Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell have moved on from Tokyo and set up housekeeping in Skopje, Macedonia. If you received your geography education before 1991, Macedonia is just north of Greece and just south of Serbia. But back in 1903, a small Macedonian town on a mountain declared its own independence from the Ottoman Empire. The Republic of Kruševo lasted ten days.
The brave and hopelessly out-gunned army of Kruševo met the advancing Turks in the Battle of Mečkin Kamen, a couple kilometers outside the town. Led by Pitu Guli, the rebels fought bravely, but were simply no match for the Ottoman force. In the end, Kruševo’s defenders were annihilated, and the Ottomans marched into town where they inflicted a bloody retribution on the townspeople.
Today, Kruševo has recovered and become one of the jewels of Macedonia, the highest mountain town in the Balkans. We visited for a couple days. With just 5000 inhabitants, it’s the kind of place with which you can become familiar within no time. Kruševo feels like a mountain retreat, so small and peaceful that it’s hard to imagine it as the scene of such vicious fighting.
The rebellion is memorialized with a monument called the Makedonium, this artfully-shaped building with a museum inside. Read more about Kruševo and the Makedonium, and see plenty of pictures, at For 91 Days.