Zajas (Macedonian: Зајас , Albanian: Zajaz) is a village in the municipality of Kičevo, North Macedonia. Zajas was the seat of the Zajas Municipality, and is now in Kičevo Municipality.

Train station in Zajas
Train station in Zajas
Zajas is located in North Macedonia
Location within North Macedonia
Coordinates: 41°36′N 20°56′E / 41.600°N 20.933°E / 41.600; 20.933
Country North Macedonia
RegionLogo of Southwestern Region, North Macedonia.svg Southwestern
MunicipalityCoat of arms of Kičevo Municipality.svg Kičevo
 • Total2,567
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Car platesKI



The village is attested in the 1467/68 Ottoman tax registry (defter) for the Nahiyah of Kırçova. The village had a total of 73 houses, excluding bachelors (mucerred).[1]

Gjorche Petrov (" Materials for the Study of Macedonia ") wrote in 1896 about the population of Zajas:

" ... wild, predatory and rude in character, a scourge for the whole of Gorno Kichevo. They spend their time with haidutluk, cattle breeding, agriculture and gurbetlak.“ [2]

In statistics gathered by Vasil Kanchov in 1900, the village of Zajas was inhabited by 2150 Muslim Albanians.[3]

During the Albanian revolt of 1912, Zajas was the political and organizational center of the insurgent-revolutionary movement for the Kaza of Kičevo. In Zajas, a Committee / Headquarter of the uprising was set up, with the village serving as the meeting place of the Albanian troops, where they received concrete instructions and tasks in order to coordinate their political and revolutionary activity.[4]

The village was burned by Chetnik forces and members of the Serbian army during the Balkan wars.[5]


In September 1913, after the Debar-Ohrid uprising, a group Orthodox Serbs from neighbouring Midinci, under the orders of chetnik Mikajle Brodski, due to their ability to speak the local dialect of Albanian, would dress in Albanian folk dress and parade through Zajas chanting erdhi Shqipëria! (Albania has arrived). This was done with the intent of rounding up the Albanians in one area, which would be the mosque of the Dumaj mahala. The Albanians were instructed to bring one representative from each house in the village. After their arrival, around 300 Albanian men of all ages were executed on the mosque grounds, with around 86 of the bodies being thrown in the nearby well and the rest burned inside a shed. The executions were largely carried out by bayonet, with instances of decapitation also being noted. After the massacre, the remaining Albanians were let go, but would be fired upon after their release, with a number being killed or injured during their flight. A further 56 Albanians had also been massacred near the mill of Veli Xhaka, with their bodies being thrown in the wells of the Xhakallarë mahala. In the immediate aftermath of the massacre, a phenomenon of women stealing and burying the leftover remains of male relatives or family members was noted.[6]

On 6 May 1919 the Committee for the National Defence of Kosovo called for a general uprising in Albanian regions in Yugoslavia. Although the uprising was quelled by the Yugoslav army,[7] confrontations continued through the years 1920 and 1921,[8] 1923,[9][10]. Macedonian Archival sources show that in the first half of 1920, the activities for organizing an anti-Serb uprising among the Albanian committees were strong, with Kalosh Lazam Dani from Zajas being one of the two the main organizers of revolutionary activity in Vardar Macedonia.[11]

Zajas is the birthplace of the National Front (Balli Kombëtar) fighter Mefail Shehu, leader of the Kičevo region during the Second World War. The Balli Kombëtar committee held a meeting in Zajas in 1942.[12] Representatives of the Albanian tribes that attended the meeting elected Shehu as military commander of the region. Shehu's battalion patrolled villages around Zajas. At that period, the Ballist forces successfully repelled the Yugoslav partisans.[12]

Train tracks in Zajas

In October 1943, a general assembly was called in Zajas, where it was decided that the chairman of the committee of the Balli Kombëtar will be Mefail Shehu, along with Mefail Mehmeti as vice chairman, Begzat Vuli as treasurer and Skender Presevo as under prefect.[12] In the autumn of 1944, the village was captured by communist guerrillas amid a bloody battle.[13] After the battle, the OZNA killed 320 Albanians.[14]


During the Albanian insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia, Zajas became well known as the birthplace of Ali Ahmeti, the leader of the National Liberation Army and chairman of the DUI.


As of the 2021 census, Zajas had 2,567 residents with the following ethnic composition:[15]

  • Albanians 2,449
  • Persons for whom data are taken from administrative sources 117
  • Macedonians 1

According to the 2002 census, the village had a total of 4,712 inhabitants.[16] Ethnic groups in the village include:[16]


Zajas is notable for a distinct style of rudimentary polyphonic singing.[17]


Local football club KF Zajazi have played in the Macedonian Second League.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ Qerim Dalipi. "NAHIJA E KËRÇOVËS SIPAS REGJISTRIMIT TË VITEVE 1467-1468 (Aspekte shoqërore)". Gjurmime Albanologjike - Seria e shkencave historike 47:29-48.
  2. ^ "Македония и Одринско. Статистика на населението от 1873 г." Македонски научен институт, София, 1995, с. 82-83, Петров, Гьорче. Материали по изучаванието на Македония, София 1896, с. 70,
  3. ^ Vasil Kanchov (1900). Macedonia: Ethnography and Statistics. Sofia. p. 258.
  4. ^ Purellku, Halim (2009). "KAZAJA E KËRÇOVËS NË KRYENGRITJEN E PËRGJITHSHME SHQIPTARE TË VITIT 1912". Studime Albanologjike. ITSH: 65.
  5. ^ Halimi, Naim (2013). "SHQIPTARËT E MAQEDONISË NË LUFTËRAT BALLKANIKE (1912-1913)". Studime Albanologjike. ITSH: 74.
  6. ^ Hyseni, Safet (2007). Varrezat masive në Kërçovë dhe rrethinë. Kičevo: DEA. p. 77-85. ISBN 9789989143373.
  7. ^ Robert Elsie (November 15, 2010), Historical Dictionary of Kosovo, Historical Dictionaries of Europe, vol. 79 (2 ed.), Scarecrow Press, p. 64, ISBN 978-0810872318
  8. ^ Bujar Lulaj (2012-09-22), Rrefimet e sekretarit konfidencial te Bajram Currit (in Albanian), Dielli, archived from the original on 2014-02-01, retrieved 2014-01-31, Në vitin 1920 gazeta "Populli" do njoftonte se në Kosovë bëhen luftime të rrepta midis çetave kryengritëse dhe ushtrisë. Azem Galica bënte betejë, Idriz Seferi, po kështu Hasan Budakova ishin në krye të çetave. Tahir Zajmi e lajmëronte Bajram Currin se: Morali i shqiptarëve të Kosovës është aq i mirë saqë smund të tregohet…Kjo letër e entuziazmoi Bajram Currin. Edhe në vitin 1921 që mbahet mend si vit i masakrës së shfrenuar serbe mbi popullsinë, janë zhvilluar luftime në Gjilan, Tetovë, Prizren, Kaçanik, Prishtinë, Mitrovicë, Kumanovë etj.
  9. ^ Studia Albanica (in French), vol. 26, Universiteti Shtetëror i Tiranës; Instituti i Historisë (Akademia e Shkencave e RPS të Shqipërisë), 1989, p. 29, ISSN 0585-5047, OCLC 1996482
  10. ^ Studime historike (in Albanian), vol. 41, Akademia e Shkencave, Instituti i Historisë, 1987, p. 63, ISSN 0563-5799, OCLC 3648264
  11. ^ Azizi, Isamedin (2016). "BASHKËPUNIMI NDËRMJET KOMITETIT TË KOSOVËS DHE KOMITETIT MAQEDONAS 1918-1920". Studime Albanologjike. ITSH: 137.
  12. ^ a b c former ballist Safet Hyseni. "Safet Hyseni: Mefail Shehu (Zajazi) alias Mefaili i Madh, një strateg ushtarak". Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  13. ^ Нешков, Темелко. Раздяла няма. Македония срещу македонизма, София 2014, с. 40.
  14. ^ Culaj, Lush (2005). Shqiptarët në gjysmën e parë të shekullit XX (in Albanian). Instituti Albanologjik i Prishtinës. ISBN 978-9951-411-15-8.
  15. ^ Total resident population of the Republic of North Macedonia by ethnic affiliation, by settlement, Census 2021
  16. ^ a b Macedonian Census (2002), Book 5 - Total population according to the Ethnic Affiliation, Mother Tongue and Religion, The State Statistical Office, Skopje, 2002, p. 103.
  17. ^ Aleks Buda (1985), Fjalor enciklopedik shqiptar, Akademia e Shkencave e RPSSH, p. 540, OCLC 15296028

External linksEdit