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Vardar Macedonia, the area that now makes up the Republic of Macedonia, was part of the Ottoman Empire for over five hundred years, from 1400 to 1912.[1][2] However, the Ottomans themselves did not keep any "Macedonia" as an administrative unit.[3]




In the Battle of Maritsa of 1371, the King of Lordship of Prilep Vukašin Mrnjavčević and his brother Jovan Uglješa led 70,000 men against the Ottomans. Despite having smaller numbers, the Ottomans managed to kill Vukašin and his brother and win the Battle of Maritsa.[4]

After falling under Ottoman rule, many mosques and other Islamic buildings, such as the Isa Bey Mosque, were built in the cities like Skopje

After the battle, most of Serbia broke into smaller principalities. One of those principalities is known as the Kingdom of Prilep, led by Vukašin's son Marko.[5] Like most regional rulers in Macedonia, Marko accepted vassalage under Sultan Murad I to preserve his position.

The Battle of Kosovo of 1389 sealed the fate of Macedonia for the next 500 years. While both armies lost leaders and large numbers of soldiers, the Ottomans could easily assemble another army just as large while the locals could not.

Marko died alongside Konstantin Dragaš at the Battle of Rovine in 1395 and the territory of his realm became the Sanjak of Ohrid.[6][7]

All of Vardar Macedonia was under Ottoman control by the early of the 15th century, with Skopje falling under Turkish rule on January 19, 1392.[1][8] Aside from conflict with Skanderbeg's forces, in which areas of western part of Macedonia became a battleground of Ottoman-Albanian war for more than 20 years (1444-1467), the Ottoman Empire ultimately succeeded in taking the region.[9]

Five hundred years of Ottoman ruleEdit

During the Ottoman rule of the Balkans, cities experienced many changes with regards to the demographic makeup of their population and the look of their cityscapes. With laws that prohibited Christian buildings from being higher than Islamic ones, the skylines of cities like Skopje and Bitola were dominated by minarets.[10]

Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi visited the city of Bitola in 1661. He wrote that of the seven mosques in the city at the time, six were built in the 16th century. Most of the mosques constructed on the territory of today's Republic of Macedonia were square in shape with a three-domed portico and a minaret on the building's right side.[11]

Macedonian cities under Ottoman ruleEdit

Balkan WarsEdit

The Balkan Wars consisted of two wars that occurred in 1912 and 1913. The first began on 8 October 1912 when the nations of the Balkan League, who had large parts of their ethnic populations under Ottoman rule, attacked the Ottoman Empire. It lasted seven months with the Balkan League nations coming up victorious, ending 500 years of Ottoman rule in the Balkans.[1]

Administrative divisionsEdit

From the time that Macedonia first became part of the Ottoman Empire to the mid-19th century, it was located in the eyalet of Rumelia.


Map of Vilayets in the geographical region of Macedonia 1907.

After administrative reform in 1860s, the Ottoman Empire was divided into vilayets which were subdivided into sanjaks.

Kosovo VilayetEdit

The northern part of the Macedonian region was included in the Kosovo Vilayet. Sanjaks located in this vilayet that contained territory now within the Republic of Macedonia were:

Monastir VilayetEdit

The southwestern part of the region was located in the Monastir vilayet. Sanjaks located in this vilayet that contained territory now within the Republic of Macedonia were:

Salonika VilayetEdit

The southeastern part of Macedonia was located in the Salonika vilayet. Sanjaks located in this vilayet that contained territory now within the Republic of Macedonia were:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Macedonia :: The Ottoman Empire". Britannica. 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2010.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Britannica" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ "AN OUTLINE OF MACEDONIAN HISTORY FROM ANCIENT TIMES TO 1991". Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia London. 2010. Archived from the original on October 13, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2010. The period of expansion of medieval states on the Balkan and in Macedonia was followed by the occupation of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Macedonia remained a part of the Ottoman Empire for over 500 years, i.e. until 1912 
  3. ^ The region was not called "Macedonia" by the Ottomans, and the name "Macedonia" gained currency together with the ascendance of rival nationalism. Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question, Victor Roudometof, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN 0275976483, p. 89.
  4. ^ Sedlar, Jean W., East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, (University of Washington Press, 1994), 385.
  5. ^ The last centuries of Byzantium, (1261-1453) by Donald MacGillivray Nicol
  6. ^ Stojanovski, Aleksandar (1989), Makedonija vo turskoto srednovekovie : od krajot na XIV--početokot na XVIII vek (in Macedonian), Skopje: Kultura, p. 49, OCLC 21875410, retrieved 24 December 2011, ОХРИДСКИ САНЏАК (Liva i Ohri): Овој санџак исто така е еден од најстарите санџаци во Румелискиот беглербеглак. Се смета дека бил создаден по загинувањето на крал Марко (1395),.. 
  7. ^ Šabanović, Hazim (1959), Bosanski pašaluk : postanak i upravna podjela (in Croatian), Sarajevo: Oslobođenje, p. 20, OCLC 10236383, retrieved 26 December 2011, Poslije pogibije kralja Marka i Konstantina Dejanovića na Rovinama (1394) pretvorene su njihove oblasti u turske sandžake, Ćustelndilski i Ohridski. 
  8. ^ "A brief account of the history of Skopje". 2010. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2010. A monk at the Saint Theodor Monastery on Mt. Vodno briefly recorded the date of the town's capture by the Turks: "In the 69th year (1392) the Turks took Skopje on the 6th day of the month (January 19, 1392 according to the new calendar). 
  9. ^ Marinus Barletius: Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis
  10. ^ "The Church of St Spas - Skopje". National Tourism Portal of Macedonia. 2005-07. Archived from the original on May 27, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2010. ...half of it was constructed underground, due to the 17th century edict of the Turkish Sultan that prohibited Christian structures from being higher than mosques.  Check date values in: |year= (help)
  11. ^ "The Sixteenth Century Mosques of Bitola / Toli Manastır1" (PDF). Kalamus. 20??. Retrieved August 27, 2010.  Check date values in: |year= (help)

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