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Antartiko (Greek: Ανταρτικό, Bulgarian/Macedonian Slavic: Желево, Želevo, Zhelevo, "Zelova") is a village in the Prespes Municipality in Macedonia. Nestled in the mountains to the west of Florina at an altitude of 1047 metres, the village has suffered from a long decline in population and influence.


The area had been settled for hundreds of years under the original Slavic name of Zhelevo and there are two old churches testifying to the villages' age.[citation needed] Following the Greek occupation of the area in 1913, Zhelevo was renamed to Antartiko in the 1920s as part of the government's policy of hellenization. On an Austro-Hungarian military survey map from 1900, the name of the village appears as Zelova, or alternatively Zelin.[1] Antartiko had a population of approximately 2000 people[citation needed] in the early 20th century but starting in the 1920s, many of its residents began to emigrate elsewhere. The village population dropped from 1345 people in 1940 to 605 people in 1961,[2] 196 people in 1981, and 133 people in 1991. The village had a local newspaper by 1933.[3]

The church St. Nikolay was built in the early 18th century.[4] The second church in the village, St. Atanas, was built under the initiative of the local benefactor and the activist of the Bulgarian Revival Movement Pavle Yankov in 1880s, but the Greek Bishop of Kastoria refused to sanctify it because of Slavic inscriptions. The inscriptions were not removed until 1908.[5]

The first attempt to open a Bulgarian school was made by locals in 1883, but was unsuccessful because of the opposition of the Greek teacher.[6]

The village was a base for the Greek andartes in the struggle with the detachments of IMORO in the beginning of 20th century. Local inhabitants took part in this struggle on both sides led by Pavlo Athanse for the Greek Andartes.[7] The main part of the population of the village came under the supremacy of the Bulgarian Exarchate towards the end of the first decade of 20th century. According to officials of the Exarchate, in 1909 over 200 households were under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Exarchate and 50 under the Patriarchate of Constantinople).[8] Until the summer of 1908 the Exarchate families were served by the Bulgarian priest from the neighboring village of Oshtima (present-day Trigono). Several weeks after the Young Turk Revolution the first Exarchate priest, local resident Ivan Trayanov, started his work in Zhelevo.[9]

The village was an important staging ground for the French forces, l’Armee d’Orient, during the WWI, and an active combat area,[10] with two French 120 mm artillery pieces stationed at the village.[11] Turkish troops were active in the village on December 12, 1912.[12] It was the furthest west staging area for the French Army, who then advanced to the West of Lake Prespa as part of the Vardar Offensive. The French 175th Combat Infantry passed through the village on Aug. 30th, 1917.[13] Russian forces stationed nearby were also evacuated from the village to Koritze by American ambulanciers.[14] It was during this period that the first automobile reached the village, driven by an American ambulancier through the Pisoderi Pass.[15][16][17] Due to its strategic importance, French forces improved the infrastructure in the area by laying telegraph lines from Antartiko to Florina, and improving the road from Florina through the Pisoderi pass to better accommodate mechanized vehicles. French soldier Jean Saison described the village in October 1916 as follows: “At Zelova we saw them shuttling between the corn fields and the village from morning and until night, climbing hard trails with a huge bale of straw on their heads. All pack animals and cattle had been removed by the troops. Here, under the eye of a man sitting lazily, cigarette in mouth, young and old fight corn cobs packed with a vengeance. Whether the grains are spread over the area or the ears adorn the windows in tightly packed rows, their bright yellow explodes next to dark red peppers and scarlet aprons, that give, under the sun, a wonderful color tableaux.”[18]

Many people emigrated to Canada, the United States and Australia. Today,[when?] the population of Antartiko is just over 100. According to a 1993 study, the village was inhabited by Slavophones and the Macedonian language was used by people over 30 years of age in public and in private.[19] In more recent decades, the area has seen an increase in illegal immigration from Albania, as the border is close by. The main industry of the area for a long time was farming, and a main road only connected the village with Florina in the last 50 years or so.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Studies in the History of the Greek Civil War, 1945-1949 by Lars Bærentzen, John O. Iatrides, 1987, p. 80
  3. ^ Hart, L. K. 2006. “Provincial Anthropology, Circumlocution, and the Copious Use of Everything.” In Anastasia Karakasidou and Fotini Tsimbiridou eds. The Journal of Modern Greek Studies: Special issue: Ethnography-ing Greece in Late Modernity. Volume 24, No. 2, October 2006. Pp. 307–346.
  4. ^ Tomev, Foto. Short history of Zhelevo village, Macedonia, Zhelevo Brotherhood, Toronto 1971, p. 19–20.
  5. ^ Tomev, Foto. Short history of Zhelevo village, Macedonia, Zhelevo Brotherhood, Toronto 1971, p. 20–24.
  6. ^ Tomev, Foto. Short history of Zhelevo village, Macedonia, Zhelevo Brotherhood, Toronto 1971, pp. 22-24.
  7. ^ L'Imbroglio Macedonie, Michel Paillares, Paris, 1907, p. 257. "Les principaux chefs d Antartes qui commandent dans le vilayet sont Vardas Manos Ver ghas Kahoudis Dalipi Pavlo Athanase Laki De laki Simon Laki Pirsa Vanghélis a été tué dans un combat par la bande d Ekchi Sou Dalipi est de Gabreche Pavlo Athanase est de Zelevo Delaki est de Vernik Simon est d'Armesko Pirsa est de Florina Vanghélis était de Streben Tous ces Macédoniens sont slavophones ainsi que la plupart des partisans Ils étaient révolutionnaires ils faisaient la guerre aux Turcs avec Marcof Petrof Tchakalarof et Kartsakof. Mais ils ont déserté les comités quand ils se sont aperçus que les Bulgares n avaient qu un but bulgariser les village Alors ils ont formé des bandes pour protéger l'Hellénisme."
  8. ^ Macedonia - documents and materials, Sofia 1978, N 111
  9. ^ Tomev, Foto. Short history of Zhelevo village, Macedonia, Zhelevo Brotherhood, Toronto 1971, p. 30-31.
  10. ^ The Stanford Illustrated Review, Volume 19, Issue 5, “The Stanford Balkan Ambulance Unit,” Frank Taylor, Feb. 1918. p. 163
  11. ^, p. 147
  12. ^ Türk silahlı kuvvetleri tarihi: cilt, 1. kısım. Garp Ordusu, Vardar Ordusu ve Ustruma Kolordusu 1993
  13. ^ Journal of Pierre Beau,
  14. ^ The Stanford Illustrated Review, Volume 19, Issue 5, “The Stanford Balkan Ambulance Unit,” Frank Taylor, Feb. 1918. p. 163. “Probably the worst run was to Zelova with Russian evacuations Zelova was fifty kilometers from the hospital at Koritza over the worst road a machine could navigate and the Russians were not good passengers.”
  15. ^ ”Across Albania with an American Ambulancier,” Travel, Robert Whitney Imbrie, April 1918. p. 12
  16. ^ History of the American Field Service in France, ʻFriends of France’, 1914-1917. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1920. edited by James William Davenport Seymour, p. 185
  17. ^ Behind the Wheel of a War Ambulance. Robert Whitney Imbrie, Robert M. McBride & Co. 1918. p. 195
  18. ^, p. 147
  19. ^ Riki Van Boeschoten. "Usage des langues minoritaires dans les départements de Florina et d’Aridea (Macédoine)"

Coordinates: 40°45′40″N 21°12′25″E / 40.761°N 21.207°E / 40.761; 21.207