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Goce Delčev Square
Goce Delčev Square
Flag of Strumica
Coat of arms of Strumica
Coat of arms
Strumica is located in Republic of Macedonia
Location within Macedonia
Coordinates: 41°26′N 22°38′E / 41.433°N 22.633°E / 41.433; 22.633Coordinates: 41°26′N 22°38′E / 41.433°N 22.633°E / 41.433; 22.633
Country Flag of Macedonia.svg Macedonia
Municipality Strumica municipality
Founded 1920
 • Mayor Zoran Zaev
 • Total 35 311
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 2400
Area code(s) +389 34
Car plates SR
Patron saints Holy Fifteen Hieromartyrs of Tiberiopolis

Strumica (Macedonian: Струмица [ˈstrumit͡sa] ( )) is the largest city[1] in eastern Republic of Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city. It is named after the Strumica River which runs through it. The city of Strumica is the seat of Strumica Municipality.


The town is first mentioned in 2nd century BC with the Hellenic name Αστραίον (Astraîon, Hellenic for "starry")[2] by Ptolemy and Pliny. It was later known as Tiveriopolis; it received its present name from the Slavic settlers of the Middle Ages. In modern Greek the town is known as Στρώμνιτσα (Strómnitsa), and its name in Turkish is Ustrumca.


Strumica at the end of the 19th century.

Ancient period[edit]

According to archeological research, the beginning of continuous life in Strumica dates back to 6th millennium B.C., a fact proved by the neolith settlement Stranata near the village Angelci, as well as by the findings from the Czar’s Towers site nearby Strumica, where traces of a prehistoric culture which existed from the late a neolith until early Bronze Age (early 4th to mid 3rd millennium B.C.) were discovered. The area was populated later by the Paionians.

The first mention of the city under the name Astraion is in the writings of the Roman historian Titus Livius in 181 B.C. regarding the execution of Demetrius, brother of the Macedonian king Perseus (179-168 B.C.), son of Philip V of Macedon (221-179 B.C.). The name Astraion came from the Paionian tribe called Astrai. In 168 B.C. Macedonia became a Roman protectorate and was subsequently divided into four regions (meridas). Astraion fell into the second merida. In 148 B.C. Macedonia became a Roman province. In the Roman period the city changed its name to Tiveriopolis, which is evidenced by a marble statue base dedicated to the patron Tiberius Claudius Menon, who lived between the late 2nd and early 3rd century. During the reign of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 A.D.), the fifteen holy hieromartyrs of Tiveriopolis were killed. In 395 A.D., the Roman Empire split, and Macedonia fell under the Eastern Empire. After that, Tiveriopolis became part of the province Macedonia Salutaris in the late 4th century and part of Macedonia Secunda in the late 5th century. The urban mansion Machuk dating from the late ancient period today stands witness for the existence of a city settlement from that time.

Byzantine and Slavic periods[edit]

Due to the migration of the Slavs, which took place from the sixties of the 6th century until the thirties of the 7th century, the city suffered a major destruction. The area was settled by the Slavic tribe Strumicani who took their name after the Strymon River, which, in turn, they named Struma. For a short while, the sclavin of the Strumjani existed until it was conquered by Byzantium. From 845 to 855, the Byzantine military administrator of the Bregalnica-Strumica region was Methodius. Later on, the Strumica region was conquered by the Bulgarian ruler Boris I (852-889). The Strumica region remained part of the Bulgarian state until 1014 A.D. In the 11th century written sources for the first time begin to refer to the city as Strumica. By the end of the 12th century, the Byzantine central power had weakened and, as a result, many feudal lords broke away and became independent. Such independent lords in the Strumica region were Dobromir Hris (1185-1202) and later Dobromir Strez (1208-1214). But the Byzantines, Bulgarians and Serbs eventually put an end to the existence of their independent lordships. The end of the 13th century marks the beginning of Serbian attacks on Macedonia. Hrelja would rule with Strumica and the nearby region, until 1334, when the Serbian king Stefan Dushan took over the city. After the fall of Dushan’s kingdom, the Strumica region was first ruled by Uglesha, the brother of Volkashin. The Turks als conquered Strumica in 1383. This marked the end of the Middle Ages in the region.

Ottoman period[edit]

Throughout the Ottoman period, the Turkish administration used the name Üstrümce for Strumica. The city was added to the Kyustendil sanjak, and the timar-spahi system was established. Nomads and livestock breeders of Turkish origin were settled, which altered the general look of the city making it more oriental. According to the census of 1519, Strumica had a population of 2,780, of which 1,450 were Christians and 1,330 were Muslims. These were times when conversion to Islam was at its peak in the region, which accounts for the increased number of Muslims (2,200) compared to Christians (1,230) according to the census of 1570.

In the 17th Century, Strumica became seat of a kadilik. At about this time, Strumica was visited by the Turkish travel writers Haji Kalfa (1665) and Evliya Çelebi (1670), who gave a description of the city making note of all Muslim buildings that were then found in Strumica. In the late 18th and early 19th Century, Strumica was part of the Solun sanjak. During the 19th Century the patriarchy movement picked up, and the number of pro-Greek citizens soared. This resulted in a strong anti-patriarchy movement during the 60s of the 19th Century. The first Bulgarian school in the Strumica region was opened in Robovo in 1860, and its first teacher was Arseni Kostencev from Stip. This period coincided with the work of the great masters of fresco painting from Strumica – Vasil Gjorgiev and Grigorij Petsanov. They worked on the frescos and icons of many churches that were built in the Strumica region at the time. Following the Berlin Congress of 1878, when Turkey lost a sizable portion of its territory on the Balkans, a stream of refugees flowed into the area; some of them ending up in Strumica.

These people were called muhajirs. The Bulgarian Macedonian Adrianople Revolutionary Committee for the Ograzden county was formed and operated in these parts. One of the most prominent leaders of the revolutionary organization in Strumica was Hristo Chernopeev, who took part in the Young Turk Revolution of 1908-1909. The outcome of this effort did not bring freedom to the local people who still remained under Turkish rule.

20th Century[edit]

In the First Balkan War of 1912 the Turks were defeated by the joint effort of the Balkan allies Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro, and driven out of Macedonia, including Strumica. Bulgaria annexed the town of Strumica.

In the Second Balkan War (1913), which was among the Balkan allies for partition of Macedonia, Bulgaria was defeated. However, according to the Bucharest Peace Treaty (28 July 1913) Strumica stayed under the rule of Bulgaria. The Greek armies, stationed in Strumica, were revolted by the decision for withdrawal and set the town on fire. It burned from 8 until 15 August 1913, when more than 1900 public buildings, private houses and other constructions were burnt. Strumica stayed under the rule of Bulgaria until 1919 (when with the Versailles Peace Treaty the First World War was over) then entered the Kingdom of SHS (Serbs, Croatians and Slovenians; from 1929, Kingdom Yugoslavia).

Local people had no rights in that Kingdom and were assimilated by Serbia. In the Second World War Strumica was captured by the German army on 6 April 1941 and, by means of the agreement for alliance with Bulgaria, Strumica was turned over under occupation of the Bulgarian armies on 18 April 1941. On 11 September 1944 the Bulgarian army withdraw from Strumica and on 5 November 1944, the town was left by the German army. After the war Macedonian people entered the Federation Yugoslavia as egalitarian people. However, with the referendum on 8 September 1991, Macedonia became an independent country.


Strumica's population is 54,676.[3]

Monument "Lady with a mask" dedicated to the carnival


Strumica is the main agricultural center in the Republic of Macedonia. It has food industry, textile factories and a developed domestic and international trade network.


The city of Strumica has four primary schools: Vidoe Podgorec, Sando Masev, Marshal Tito and Nikola Vapcarov; three high schools: Jane Sandanski, Nikola Karev and Dimitar Vlahov; one dispersed university Goce Delcev, which has three faculties, including Teacher Training, Economic, and Agriculture; first private university "FON," which has six faculties, including Law, Economy, Sport Management, Detectives and Security, Communication and IT, Foreign Languages; and a music school Boro Dzoni.


The new local council and mayor was elected in 2009. The current and re-elected mayor of Strumica is Zoran Zaev of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia party.


There are three main football clubs. FK Horizont Turnovo plays in the Macedonian first division, while FK Belasica play in the second and FK Tiverija in the third.

Two basketball clubs train and play in Strumica after reorganization of KK Strumica 2005: KK Aba and KK Milenium. Volleyball clubs in Strumica are OK Makedonija-Gio, OK Strumica, and women's team OK Makedonija-Maks. Handball team RK Zomimak-M is also present.


There are two private local TV stations operating in Strumica — TV kanal VIS, INTEL Televizija — Radio StrumicaNet and two cable TV providers: NetCable and Telekabel.

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ 2002 census results in English and Macedonian (PDF)
  2. ^ Branigan, Keith (1992). Lexicon of the Greek and Roman cities and place names in antiquity, ca. 1500. Adolf M. Hakkert. ISBN 90-256-0985-6. . Text says "Unlocated town in Macedonia, also called Astraion, mentioned by Ptolemy and Pliny"
  3. ^ Државен завод за статистика: Попис на населението, домаќинствата и становите во Република Македонија, 2002: Дефинитивни податоци (PDF) (Macedonian)

External links[edit]