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Geographic region in Kosovo[a] (unofficial)
Opolje location within the Prizren municipality.
Opolje location within the Prizren municipality.
Country Kosovo [a]
District District of Prizren
Municipality Prizren
Largest town Kapra
 • Total 108 km2 (42 sq mi)
Population (1981)c
 • Total 18,036
 • Density 170/km2 (430/sq mi)

b .

c .

Opolje (Serbian Cyrillic: Опоље) or Opoja (in Albanian) is a region in the southern part of the municipality of Prizren in southern Kosovo[a].


The region of Opolje includes 19 settlements:


The name Opolje is of Slavic, Serbian origin.[1] According to Milisav Lutovac, the name "had to do with the inhabited localities dotted around a field".[1] The name also appears in Lower Silesia, in Poland - Opole,[1] and in Russia - Opolye.


Gora, in a collective term, refers to both the Gorani-inhabited Gora (which greater part is in Kosovo, the rest in Albania and Macedonia), and its sub-region Opolje, which is inhabited by Albanians.[2] According to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (1955), Opolje had an area of ca. 108 km2, while Gora had an area of ca. 500 km2.[2] Sheltered by high mountain ranges of strong and cold winds, Gora and Opolje does not have harsh winters.[3] There is no natural border between Gora and Opolje, while the northern part of the town of Dragaš has been considered part of Opolje as well.

Opolje is one of the traditional župa (county) in the Šar Mountains massif in southern Kosovo, alongside Sredačka Župa, Sirinićka Župa, Gora and Prizrenski Podgor.[4] In the west of Opolje is the region of Lumë, which extends in both Kosovo and Albania.[5]


Middle Ages[edit]

The villages of Brodosavce, was mentioned in a charter dated 1330, of King Stephen Uroš III. The ruins of the Zinovo fortress is most likely located beneath Brodosavce. There exists ruins of medieval Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries in Brodosavce, Brut, Plajnik, while old Serbian cemeteries exist in several of the villages.

The Serbian rulers King Stephen Uroš III (in 1326) and Emperor Stephen Dušan (in 1348, 1355) mentioned many of the Opolje and Gora villages in their charters, which shows that they existed before those dates.[1] Opolje was a church estate of the Church of the Holy Theotokos in Prizren throughout the Middle Ages.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1455, the southern territories of the Serbian Despotate were annexed by the Ottomans, and organized into the beylerbeylik of Rumelia. Gora, in its broadest meaning, became a nahiyah of the Sanjak of Prizren.[7] The Ottoman conquest resulted in the old trade routes that linked the Adriatic to the Aegean and Black sea lost their importance because of the insecurity on the roads, and the towns and villages along the roads stopped growing.[7] In the 15th century, there were no Albanian settlements in Gora and Opolje.[8] There are no sources which name Opolje a nahiya in the 15th century.[9]

The Ottoman defter from 1591 registers Gora as inhabited exclusively by Serbs, while Opolje to the north is Albanian populated.[10] In the early 16th century, Opolje and the other Šar župas were governed by the powerful feudal tyrant Kukli-Bey of Bukhara,[6][11] a period which is marked with the beginning of Islamization of Opolje.[11][12][13] Kukli-Bey was seated in Opolje, and after his death, the local villagers were given the lands, and used the mountains in the outskirts of the villages.[6] A radical ethnic change was effected by forced Islamization of Serbs, expulsion of remaining Christians and settling of Albanians from Has and Ljuma.[11] The Albanians, initially from Mirdita, crossed the Zeta road and overcame Ljum, then eventually crossed into the Šar (Opolje), and Metohija. [14] This wave of settlers most likely crossed through the Vezir's Bridge, and Ljum Bridge, near Ljum-Kula.[14] Gora initially successfully resisted Islamization;[7] nor Sinan Pasha nor Kukli-Bey managed to Turkify Gora, but became Islamized much later.[12] The circumstances were extensively treated by Russian consul in Prizren Ivan Stepanovich Yastrebov, one of the most prominent researchers of Old Serbia and Albania.[11][12] The Serbian component in the ethnogenesis of the Opolje Albanians, as well as to Ljuma and Dukagjin (Metohija) Albanians, was, among other indicators, the absence of awareness of tribal affiliation, which is an characteristic of Albanized populations of ultimate Serbian origin.[15]


In 1913, Sredska, Opolje and Ljuma were economically tied to Prizren.[16]

From 1945 to [sometime after 1981] Opolje was part of the municipality of Gora, but was then given status of a municipality (due to its Albanian population, as opposed to Gora, which was inhabited by Muslims by nationality - Gorani people). It was abolished on November 3, 1992, under the law of the federal Federal Yugoslav Republic of Serbia, and instead joined into the municipality of Prizren. It was merged with Gora to form the municipality of Dragaš from 2000-2008 by the United Nations Mission (UNMIK). The Republic of Kosovo joined the region with the municipality of Prizren.


Preliminary 1981 census, Opolje settlements[17]
Ethnic groups
Belobrod 808 A, 808 (100%)
Bljač 1122 A, 1122 (100%)
Brezna 1971 A, 1964 (%); S, 1 (%); M, 6 (%)
Brodosavce 2499 A, 2499 (100%)
Brut 1095 A, 1094 (99.9%); O, 1 (0.1%)
Buča 770 A, 767 (); S, 1 (); M, 1 (); O, 1 ()
Buzec 240 A, 240 (100%)
Kapra 482 A, 482 (100%)
Kosovce 912 A, 912 (100%)
Kuklibeg 658 A, 655; M, 2; O, 1
Kukovce 1334 A, 1334 (100%)
Plajnik 528 A, 528 (100%)
Plava 973 A, 970; M, 3
Rence 473 A, 473 (100%)
Šajinovac 1254 A, 1252; M, 2
Zaplužje 1273 A, 1270; M, 3
Zgatar 822 A, 821; M, 1
Zjum Opoljski 457 A, 455; M, 2
Zrze 335 A, 333; M, 2
Total  ? (%), ? (%)  ? (%), ? (%)
A - Albanians, M - Muslims, S - Serbs, O - Others

The population of Opolje, in 19 localities, is totally homogenously Albanian. According to the 1981 census, Albanians constituted 99.9% of the Opolje population (18,003 of 18,036). The ethnic homogeneity of Opolje dates from long before, as evident from the 1948, 1953 and 1961 censuses, when 99.8% declared as Albanians. Opolje had an annual population growth in 1961-1971 of 33 per 1,000, and in 1971-1981, 29.8 per 1,000, which represents an enormous relative overpopulation (Albanian population boom); according to estimates for 1991, there were 173 people per 1 square kilometre, and in some villages, up to 250 per 1 square kilometre, all in conditions of scarce natural and economic resources.[18] The majority professes Islam.



  1. ^ a b c Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ a b c d Radovanovic, p. 8
  2. ^ a b Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti 1955, p. 234
  3. ^ Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti 1955, p. 236: "заклоњена високим планинским венцима од јаких и хладних ветрова, ни Гора ни Опоље немају оштру зиму."
  4. ^ Dedijer 1913, p. 230
  5. ^ Fejzulla Gjabri (Department of Culture of Albania), Information about the Heroic Epos in the Province of Luma
  6. ^ a b c Mikic 1988, p. 15: "силни Кукли-бег заузео је Опоље, оредњовековни црквени посед Богородичине цркве у Призрену, где је имао свој дворац. После ње- гове омрти сељаци су постали власници земље и корисници планине у границама села."
  7. ^ a b c Бурсаћ 2000, pp. 71-73 (Орхан Драгаш)
  8. ^ "Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. Odbor za onomastiku 1986, p. 94
  9. ^ MSC 1988: "Није, међутим, сачуван из XV века (или није засад познат) попис нахија Призрен, Хоча и Опоље, али за њих имамо пописе из друге половине XVI века, тако да из XV и XVI века имамо пописе свих метохијских насељених места."
  10. ^ TKGM, TD № 55 (412), (Defter sandžaka Prizren iz 1591. godine).
  11. ^ a b c d Radovanovic, p. 11
  12. ^ a b c Ivanic 1902, p. 19: "Дакле, ни Синан-паша ни Кукли-бег (који је потурчио српску област Опоље код Призрена), нису по- турчили Гору. Она се истурчила много доцније, шта више доцније од свију села у Старој Србији. 3 а о в о турчење су криви — вели Јастребов"
  13. ^ Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. Odbor za onomastiku 1986, p. 95
  14. ^ a b Cvijic 1966, p. 139: "Идући попречним путевима, наро- чито зетским, Арбанаси су превладали у Љуми, а затим и у другим шарпланинским жупама (Гора, Опоље) у околини Призрена, у Мето- хији и на Косову. Већина исељеника ове струје морала је прећи преко два метанастазичка прелаза,"
  15. ^ Radovanovic, p. 11; Лутовац М., Гора и Опоље (Gora and Opolje), стp. 277.
  16. ^ Dedijer 1913, p. 253: "Испод варошн су плодна Подрима и Подгор, затим ђаковички Хас, који је такође знатним делом упућен на призренску пијацу ; економски су за Призрен привезане и шар^ ске жупе Средска, Опоље и Љума."
  17. ^ 1981 Census, Kosovo (Preliminary)
  18. ^ Radovanovic, p. 13


  • Cvijić, Jovan (1966). Balkansko poluostrvo i južno-slovenske zemlje, Books 1-2 (2 ed.). Zavod za izdavanje udžbenika Socijalističke Republike Srbije. 
  • Lutovac, Milisav (Милисав Лутовац) (1955). Gora i Opolje [Гора н Опоље]. Београд: Антропогеографска испитивања (САНУ). 
  • Mikić, Đorđe (1988). Радован Самарџић, ed. Društvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih srba u XIX i početkom XX veka (in Serbian). Belgrade: Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. 
  • Radovanović, Milovan (2008). Kosovo i Metohija: antropogeografske, istorijskogeografske, demografske i geopolitičke osnove (in Serbian). Službeni Glasnik. 
  • Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti (1955). Srpski etnografski zbornik, Volume 69 (in Serbian). Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. 
  • Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. Odbor za onomastiku (1986). Contributions onomatologiques, Volume 7. Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°03′38″N 20°38′25″E / 42.06056°N 20.64028°E / 42.06056; 20.64028