Let us keep Mariovo and memories alive!

The history behind the photo

Blog by: Милан Врглески

Toronto, Canada

November 30, 2021

My father talked about this location in the photo.

While living in Canada my father's dream was to visit all 32 villages that were part of the original Mariovo (before it was divided). In 2007 I fulfilled my father’s dream by driving him to each village with a rented vintage Lada Niva that should have been on display in a museum.

During our visit to each village, my father would tell me the story of a person or building, such as the one in the photo below. After three days of touring I was overwhelmed with the knowledge and information my father shared with me. I still regret not documenting all of my father’s memories.

According to my father, when he was a young man, there was no road for vehicles connecting villages to the nearest cities like Prilep, Bitola or Kavadarci. Instead, they had to use their own livestock like a Donkey or Mule (Maska) for transportation through the narrow and rocky trails.

My father told me that during the harvesting season the villagers would load their fall produce (tobacco, sunflower seeds, etc) and would travel to Prilep to sell their goods so they could buy items that were not locally produced such as sugar, salt and kerosene. The trip from Selo Besiste to Prilep would take up to two days by foot, usually at night to avoid the hot days.

By morning they would arrive in Selo Dunje (the halfway point to Prilep) and settle for the day at the building pictured in the photo. Here they would have much needed sleep, feed the livestock and talk with the local people to catch up on the latest news. By evening, the second half of the journey would start and usually end in Prilep by the next morning.

After a full day in Prilep, they would begin their journey back to their respective villages, using Dunje as their resting place.

I am sure many of you have heard similar stories about this location but, I am pleased to document my father personal stories. He left Mariovo when he was in his fifties and went back in his late eighties to fulfill his wish to die in his beloved birth place Besiste, Mariovo. It gives me great satisfaction to reach out to all of you that have roots in Mariovo and tell his story.