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Dojran (Municipality, North Macedonia)


Last modified: 2019-06-10 by ivan sache
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Flag of Dojran (reconstruction, no original seen) - Image by Mello Luchtenberg, 20 February 2009

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Presentation of Dojran

The municipality of Dojran (3,426 inhabitants; 129.16 sq. km), located in south-eastern North Macedonia, is made of the settlements of Star Dojran (administrative center), Durutli, Gjopčeli, Kurtamžali, Nikolikje, Nov Dojran, Organdžali, Sevendekli, Sretenovo, Furka, Crničani, Čaušli and Šumabos.

Quoting Maja Cvetanovska:

On the west coast of Lake Dojran, one of the three natural lakes on the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia, there are the two fishing communities, Old (Star) and New (Nov) Dojran.
According to the legend, once upon a time there used to be a well where people from the nearby villages filled water. After they had filled their vessels with water, they would lock the well with nine locks. One day, the most beautiful girl in the area, named Dojrana, came to fill her bucket. The young man she loved was waiting for her near the well. She filled the water, but enchanted by the love for the young man, she forgot to lock the ninth lock. The water began to come out of the well and flooded the entire valley. The lake got the name Lake Dojran by the girl called Dojrana.
According to another legend, the Turkish pasha fell in love with the beautiful Dojrana and ordered his soldiers to bring her to his tent. But the girl disobeyed his orders and because she didn't want to be taken by force, she drowned herself in the water. After that, in honor of the beautiful and brave girl, the lake was called Dojran and the village near it Dojrana.

Studies point to the fact that the area around the lake was inhabited as early as pre-history. There are inscriptions from the 5th Century BC that describe the life in ancient times in the area of today's Lake Dojran. The Greek historian Herodotus noted that Peons live near the lake Prazja (Dojran Lake) whose main occupation was fishing. He wrote that the lake was rich in fish and that it was enough to put empty baskets in the water at night and take them out in the morning filled with fish. He also mentions some of the neighboring dwelling places which could only be approached by boats, as well as the specific fishing method by means of birds (cormorans or other divers) that fly low and drive fish into the fishing ponds, the so-called mandras by the Dojran fishermen. The description given by this historian is not much different from the picture that one can be seen today.
After the Roman period, Dojran was under Byzantine jurisdiction and was given the name of Polin, meaning "town". In 1391 it was conquered by the Turks and the citizens were forced to move to the place where Star Dojran is today. On the head of the Turkish army was Evrenos Bey, who is mentioned in another legend of how the town of Polin was renamed into Dojran. This legend says that the Bey came to Dojran crossing over the frozen lake, not knowing that he was moving on ice covered with snow. When he found out what kind of danger he and his army went through, they thought that Allah had taken care of them and made a feast in his honor. After the feast, he asked his soldiers how they felt and they answered dojuran, which in Turkish means "content, well fed". After this, the town was called Dojran.

The facts say that in the 19th century Dojran was a beautiful town on the hill facing the lake. It had 2000 houses and 8000 inhabitants, stores, inns, craftsmens' workshops and resembled Thessaloniki, often called Small Thessaloniki. But most of Dojran was ruined during the bombing in the First World War when the people moved to today's New Dojran.

On 23 June 1913, the 10th Division of the Greek army, marching northwards, attacked the Bulgarian troops stationed on the heights of Lake Dojran. Initially blocked by the Bulgarian artillery, the 10th Division, supported by the 3rd Division, could eventually seize the railway station and the town of Dojran, seizing the hills in the afternoon.

Ivan Sache, 21 February 2009

Flag of Dojran

The flag of Dojran, as described in Article 9 of the Municipal Statutes, is horizontally divided blue-white with the municipal coat of arms placed in the center of the blue stripe.

The municipal coat of arms is outlined in yellow, with a narrow blue chief charged with the name of the municipality in yellow capital Cyrillic letters. The shield is quartered blue and white. The blue fish and wave in the third quarter and the yellow cabin and waves showed in the fourth quarter recall the fishing activity on Lake Dojran. The yellow building in the first quarter might be the St. Ilija church (19th century).

Valentin Poposki & Ivan Sache, 21 February 2009