Kruševo is a small town in Western Macedonia. Historic Kruševo was one the center of the Macedonian Ilinden-Uprising. Today the main celebrations of the National holiday on the 2nd of August are held here. Kruševo is the centre 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 good place to admire and learn about traditional architecture. Unfortunately, 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 a lot 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, but the Mijaks and the Vlachs who had large herds of sheep and were used to living in the mountains, didn’t have anything to do in Bitola, so they were allowed to found their own city. It was a good combination, as the Vlachs were rich and the Mijaks were 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 the Macedonians against the Turks. On the freed territory Kruševo Republic was established which lasted for 10 days and Nikola Karev was proclaimed president. He wrote the Kruševo Manifesto which called all peoples that live in Macedonia to join them in the struggle for freedom.
What to See
- Kruševo architecture – As the city was started from scratch, the Vlachs were willing to invest and the Mijaks were excellent builders, in Kruševo a very interesting architecture has developed. The houses are freestanding, mostly symmetrical, without open spaces typical for other towns in Macedonia. The back of the houses are built of stone, while the front of socalled “bondruk” construction of wooden columns and beams covered with white plaster. There is almost always a well in the ground floor. On the main facade usually there are painted decorations in blue colour. Blue is also usually used for the window frames and other details of the facades. On the upper floor there usually is a small balcony with a triangular pediment above it to put accent on 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 it is situated in the old bazaar. The iconscreen of the earlier church, that suffered in the fire, was made by the famous woodcarver Petre Filipovski-Garkata whose other work include the iconscreen of the church of Sv.Spas (St.Saviour) in Skopje and the iconscreen of St.Jovan Bigorski Monastery.
- St. Jovan Church – was built in 1897. The iconscreen was made by Nestor and Lazar Aleksievski. Inside also notice the 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 to the town he donated 62 paintings which are now exhibited in his birth house. The house itself is excellent example of Kruševo architecture and it is worth exploring. Also 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 – is set up in an old house in which the Kruševo Republic was proclaimed. Through photographs, documents, maps and weapons the period prior, during and after the Ilinden uprising is explained.
- Meckin Kamen(Bear's Stone) - This was 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 16th of October 2007. Toše's hometown was Kruševo . When you come to see Kruševo visit Toše's grave and pay your respects.