Gucia (in Albanian)
|Elevation||1,014 m (3,327 ft)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Area code||+382 51|
|This section requires expansion. (July 2010)|
Unknown prior to the Ottoman conquests. Before the Ottoman Turks took control of the region, Plav-Gusinje (as it is collectively known) was under the control of various Albanian Catholic tribes. Ottoman Turks conquered the area sometime in the 15th century.
The founder of modern-day Gusinje was Dedë Shala, an Albanian Catholic. In 1455, Shala converted to Islam and became known as Omer-aga Shala. Shala was then awarded lands throughout the region from Ottoman authorities. His son, Hasan-aga Omeragaj built the first house in Gusinje upon the Grncar river, creating the Omeragaj branch in Gusinje. His other son, Tahir-aga Omeragaj created the Omeragaj branch in Plav. The Omeragaj (later Slavicised to Omeragići) family was the ruling family of Gusinje from 1461 up until the arrival of Veli Bey and his sons Ahmed, Redžep, and Ibrahim, who were Persians of Turkic origin that settled in Gusinje from Khorasan in 1590. From Veli Bey's son Redžep Pasha sprung the Redžepagić family, which grew to become one of the most prominent families in Gusinje for the remainder of Ottoman rule. According to Ottoman documents in Istanbul, dated from 1852, Gusinje was part of the Vilayet, or province, of Kosovo. From the late 15th to early 18th century many families from various parts of the Islamic World immigrated to the Vilayet of Kosovo. These documents from Istanbul show that families immigrated from Islamic Spain after the expulsion of the Muslims and Jews from Granada in 1492 to the Ottoman domain some settled in Gusinje. There were also a few Turkic families that settled in Gusinje during the 17th century.
Throughout Ottoman rule, many Albanians converted from Roman Catholicism to Islam. The majority of the citizens of Plav-Gusinje were of Albanian origin, hence the majority of the population was Catholic at the time, with the exception a few Eastern Orthodox families. By 1700 over 75% of the inhabitants of Plav-Gusinje embraced Islam.
Congress of Berlin and Conflict with Montenegro
Ottoman rule was passed onto Montenegro by decision of the Congress of Berlin in 1878. However, this decision was unpopular among the local population, the majority of whom were ethnic Albanians in the League of Prizren. The local Albanians and the League of Prizren asserted they would not surrender their territory to Montenegro. The Ottoman Empire desired to comply with the Treaty of Berlin but also wished to avoid risking new revolts among the Albanians who comprised a large part of their territory and were perceived to be generally loyal to their rule. Thus the Empire failed to either negotiate or enforce compliance. Hence, Prince Nicholas of Montenegro began military offensives, striking the villages of Pepaj and Arzhanicë on October 31 - November 1, 1879. The locals resisted these offensives and sparked a significant mobilization of Albanian volunteers to Gusinje and Plav from other regions. On December 4, 1879, Montenegrin forces under the command of Marko Miljanov launched an attack at the Valley of Nokshiq. The League of Prizren was led by Ali Pasha of Gucia and halted the Montenegrin advance. Though both sides suffered significant casualties, the Albanian determination alarmed both the Great Powers and the Ottoman Empire and signaled future complications. Further attempts were made to force Gusinje and Plav to surrender in compliance with Berlin, but the attempts failed. Prince Nikolla, therefore, sent approximately 9,000 troops to the front. This was matched by the League of Prizren's mobilizing approximately 7,000 troops and volunteers from various lands claimed by the League to defend Gusinje and Plav. On January 8, 1880, the Albanian forces defeated the Montenegrin troops, a victory that helped form international perceptions of the Albanians as a people with national consciousness and prodded the Great Powers to consider alternative solutions for Gusinje.
Between 1878 and 1912, Plav and Gusinje existed as a de facto independent state.
Notable places to visit
There is a spring near the town - called Alipašini Izvori - where whole river emerges directly from a rock in many small springs. There are not many tourists in the town, so it's a good pleace to experience the local food and hospitality. There are many bistros in the town, serving mainly Balkan specialities called ćevapi. On the main road there is a sweet-shop serving great cakes and sweets and also coffee prepared in cezve for very reasonable prices.
Population of Gusinje:
- 1948 - 9,439
- 1953 - 9,546
- 1961 - 9,797
- 1971 - 9,571
- 1981 - 5,903
- 1991 - 2,472
- 2003 - 1,704
Ethnicity in 2003
|This section requires expansion. (July 2010)|
The history and origins of Gusinje are...
- Springs of Ali Pasha, named after Ali Pasha of Gusinje, are the premium attraction of the town. This place is packed with people especially on August 2 which marks the independence day of Gusinje. Annually thousands of people gather to celebrate through dance, music, and delicious food.
- Prokletije Mountains, famous for its massive peaks and excellent hiking trails. These mountains are the biggest in Montenegro which is indicated by the snow on the peaks even in the hot summer days.
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- Ali Pasha of Gusinje, Albanian politician
- Rexho Mulliqi, Albanian composer
- Dženan Radončić, Montenegrin footballer
- Fahrudin Radončić, Bosnian businessman, founder of Dnevni Avaz in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Zuvdija Hodzic, Montenegrin author
- Ekrem Jevrić, Montenegrin singer
- Beki Bekic, Montenegrin singer
- Gawrych, George. The Crescent and the Eagle: Ottoman Rule, Islam, and the Albanians, 1874-1913. London: I.B. Tauris, 2006. pp. 61-62.
- Frashëri, Kristo. Historia e Popullit Shqiptar, vol. 2. Chapter V. pp. 178-183.
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