Macedonia through Centuries

I N T R O D U C T I O N

"Macedonia through Centuries" is an exhibition of documents representing a concise retrospective review on the genesis of the Macedonian people concerning the political, economic and cultural life in Macedonia, in the course of the long period of history, from time immemorial until nowadays. The exhibition has been designed into eleven chronological and thematic entities, following each other and representing the historical development of the Macedonian people, language, statehood and culture through centuries.

The following periods are included into the exhibition:

- Ancient Macedonia (from the Neolitic Age to the early Middle Ages);

- Medieval Macedonia (9th-16th century);

- Macedonia during the Turkish Rule (end of 14th - beginning of 20th century);

- Cultural and National Liberation Movement of the Macedonian People (19th - beginning of the 20th century);

- Macedonia during the Balkan Wars and the First World War (1912-1919);

- Macedonia between the Two World Wars (1919-1941);

- Macedonia during the Second World War (1941-1945);

- The Question of Self-Determination and Union of the Macedonian Nation (1940-1949);

- Macedonia after the Second World War - from Federal to Independent State (1949-1991);

- Macedonian Orthodox Church and Macedonian Emigration (20th century);

- Republic of Macedonia - an Independent and Internationally Recognized State (1991-1996).

A part of the archeological heritage, created on the territory of Macedonia, is displayed in the first part of the exhibition, starting from the Neolitic Age to the Middle Ages. The sources of the development of the Ancient Macedonia and her rise during the reign of Philip II and Alexander III of Macedon (Alexander the Great) are especially emphasized.

The Old Church Slavic manuscripts, created in Macedonia (Macedonian redaction), are displayed in the second part of the exhibition with special emphasise on the SS. Cyril and Methodius brothers’ educational work and the work of their followers St. Clement and St. Naum. The czar Samoil’s Macedonian medieval state and the existence of the Ohrid Archbishopric’s autocephality are also exhibited separately.

The documents in the third part represent the five-century life in Macedonia during the Ottoman reign. They reveal the social, economic and political conditions as well as the Islamic cultural heritage in Macedonia. The endeavours are presented concerning the removal of the Turkish rule from Macedonia and the Balkans (the Ohrid Archbishopric, Karposh Uprising, Negush Uprising, comitadjis and so on). The sources reveal the appearance and development of the Macedonian bourgeoisie and intellectuals becoming leaders of liberation endeavours.

The documents in the fourth part refer to the appearance and development of the Macedonians’ national conscious; the struggles against ecclesiastical and educational propaganda, carried by the neighbouring states and the national and cultural movement spread out among the Macedonian population; it was manifested with claims for renewal of the Ohrid Archbishopric and the application of the Macedonian vernacular both in the religious service and schools. The litarary and didactic works of the Macedonian national and cultural activists (Miladinovi Brothers, Prlichev, Zhinzifov, Pulevski etc) and their attemps for the Macedonian colloquial language to be ascended to the literary level are also included in the fourth part. The cultural and national movement turned into the national revolutionary movement of the Macedonian people. It was expressed with the national and liberation uprisings (Razlovtsi and Kresna Uprising 1876-1878), foundation of the Macedonian League (1880), appearance of the "Loza" movement in 1882; foundation of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (MRO) in 1893 was the climax of the national revolutionary movement.

Documents on display refer to the programme goals concerning the achievement of autonomy of Macedonia, formation and strengthening of the MRO network as well as protection of its independence (Delchev, Gruev, Petrov, Pop Arsov, Hadji Dimov etc.), preparations for Ilinden Uprising (the Krushevo Republic, 1903) and its consequences. The diplomatic activity of the Great Powers representatives in Macedonia concerning the "Macedonian question" as well as reforms are also presented.

Special attention is paid to the documents defining the Macedonian national programme by the Macedonian intellectuals (Dedov, Missirkov, Chupovski etc). The uniqueness of the Macedonian nation, language and culture is also emphasized as well as the modalities for the future state constitution of Macedonia. The documents included into the fifth part refer to the status and sufferings of the Macedonian people during the two Balkan Wars and the First World War (1912-1919) when the territorial partition of Macedonia, among the neighbouring states, was executed according to the international treaties. Numerous appeals and claims by the Macedonians and their organizations sent to the Great Powers and the international publicity are included, with the goal for establishment of the united and independent Macedonia.

The documents in the sixth part refer to the national, political and economic deprivation of the rights of the Macedonian people under the foreign rule (Vardar, Aegean and Pirin part of Macedonia under the Serbian, Bulgarian and Greek rule, 1919-1941). The endeavours and struggles of the Macedonians concerning the achievement of national and political freedom are presented too. The claims concerning the recognition of the individuality of the Macedonian nation, language and culture, the union of the Macedonian people and establishment of the Macedonian state are manifested by the activity of the VMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization) (United), the labour and the communist movement, other Macedonian societes and activists. The autors and works representing the foundations of the Macedonian contemporary literature are also exhibited (Ratsin, Nedelkovski, Markovski, Vaptsarov, Iljoski, Panov, Krle, etc).

The documents presented in the seventh part refer to the developed National Liberation and Antifascist Movement of the Macedonian people from all parts of Macedonia during the Second World War (1941-1945). They refer to the uprising of the Macedonian people, formation of both the partisan units and the Macedonian army who, at the end of the war, liberated the Vardar part of Macedonia (Republic of Macedonia nowadays) all by themselves. The historical documents on the constitution of Macedonia as a federal state within the Yugoslav Federation proclaming the Macedonian language as an official one are presented (August 2, 1944). The documents refer to the developed National Liberation Movement of the Macedonians from the Pirin and Aegean part of Macedonia, under the rule of Bulgaria and Greece, as well as their struggle for achievement of national and political rights.

Documents refering to the question on the right of the Macedonian nation for self-determination and union (1940-1949), as well as the international aspects concerning this question, are included in the eighth part. The post-war period in the People’s Republic / Socialist Republic of Macedonia (1945-1991) is presented in the ninth part of the exhibition. Documents refering the constitutional, jurisdictional and legislative acts involved into the building of Macedonian state, as well as the different aspects of the social, economic and cultural life are included. Documents concerning the struggles of the Macedonians from the Pirin and Aegean part of Macedonia for national, political and cultural rights (1945-1996) are presented.

The tenth part refers to the documents on the development of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, a century long bearer of the national conscience and traditions, as well as the life and activity of the Macedonians - emigrants all around the world. The eleventh part of the exhibition includes documents concerning the actual processes in the Republic of Macedonia (1991-1996), its constitution and establishment as a democratic, sovereign, independent and internationally recognized state.

Documents that have been preserved in the Archives of Macedonia represent the base of the exhibition "Macedonia through Centuries". Besides them, the documents that were brought from abroad, as a result of the archival researches, are also presented. The secondary sources such as: the Macedonian press, literary works, artistic works and memoirs are also included.

The exhibition is enriched with documentary and illustrative materials such as: photographs of persons and events of importance, geographic and historical maps, heraldic symbols, statistical data and other materials. As a result of the multilateral significance of the scope of the period, themes and contents, that are involved in, documents on the more significan processes, persons, events, from the far and the near past, concerning the Macedonian people and Macedonia, are also presented.

Consequently the selective approach has been choosen concerning the selection and prepare of the exhibition documents. A great number of documents that are not included in the exhibition, although they are worth- while presenting, will be presented on other exhibitions. Therefore, the exhibition is of no pretentions for integrality.

The basic intention of the group of authors, composed by archivists, working in the Archives of Macedonia, scientific workers - consultants and other collaborators, was a concised cutting of continuity concerning the historical, civilized and cultural life of the Macedonians and Macedonia, by means of combination of historical, archival and visually designed elements. Documents reveal the cultural and historical heritage of Macedonia, the Macedonian name and the Macedonian nation, as well as the Macedonian language and the Macedonian state, that are documentary affirmed and approved on the exhibition.

Although the Macedonian publicity has already been familiarized with a part of the presented documents, a great number of them will be exhibited for the first time, expecting to stir up a remarkable interest. Concidering the international publicity, the exhibition will represent an exclusive look into the Macedonian cultural and historical heritage, with new knowledge concerning Macedonia and the Macedonians.

The exhibition, as an event of cultural importance, and its catalogue, will have a function this heritage of cultural and historical importance to be widely presented and affirmed.

M.A. Ivan Aleksov
exhibition commissar

Copyright The Archive of MACEDONIA

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