The mosque was built in 1438 and rebuilt in 1833 by Abdurrahman Pasha, the son of Rexhep Pasha.
      The Painted Mosque.
  • Lešok Monastery. The Monastery of Lešok with the churches of St. Athanasius and of the Church of the Holy Virgin are only 8 kilometres (5 mi) away from Tetovo, by the road leading to the village of Brezno. The Church of the Holy Virgin, built in 1326, is an excellent example of Byzantine style and architectural tradition. The church has three layers of frescoes. The 1st and bottom layer is from the first time of construction, the second and middle one was added sometime in the 17th century, and the third and top layer was added in 1879. Several marble columns from the original church can still be seen in the Tetovo museum. The church of St. Athanasius was built in 1924 next to the church of the Holy Mother of God. In the yard of the Monastery of Lešok is the tomb of the cleric, writer and enlightener Kiril Peichinovich, who was born in 1770. In his honor, this monastery hosts an International Meeting of Literary Translators. Tetovo is also a host to the Festival of the Macedonian Choirs.
  • Tetovo Hamam, built around the same time as the Šarena Džamija and was mainly used for Wudu (avdes, abdest).
  Pena River in Tetovo
  • Tetovo Kale Fortress (Baltepes Fortress), located on the top of the Baltepes hill, above Tetovo. It was built in 1820 from Abdurahman Pasha.
  • Arabati Baba Tekke, built by Sersem Ali Dede from 1538–1548
  • Tetovo's Stone Bridge, one of three stone bridges in the city. It crosses the Pena river

Most of the old heritage buildings are situated in the old town, near the centre of Tetovo. Tetovo has many old buildings and monuments however, they are endangered of being demolished by people building unpermitted buildings


The first census after the creation of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1953 recorded the population of Tetovo at 20,594 individuals, of whom a plurality of 7,916 (38.4%) were Macedonian, 7,174 or 34.8% were Albanian, 4,472 or 21.7% were Turkish and 503 or 2.4% were Serbs.[15]

As of 2002, the city of Tetovo has 52,915 inhabitants and the ethnic composition was the following:[16]


The Albanian community of Tetovo practices Islam, and part of it is of Bektashi faith. Tetovo's Arabati Baba Tekke has historically been both a center of pilgrimage and of Albanian nationalism.[17] The Turkish population is also predominantly Muslim. Macedonians, however, are mostly Orthodox Christians.


  Popova Šapka Ski Resort

Popova Šapka is a ski resort located in the Šar Mountains. Despite being around seven kilometers from the city, it is generally associated with Tetovo. Popova Šapka attracts many tourists in winter due it being one of the popular ski resorts in the former Yugoslavia. Aside from hosting recreational and competitive skiing competitions, Popova Šapka has many villas and restaurants to accommodate visitors. The rise in hotels was because the cable car that took people from Tetovo to Popova Šapka was destroyed during the 2001 Macedonia conflict. Therefore, people stay at Popova Šapka overnight before returning to Tetovo.

  Notable people from Tetovo

  International relations

  Twin towns — Sister cities

Tetovo is twinned with:

  See also


  1. ^ a b 2002 Census results
  2. ^ a b Cook, Bernard A. (2001). Europe since 1945: an encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. pp. 814–. ISBN 978-0-8153-4058-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=hafLHZgZtt4C&pg=PA814. 
  3. ^ Trankova, Dimana (2011). "Tito, Teto and Some Troubled Tourism Await You in Tetovo, Macedonia". Balkan Traveller. http://www.balkantravellers.com/en/read/article/211. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g From the newest book on Tetovo history: Darko Gavrovski “ТЕТОVO ANTIQUITIES - Polog valley from Prehistory to 7th century AD, with special emphasis on the Tetovo region”, Tetovo, 2009 (Дарко Гавровски, "Тетовски древности. Полог од Праисторијата до 7.век н.е., со посебен осврт на тетовскиот крај", Тетово, 2009). More details on: www.gavro.com.mk . The data here are edited by the author Darko Gavrovski.
  5. ^ National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonian currency. Banknotes in circulation: 5000 Denars. – Retrieved on 30 March 2009.
  6. ^ a b http://wallaby.vu.edu.au/adt-VVUT/uploads/approved/adt-VVUT20060426.160820/public/02ch1.pdf
  7. ^ Составот на населението во Тетовската нахија во XV век
  8. ^ La Turquie d'Europe; observations sur la geographie, la géologie, l'histoire naturelle, etc. (Paris, 1840), p. 306-307.
  9. ^ Ami Boue
  10. ^ Vasil Kanchov. „Macedonia — ethnography and statistics“, Sofia, 1900
  11. ^ D.M.Brancoff. "La Macédoine et sa Population Chrétienne". Paris, 1905, pages 122-123
  12. ^ http://www.balwois.com/balwois/administration/full_paper/ffp-1952.pdf
  13. ^ a b John Sparrow. "International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies". http://www.ifrc.org/en/news-and-media/news-stories/europe-central-asia/macedonia-the-former-yugoslav-republic-of/fyr-macedonia-at-the-crossroads/. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  14. ^ Macedonian International News Agency
  15. ^ 1953 census
  16. ^ Macedonian census, language and religion
  17. ^ Coughlin, Kathryn M. (2006). Muslim cultures today: a reference guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-313-32386-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=UlaBw3MUGBEC&pg=PA18. 
  18. ^ Тетово се збратимува со турскиот град Коња -Утрински весник

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