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Old 10-06-2014, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default Macedonia in the Writings of Anton Kappus

This is an interesting summation of Slovenian Anton Kappus' time in Macedonia in the early 1900s.


by Zmago Shmitek

(I'm only including certain quotes)

A proof that besides the political there was an emerging scientific
interst on Macedonia was the project of the young Slovenian slavist and
linguist Vatroslav Oblak, who in November 1891, with a stipendium of the
Vienna University, arrived in Macedonia. His goal was to research
Macedonian dialects and support the hypothesis of his professor Vatroslav
Jagic, that Slavic dialects from the vicinity of Thessalonica from the middle of
the 9th century, presented the base of the old church-Slavic language
Before the First World War, there were many Macedonian workers
involved during the construction of the railway in the province of Kranj (Sorč
2006), while after the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia the conditions
changed. Then, the Serbian authorities, due to assimilation and partly due to
strategic intentions, have populated Macedonia (at the time “South Serbia”)
with colonists from all parts of the state, among whom there were also
Slovenians. Their most important settlement was the village of Bistrenci on
the Vardar river, in which in the middle of 1932 there were 26 people living
there, although their number continuously changed due to migration and the
arrival of new settlers. Some of them even accepted Christian Orthodoxy, and
changed their family names (Rusić, Novak 1973: 177–202). According to the
census of 1931, there were 1493 Slovenians in the Vardar District, that were
born in Dravska District,
while all others were from other places in Slovenia,
above all from the coast.
In July 1923 [Anton Kappus] was moved to Skopje. He didn’t
know much about Macedonia previously, while he had met “Macedonians”
for the first time in Jesenice and Bohinj during the construction of the Bohinj
railway. After a year living in the new environment he wrote: “I did not think
(...) when I passed the threshold of the town of tsar Dushan, that I would so
promptly get used to its Macedonian-Oriental meaning, to the chaotic streets,
full of dust and mud, the unbearable heat and other similar inconveniences.
What can curiosity for getting to know new situations, new places and the
nature do! Although I have traveled worldwide since I was a boy, I was never
scared by the first impression, as I was in Skopje” (Kappus 1924a: 336). On
another occasion he added: “When I arrived in Skopje, luckily, I still had the
Bosnian experience, so that the city did not seem as strange as I, in fact, have
expected. But it was different with people. A different psychological profile, a
different way of life, distrust towards the ‘stranger’ and many other things – all
of this was hindering the establishing of a closer friendship”.
In the same text he included a description of animals and the
cultural features of the villages around Kachanik, as well as other economic,
educational and folklore issues. He mentioned the irresponsible attitude of the
local Albanian villagers towards the environment, for example the forest
devastation and goats’ grassing through the forests
An important part of his manuscripts are dedicated to geographical
issues. Most important articles include: On Ljuboten, the highest pick of Shar
Planina, On Solunska Glava, The Lake of Katlanovo, From the Ohrid Lake,
On the Shepherds of Shara Mountain, On Drim river etc. (1928, 1929, 1934a,
1934c, 1938, 1938b). The aim of these articles was, among other things, to
increase the interest of the Slovenian tourists, hunters and mountaineers on
Kappus disputed the efficiency of the
regulation, so he wrote down that “almost every Macedonian villager has a
hidden old or new pistol in his hut and sometimes wants game in his pot. The
shepherds also regularly put traps for partridges and rock partridges, no matter
if there is a ban in that area or not” (Kappus 1924b: 401)
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