According to popular legend, the region of Mariovo was named after a beautiful and courageous girl called Marija. The legend goes on to tell the story of how a powerful Ottoman pasha fell deeply in love with her. So enchanted was he by her immense beauty, he was prepared to gain her love by any means.
Despite the pasha’s power, Marija’s father was against the idea of her submitting to the pasha’s love, because she was of Christian faith, whereas the pasha, a Muslim. The pasha was relentless.
The plight of her people, enslaved by the Ottoman Turks, tore at her very soul. She went to the pasha, ready to return his love and become his wife, but under one condition. She would be his wife, so long as the entire region, from the Poloski Monestary, the Selecka Mountain, to the village of Brod, all the way to the region of Bitola, the mountain Nidze and to the reach of Kozjak, would remain Christian. Not a single Turk should be inhabited there, so was her request.
The pasha, so blinded by his love for her, so driven by his passion, quickly agreed and signed documents deeming it official.
Together they mounted the horse that carried them along the road that lead to the village called Dunje, and it was on that same path, as they rode, that Marija took out the kama, or dagger, with which she forcefully took her own life.
Not having surrendered to the pasha, she kept her virtue and her faith. Although he wanted to, the pasha was unable to annul the contract he signed. The power of that document assured that the entire region, all its villages and those who dwelled there, would remain Christian Macedonians. In honor of Marija, of her strength and courage, the love for her fellow people, the region was named in her honor, Mariovo.
Fact or Fiction?