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Strumica (Municipality, Macedonia)


Last modified: 2007-03-31 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Strumica]

Municipal flag of Strumica - Image by Mello Luchtenberg & António Martins, 10 December 2006

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Presentation of Strumica

The municipality of Strumica (54,676 inhabitants; 321.49 sq. km) is located in southeastern Macedonia. It is made of the town of Strumica and the 24 settlements of Banica, Bansko, Belotino, Veljusa, Vodoča, Gabrovo, Gradsko Baldovci, Dabinje, Dobrejci, Dobrombos, Zleševo, Kosturino, Kukliš, Memešli, Myrtino, Ormanli, Popčevo, Prosenikovo, Raborci, Rič, Saševo, Svidovica, Tri Vodi and Čepeli.

The town of Strumica, watered by the river of the same name, is the center of the richest agricultural region of Macedonia. The main productions are poppy, cotton, tobacco, sesame, peanuts and anason, that is anise (Pimpinelle anisum) used in the "Macedonian whisky", mastika.
Strumica is the birth place of the footballer Goran Pandev (b. 1983), playing for Lazio Rome and currently considered as the best Macedonian player.

Strumica was known under the Greek name of Astraion, the Town of Stars, and its inhabitants as Astrai. After the Roman colonization, the town was renamed Tiberiopolis, after Emperor Tiberius. The Slavic name, Strumica, is said to be the translation of Astraion, but there are alternative explanations for the name of the town, referring to a young woman named Struma, whose tomb is located in the village of Veljusa. Struma is said to be King Marko's sister, or the daughter of an Emperor who laid a curse on her so that her body would not be taken by the ground; after her death, the ground rejected seven times her body out of the grave, so that she had to be buried in a stone mausoleum placed above the ground.
The citadel of Čarski Kuli (The Tzar's Towers) seems to have predated the Roman conquest; it is surrounded by a very old limestone wall and a second, internal wall, protecting the acropolis. The gate is protected by two towers dated from the VIth century, revamped during the Roman period. When the Christian religion became official in the Empire, Tiberiopolis was the seat of a bishopric; churches dedicated to local martyres were built, the most significant of them being the martyrium built under Justinian's reign over the tomb of the 15 martyrs near the citadel.
The citadel recall the sad end of the medieval state truled by Tsar Samuel. The ruler lost in 1014 the battle of Belasica, near Strumica, and his winner, the Byzantine Emperor Basil II ordered the enucleation of all of Samuel's 14,000 soldiers, except one out of hundred who led back the defeated troops to the Tsar. Samuel died in Prilep two days after the return of the defeated army. The local legend says that the soldiers were blinded near the XI-th century St. Leontius church, therefore nickname Vodoča, from vadi oči, poking eyes.

Source: FAQ Macedonia

The Strumica Carnival takes place every year on Tuesday after Ash Monday. It is a very old tradition, already recorded in 1670 by the Turkish traveler Evlija Celebija. After some decline, the Carnival was restored in 1991 and Strumica joined in 1994 the European Federation of the Carnival Cities, hoisting in 1998 the XVIIIth Congress of the Federation. The Strumica Carnival is specifically dedicated to engaged women and includes several pagan and erotic symbols.

Ivan Sache, 10 December 2006

Municipal flag of Strumica

The municipal flag of Strumica, as shown on the Macedonian Ministry of Local Self-Government website (page no longer online), is vertical, in proportion 2:1, white with the municipal coart of arms skewed to the upper border.
The coat of arms is quartered, 1, blue a yellow cross, probably refering to the bishopric of Strumica; 2, yellow a blue wheel with yellow rays; 3, yellow the skyline of Strumica outlined in blue, with the citadel and the stars, alluding to the Greek name of the town; and 4, blue a yellow flower. The city name is written above the shield in yellow letters on a blue cartouche.

Ivan Sache, 10 December 2006