Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Skanderbeg was born in Dibra

                          Skanderbeg was born in Dibra

George Kastrioti Skanderbeg was born in 1405 to the noble Kastrioti family, in a village in Dibra. Sultan Murad II took him hostage in 1423 and he fought for the Ottoman Empire during next twenty years. In 1443, he deserted the Ottomans during the Battle of Niš and became the ruler of Krujë. In 1444, he organized local leaders into the League of Lezhë, a federation aimed at uniting their forces for war against the Ottomans. Skanderbeg's first victory against the Ottomans, at the Battle of Torvioll in the same year marked the beginning of more than 20 years of war with the Ottomans. Skanderbeg's forces achieved more than 20 victories in the field and withstood three sieges of his capital, Krujë.
In 1451 he recognized de jure the suzerainty of Kingdom of Naples through the Treaty of Gaeta, to ensure a protective alliance, although he remained an independent ruler de facto In 1460–1461, he participated in Italy's civil wars in support of Ferdinand I of Naples. In 1463, he became the chief commander of the crusading forces of Pope Pius II, but the Pope died while the armies were still gathering. Left alone to fight the Ottomans, Skanderbeg did so until he died in January 1468.
Marin Barleti, an early 16th century Albanian historian, wrote a biography of Skanderbeg, which was printed between 1508 and 1510. The work, written in Latin and in a Renaissance and panegyric style, was translated into all the major languages of Western Europe from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Such translations inspired an opera by Vivaldi, and literary creations by eminent writers such as playwrights William Havard and George Lillo, French poet Ronsard, English poet Byron, and American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Name of city


The name of the city in Macedonian is Debar (Дебар), in Albanian Dibër or Dibra, in Serbian Debar (Дебар), in Bulgarian Debar (Дебър), in Turkish Debre or Debre-i Bala and in Greek, Divrē (Δίβρη) or Divra (Δίβρα).

Population of Dibra



According to the last census data from 2002, the city of Debar has a population of 14,561, made up of 10,768 (74.0%) Albanians, 1,415 (9.7%) Turks, 1,079 (7.2%) Roma, 1,054 (7.2%) Macedonians, and 245 (1.7%) others.[1]

Geography of Dibera



 Debar is surrounded by the Dešat, Stogovo, Jablanica and Bistra mountains. It is located 625 meters above sea level, next to Lake Debar, the Black Drin River and its smaller break-off river, Radika.

Culture of Debar (Diber)


Statue of Skenderbeg in Debar
Some of the best craftsman, woodcarving masters and builders came from the Debar region and were recognized for their skills in creating detailed and impressive woodcarvings, painting beautiful icons and building unique architecture. In fact Debar was one of the then famous three woodcarving schools in the region, the other two being Samokov and Bansko. Their work can be seen in many churches and cultural buildings throughout the Balkan Peninsula. The Debar School of Macedonian woodcarving became noted for its artistic excellence, and an amazing example that can be seen today by tourists is the iconostasis in the nearby Monastery of Saint Jovan Bigorski, near the town of Debar. The monastery was rebuilt in th 19th century and is situated on the slopes of Mount Bistra, above the banks of the River Radika. The monastery was built on the remains of an older church dating from 1021.
Another important religious monument is the monastery of Saint Gjorgi in the village of Rajcica in the immediate vicinity of Debar. The monastery was recently built.
Grigor Prlichev was given the title Second Homer in 1860 in Athens for his poem The Serdar. Based on a folk poem, it deals with the exploits and heroic death of Kuzman Kapidan, a famous hero and protector of Christian people in the Debar region in their struggle with bandits.
Some of the oldest and richest Albanian epics still exist in the Debar regions and are part of the Albanian mythological heritage.

History of Debar (Dibër)


The first recorded document mentioning Debar is the map of Ptolemy, dating around the middle of the 2nd century, in which it is called Deborus. The Byzantine emperor Basil II knew of its existence, and Felix Petancic referred to it as Dibri in 1502.

The city was subsequently conquered by the First Bulgarian Empire, but lost to the Byzantines under Tsar Samuil by the early 11th century, as Bulgaria was subjugated.

Bohemond and his Norman army took the city in 1107. In the 13th and 14th century, the city changed hands between the Despotate of Epirus, the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Byzantine Empire and Serbia.

The city was under the rule of the short-lived Principality of Prilep of Prince Marko (r. 1371 – 1395), a successor state of the Serbian Empire (1346–1371) where the father of Prince Marko, Župan Vukašin Mrnjavčević (co-ruler of King Stefan Uroš V) held the region. The principality and region came under Ottoman Turkish rule in 1395.[2]

It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1395 and subsequently became the seat of the Sanjak of Dibra. In 1440 Skanderbeg was appointed as its sanjakbey.[3][4]

During the Ottoman-Albanian wars between 1443-1479 the Debar region was the borderline between the Ottomans and the League of Lezhë led by Skanderbeg and became an area of continuous conflict. There were two major battles near Debar April 29, 1444 and September 27, 1446, both ending with the defeat of the Ottoman armies.

In the early 19th century, when Debar rebelled against the Turkish Sultan, the French traveller, publicist, and scientist Ami Bue observed that Debar had 64 shops and 4,200 residents. It was first a sanjak centre in Scutari Province before 1877, and afterwards in Monastır between 1877-1912 as Debre or Debre-i Bala ("Upper Debre" in Ottoman Turkish, as contrasted with Debre-i Zir, which was Peshkopi's Turkish name). Debar was significantly involved in the national Albanian movement and on November 1, 1878 the Albanian leaders of the city participated in founding the League of Prizren. By the end of the century, the town had 15,500 residents, but after World War I, this number started to decline.

During the First Balkan War of 1912-1913, the city was annexed by the Kingdom of Serbia. In September 1913 there was an uprising by the Macedonians of Debar with the aim of separating from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In September 1913 local Albanian and Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization leaders rebelled against the Kingdom of Serbia.

Debar was annexed, along with most of Western Macedonia, into the Kingdom of Italy on June 29, 1939. Greater Albania was officially a protectorate of Italy and therefore public administration duties were passed to Albanian authorities. Albanian-language schools, radio stations and newspapers were established in Debar. When Italy capitulated in September 1943, Debar passed into German hands. After a two month struggle for the city between Albanian National Liberation Front and German forces including the SS Skanderbeg division, the Communist forces led by Haxhi Lleshi finally secured Debar on August 30, 1944.[5] After the cessation of hostilities and the establishment of Communism in both states, Debar passed back into Yugoslav hands.