Kratovo | history & culture

Kratovo | history & cultureKratovo | history & culture

Early middle ages in Kratovo

During the reign of the Serbian noblemen in 1282, Kratovo had become a mining centre, thanks to the experienced Saxon, i.e. from Saxony or, presumably, from Flanders, miners who came to activate the mine. The importance of Kratovo can be judged through the visit of Sultan Murat who together with his army headed towards Kosovo, but stayed in Kratovo in order to visit the already famous town of gold and silver.

The nature surroundings, rich with ore and minerals have determined the old roman urban settlement Kratiskara as a mining town, that, during the era of the Byzantine Empire, under the name of Koriton or Koritos, represented an important trading center. The beauty of the handcrafted items made of gold, silver and copper has enabled the population of Kratovo to develop the trade with the surrounding cities, but also with the city of Dubrovnik.

Middle ages and the Ottomans in Kratovo

Also, during the time of the Turkish conquest of this region, the town attracted attention with its developed trade with handicraft products, well known and appreciated to the extent that tradesmen from Dubrovnik used to come on camels in order to buy them. Besides goldsmiths, coppersmiths were also famous, and people spoke of them as being the best in the whole Balkans. Travel-recorders have also marked the city as a place where coins are being produced.

The mining exploitation continued, until the Karposh's Rebellion in 1689, when the town was devastated and the mine closed. After the end of the Austria-Hungary war and Karpoš rebellion, the mines were closed until the beginning of the 19th century, when their restoration was recorded. However, as a result of the poor living and working conditions, population started to leave the town, so that by the end of the century there were only 1,900 Macedonians left in the city.

In 1805 the mine was rented by Ali-Beg Majdemdzija and the work continued. According to the writings of Amu Bue, the town had 56,000 inhabitants 1836. Until the end of the 19th century the town rapidly stagnated and the once most beautiful "Čarsija" with goldsmith and silversmith shops, decayed.