Connecting Perls – Western Balkans, Serbia, North Macedonia

CONNECTING PERLS

Kriva Palanka is a municipality in the Republic of North Macedonia, in the northeastern part of the country, at the foot of the Osogovo Mountains. Kriva Palanka is the seat of the Kriva Palanka municipality of the same name. 

The city is 60 km away from Kumanovo, and 100 km away from Skopje. More than 20 thousand people live in the municipality. Kriva Palanka is located near the “Deve Bair” border crossing with Bulgaria. 

Kriva Palanka is located in the historical area of Slavište. The settlement lies in the narrow valley of the Kriva river, and to the north of the city, there are German and Bilina mountains, and to the south are the Osogovo mountains.

Kriva Palanka was founded in 1634 by Bajram Pasha, a vizier of Sultan Murat I. Evli Çelebi in his travelogue from 1661 describes Kriva Palanka as a town with about 800 households. In 1689, there was the Karpoš uprising in the northeastern part of North Macedonia, and as the centre of the uprising, the city was free for several months. 

Despite the terrible consequences, the Karpoš uprising had a great influence on the further revolutionary movement in Macedonia. The population from this region actively participated in the Ilinden uprising that began on August 2, 1903, but because of the large number of Turkish forces, the rebellious movement was of limited proportions.

After the liberation from the Turks in 1912, this part of the Republic of North Macedonia was under Serbian rule until 1915, then under Bulgaria until 1918, and then Macedonia and Kriva Palanka became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

In the period between the two world wars, due to bad economic and social conditions, there was a mass migration of the population, primarily to the USA and South America. 

During that period, Kriva Palanka received its first PhDs, the brothers Boris and Dimitar Arsov, who received their doctorates at Sorbonne. 

During the Second World War, the population from these areas actively participated in the fight against fascism, and after liberation (October 8, 1994) and the creation of the Macedonian state within Yugoslavia, a new period of development of Kriva Palanka began. A large number of cultural institutions, health institutions, educational institutions, factories and mines were built.

The municipality of Kriva Palanka has a moderately-continental climate with moderately cold winters and moderately warm summers, cool spring and relatively warm autumn, due to the influence of the Aegean Sea. Higher parts of Osogovo are influenced by the steppe climate. The Osogovo is rich in springs, streams and rivers, due to its relatively high altitude and geological soil composition.

This region is characterized by numerous shallow rivers and small basins, and the most famous rivers are the Kriva river and Duračka river. The Kriva river flows into its largest tributary, the Duračka river, in the centre of Kriva Palanka. The Duračka river consists of three rivers: the Stanečka river, Kozja river and Duračka river. Two reservoirs were built on the territory of the municipality of Kriva Palanka: the Bazjačko Hill reservoir with 14,100 m3 of water and the Vlaški Kolibi reservoir with 6,200 m3 of water.

Forests are one of the most significant natural resources of the municipality of Kriva Palanka. Forests cover 36.47% of the total area of ​​the municipality. There are 17,527 hectares under forest. The most common is the beech forest which spreads at an altitude of 700 to 1200 meters. According to land ownership, about 60% of forests are in the state, and 40% are privately owned. State forests are managed by the “Makedonske šume” public company.

The animal stock of Osogovo mainly consists of wolves, foxes, rabbits, deer, wild boars, hedgehogs, turtles, and less often badgers and otters. Among the birds, there are many partridges, nightingales, sparrows, cuckoos, owls, crows, and on higher peaks, there are falcons and eagles.

The flora of Osogovo is rich and diverse. Big height differences have resulted in the formation of four plant belts, the belt of low mountain pastures, the belt of oak forest, the belt with beech forest and the tall grass belt. Out of the total area of the municipality, 31% of the land is arable land and there are great natural prerequisites and potentials for investment in agricultural production.

The Osogovo mountain massif is one of the most important mining areas in the Republic of North Macedonia. Throughout the area of the municipality of Kriva Palanka, there are several deposits of metals (lead, zinc, antimony, copper, silver, gold etc.) as well as non-metals (bentonite clay, tuffs, quartz, diatomaceous earth, etc.).