|Administrative region:||West Macedonia|
|Population statistics (as of 2001)|
|Time zone:||EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)|
Perasma (Greek: Πέρασμα; Bulgarian and Macedonian Slavic: Кучковени, Kučkoveni, Greek: Κουτσκοβαίνη, Koutskovaini) is a village and a former municipality in Florina regional unit, West Macedonia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Florina, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located in a plain, 6 km southeast of Florina. The population was 5,510 in 2001.
Perasma is neighboured by the villages of Ammochori, Skopia, Kolchiki, and Tropaiouchos.
Before the Hellenisation of the village name in 1926, the village was locally known as Kučkoveni. Before then, it was known as Kruševo or Blizna Kruša. The reason for this name was because the village flourished with vegetation, specifically Pears (which translates to Kruša in the Slavic dialect). During the Byzantine era, the village was called Tumbata (meaning on a hill - where the village was situated at the time). Before Tumbata, it was called Kitutsi (for unknown reasons, possibly of Latin or Ancient Greek origin). The name Kučkoveni has said to come about during the 15th century. Kučko in the local Slavic dialect means female dog, which depicts an old tale that has been passed down from the great forefathers of the region.
Originally, there was a church that was situated just north of the initial village. During this time, the locals believed that their town and people were under a so-called curse which resulted with many dying, and with the reason unknown. One day, a female dog ironically ran past the village's church and had ten little babies, all of whom were extremely healthy and were nurtured by their mother. A male villager who was making his way to hunt rabbits over the hills saw the little puppies nestling peacefully. The man was astonished about what he had saw, which was perhaps a sign of healthy life, so went back to the main village in order to explain to the others. Once the locals heard, they finally believed that the area was truly blessed by their great monastery. So, as time went on, they finally decided to burn down the original village and create a new one north of the church. From them on, this plague which killed nearly everything in the region had stopped and the population overall grew miraculously.
The new Greek name for the village, Perasma, directly translates to pathway. In some other historical documents, the name in Greek has also been Skylochori meaning dog village.
The settlement was first mentioned in an Ottoman defter of 1481, under the name of Kučkovjani, and was described as having sixty-seven households. The locals of the village produced many freshly-grown crops that were kept or sold in the Florinian markets, like garlic and onions.
The village had approximately 100,000 kg of wheat, 150,000 kg of corn and 25,000 kg of rye at one point in time. The houses were said to have been made from hay and soil, which as a result created a type of brick.
During the times of the Ottoman Empire, Perasma was under the Church Dioscese of Kastoria, which was also when their main monastery, Agioi Anargyroi, was built in 1300. In 1845 the Russian slavist Victor Grigorovich recorded Kuchkovini (Кучковини) as mainly Bulgarian village.
During the 17th and early 18th centuries, the village was Orthodox and refused to fall under the Muslim supremacy of the Turks. The first school of the village taught the Greek language to the pupils, and included the following teachers: A. Kousmanis from the village of Skopia, G. Konstantinidis, K. Gitskalis, P. Klekatsis, G. Papadimitriou and Papanousis from Drosopigi. As a result of the rise of Bulgarian nationalism in Macedonia the village created such revolutionary figures as Koche Deloff - the Florina leader of the Bulgarian Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, who was killed by the Young Turks near the villages of Flambouro and Drosopigi. According to the Bulgarian council in Monastir, Andrey Toshev, the population of the village (46 houses) became under the supremacy of the Bulgarian Exarchate in 1902. The "La Macédoine et sa Population Chrétienne" survey by Dimitar Mishev concluded that the Christian population in 1905 was composed of 760 Bulgarian Exarchists.
During the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II, the Germans placed a Bulgarian council in Perasma, which consisted of local people from the village such as Kosta Nedelkoff, Todor Popdimitroff, Nase Gagapoff, Iliya Popstoyanoff, Dimitriya Kincharoff, Pandel Gichkaloff, Nikola Popstoyanoff, Iliya Pirganoff and Boris Nedelkoff. Once the Axis powers lost their complete control over the Greek region, many of these men were sentenced to years in prison - some were sent as far as Gyaros Island in the Aegean gulf. The history mentions a range of killings and thievery by German troops who entered the village during the middle 1940s. Once the Greek Civil War erupted post WWII, most Perasmiotes sided with the communist parties - KKE and/or NOF. In 1948, 300 men from Perasma were sentenced to prison by the Greek government for being former "collaborators with the Bulgarian Ohrana troops during WWII". When the Civil War was won by the royal army of Greece, many villagers were forced to flee the village and move elsewhere past the borders. The majority of them settled in Yugoslavia, but some in Poland, and even Russia.
During and after the Greek Civil War, many villagers were exiled to communist countries (Yugoslavia, Poland and even Russia). Others immigrated to nations with much more security and wealth to offer - Australia, Canada and USA. The people still found many ways to keep their community alive and together, by setting up various clubs around the different cities. The Kouchkovski Social Club, Melbourne Australia is one of the most well-known groups around today, having commenced in the 1950s. The club is currently run by Steven Kyriakopoulos, Louis Krushorovski and Stavros Mavridis, with the past president being George Novatsis. These clubs are aimed at increasing health and well-being by participating in community activities and various programs. The name of Melbourne's club is not without contention among the Perasma community of Melbourne, as it fails to reflect both the Greek and distinct Slavic - Macedonian heritage of the villagers; many feel a more appropriate name may be the "Perasma-Kouchkoini Social Club of Melbourne, Australia" and in large part this fact (among others) is the reason for the largely ageing and declining membership of the club as of today. (Also witness the practical absence of any Melbourne born Perasma origin second or third generation members).
- De Facto Population of Greece Population and Housing Census of March 18th, 2001 (PDF 793 KB). National Statistical Service of Greece. 2003.
- Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
- Oral tales and history of the village
- Kravari, Vassiliki (1989) (in French). Villes et villages de Macédoine occidentale. Realites byzantines. 2. Paris: Editions P. Lethielleux. p. 290. ISBN 2-283-60452-4.
- Григорович, В. Очерки путешествiя по Европейской Турцiи, Москва, 1877
- Historical Insight
- Георгиев, Величко, Стайко Трифонов. Гръцката и сръбската пропаганди в Македония. Краят на XIX — началото на ХХ век, София, Македонски научен институт, 1995, стр. 26.
- bg:Кочо Дельов
- D.M.Brancoff. "La Macédoine et sa Population Chrétienne". Paris, 1905, р. 176-177.
- Kouchkovski Social Club in Reservoir, Victoria