NEWS

Villages that went over to ‘the other side’

The largest enclave of Greeks in what is now FYROM was in Bitolai, Monastiri in Greek. It fell victim to the interests behind the delineation of borders at the Treaty of Bucharest. In October 1912, the Greek army had got within firing distance of Bitola, and its Greek inhabitants had gone out into the streets to greet their liberators. However, Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos ordered Commander in Chief and Crown Prince Constantine to take his troops to Thessaloniki ahead of the approaching Bulgarians, which he did. The Treaty of Bucharest gave Bitola to the Serbs and most of the Greeks left. Greeks were then the majority in what is now called Melnic in southern Bulgaria, though most of them also left. As soon as they heard that the treaty gave Melnic to Bulgaria, they held protest rallies, but when they realized that nothing was going to change, they gathered up their belongings, drank or poured out their famous red wine so that the new inhabitants could not get drunk on it, and departed for Greece. Bulgarian inhabitants of the many villages that ended up on the Greek side of the border did likewise after both the treaties of Bucharest and Sevres. Those who left Stenimacho in Greece founded Nov Loftsa in Bulgaria. Now there is a Petrich in Bulgaria and Neo Petritsi in Serres, Doiran in FYROM and Doirani in Kilkis, Ethnikon in Florina and Alimnica in FYROM. Relatives in those villages have now reestablished contact.