Kruševo is a small town in western Macedonia. Historic Kruševo was once the center of the Macedonian Ilinden-Uprising. Today the main celebration of this National holiday, on August 2nd, is held here. Kruševo is the center of the Vlach minority in Macedonia.
Hidden up in the mountains between the woods, Kruševo has managed to preserve a genuine appeal. The town has the same layout as a century ago and around 80 traditional houses are preserved, so it is a fantastic place to admire and learn about traditional architecture. Unfortunately, it being so small and isolated, the town has had problems coping with the transition. The town is a winter skiing center with paths good for beginners.
Kruševo is famous for being one of the first Balkan republics and the highest town in Macedonia. It developed into a large prosperous town in the 18th century. It was inhabited by Macedonian Vlachs(Macedo-Vlahs) and Macedonians from the Reka region in western Macedonia called Mijaks. Both suffered immensely from Ali Pasha Janinski, an Albanian aristocrat, and his army - so they gathered in Bitola asking for help from the Turkish administration. The governor offered to let them stay in Bitola and the Vlachs who were traders and goldsmiths accepted,. The Mijaks and Vlachs who lived in the mountains with large herds of sheep, however, didn’t have anything to do in Bitola, and thus were allowed to found their own city. It was a good combination, as the Vlachs were rich and the Mijaks the best builders in the Balkans, and both groups had a very sophisticated sense of aesthetics, so they created the wonderful Kruševo we have today. On 2nd of August 1903 the Ilinden Uprising started in Kruševo, the biggest rebellion of Macedonians against the Turks. On freed territory the Kruševo Republic was established, which lasted for 10 days, and Nikola Karev was proclaimed president. He wrote the Kruševo Manifesto which called all who lived in Macedonia to join in the struggle for freedom.
What to See
- Kruševo Architecture – Krusevo has a very interesting architecture because as it originally began, the Vlachs invested large amounts of money into the Mijak’s who were excellent builders.. The houses are freestanding, mostly symmetrical, without open spaces typical for other homes in Macedonia. The back of the houses are built of stone, while the front of the so-called “bondruk” are a construction of wooden columns and beams covered with white plaster. There is almost always a well in the ground floor. On the main facade there usually are blue painted decorations. Blue is also usually used for the window frames and other details of the facades. On the upper floor there is usually a small balcony with a triangular pediment above it to accent the symmetry of the house.
- St. Nikola Church – Built in 1905 on the site of an earlier church that was burned after the Ilinden uprising. St. Nikola church is the cathedral in the town and is situated in the old bazaar. The icon screen of the earlier church that suffered in the fire was made by the famous woodcarver Petre Filipovski-Garkata, whose other work include the icon screen of the church of Sv.Spas (St.Saviour) in Skopje and the icon screen of St.Jovan Bigorski Monastery.
- St. Jovan Church – Built in 1897. The icon screen was made by Nestor and Lazar Aleksievski. Inside also are two large stoves typical for Kruševo houses.
- Nikola Martinovski gallery – Nikola Martinovski (1903-1973) one of the most important Macedonian contemporary painters was born in Kruševo and,he donated 62 paintings to the town which are now exhibited in his birth home. The house itself is also an excellent example of Kruševo architecture and is worth exploring. Furthermore, a small ethnological museum has been set up inside the house. Visiting the gallery gives you a chance to admire not just Martinovski works, but also the beauty of Kruševo houses.
- Museum of Ilinden Uprising – This museum iset up in an old house in which the Kruševo Republic was proclaimed. Through photographs, documents, maps and weapons of the period prior, during and after, the Ilinden uprising is brought to life.
- Meckin Kamen(Bear's Stone) - This is the place where the band of Pitu Guli was trying to defend the town of Kruševo from the Turkish troops coming from Bitola.
- Toše Proeski's grave site – Toše Proeski was a very famous Macedonian singer who died in a fatal car crash in Croatia, on the 16th of October 2007. Toše's hometown was Kruševo. When you come to see Kruševo, visit Toše's grave and pay your respects.