Saturday, February 25, 2012

The region of Macedonia in 1908

I found a really interesting article in one of the national geographic magazines i have in my bookcase.It is written in 1908 so there are some historical inaccuracies in it but it is still interesting to read.

Some notes about Macedonia
A Greek at the port of Thessalonika
All the images of the post are from National Geogaphic

The wider region of Macedonia was for centuries a crossroad of nations and civilizations. Its fertile lands and natural harbours attracted many national groups which came into conflict for this land.

For many years the christians of Macedonia were considered as the most unfortunate and miserable populations of Europe.Although they numbered 4 to 1 in relation with the Muslims, they were never able to unite against the sultan because more than anything that was Ottoman they hated each  other mostly.The christians of Macedonia were Bulgarians Greeks Serbians and Vlachs.Until the last summer the Greeks had plans to annex Macedonia, the Bulgarians wanted to dominate the area by Bulgarisation , the Serbians were seeing Macedonia as an opportunity to have access to the Aegean and the Romanians thought that they should maintain some influence on the area.
moments of daily life in Macedonia.

The rivalry between the ethnic groups of Macedonia spread devastation and desruction. Bands of Bulgarians and Greeks commited atrocities to anyone who politically opposed them.And anytime there was a conflict between an ethnic group and the ottoman authority the other ethnic group sided with the Ottomans.

Now all this has changed. Hatred and rivalries have been put aside for the common interest which is freedom.All the ethnic groups decided to participate in an experiment and unite with the Young Turk movement which plans to overthrow the Ottoman sultan. The basic term of this alliance would be the all the nations of the empire would be considered equal by the constitution.

Christian girls of Macedonia. Their outfit betrays their religion.
The Macedonian nations were the ones that had a major role in this revolution and to them owe the rest of the nations of the Ottoman empire their relative autonomy.The joy of the people for having now a parliament and a constitution was such that they were forcing the christian and Muslim priests to hug each other in the middle of the villages.

The propaganda by various ethnic groups of Macedonia had positive effects on education.The Greek Bulgarian Serbian and Romanian schools that operated under the tolerance of the Ottoman goverment because they boosted the division between the nations offered to the agricultural population a high level education which couldn't be achieved if education was controlled by the Ottomans. At the big towns the students had the chance to receive higher education and in some cases music and artistic education by professors from Vienna and Budapest.
A Turkish old man looking suspiciously at the camera

Macedonia is outstands because of the beauty of its landscapes.Many of its mountains surpass 3.000 meters in height and are covered by beautiful forests.In the ancient times it was a notorious land and kingdom but after so man centuries of bad administration its ancient monuments are lost. Nowadays it's mandatory for the archaeologists to make studies about Macedonia as they may discover the ruins of its glorious past. Thessalonica for instance, has more christian monuments than any other city in Greece.There are many great monuments built by Romans and Greeks. The presence of a minaret on the side of each one tells us of their current usage.

A view of Thessalonikas landmark. The white tower.
In Thessalonica there is the Saint Sophia church built by Justinian just like its notorious sister in Constantinople.Nowadays it operates as a mosque.However a big fire four years ago and a recent earthquake have rendered the building obsolete.The Rotunda which is today a mosque was built by emperor Trajan following the architectural pattern of the pantheon in Rome but in a smaller scale and was dedicated to the Cabeirian gods.Indoors it is decorated with mosaics that belong to the pagan temple as there are no traces of christian modification.
A villager making turkish coffee in a village in Macedonia

Between the Rotunda and the sea is the area of the hippodrome where Theodosius the last emperor of the unified Roman empire gave the order for one of the bloodiest slaughters in history.Although he was a fanatic christian and according to ancient writers a charismatic leader , in this case he didn't act with logic.In order to punish the citizens who  uprose against the decision of the emperor for the arrest of a chariot racer, he invited them  to the hippodrome to watch a spectacle. The spectacle was themselves, 7000 citizens of any age and gender were slaughtered with a barbaric way.

source: National Geographic Greece, September 2003

No comments:

put your country on top

free counters