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Prilep (Municipality, North Macedonia)


Last modified: 2019-09-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: prilep | vitolište | topolčani |
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Flag of Prilep - Image by Mello Luchtenberg, 1 April 2007

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Presentation of Prilep

The municipality of Prilep (76,768 inhabitants; 1,194.44 sq. km) is made of the town of Prilep and the 58 settlements of Alnici, Belovodica, Berovci, Bešište, Bonče, Veprčani, Veselčani, Vitolište, Volkovo, Vrpsko, Galičani, Golem Padobil, Golemo Konjari, Guđakovo, Dabnica, Dren, Dunje, Erekovci, Živovo, Zagorani, Kadino Selo, Kalen, Kanatlarce, Knepač, Kokre, Kruševica, Krstec, Leništa, Lopatica, Mažučište, Mal Radobil, Malo Konjari, Malo Ruvci, Manastir, Marul, Nikodin, Novo Lagovo, Oreovec, Peštani, Pletvar, Podmol, Polčište, Prilepec, Pricad, Pakle, Selce, Smolani, Staro Lagovo, Toplica, Trojaci, Topolčani, Trojkrsti, Carevikje, Čaniš Čepigovo, Čumovo, Šeleverce and Šavica.

The town of Prilep is located in northern Pelagonia. Roman remains are common all over the region of Prilip. A necropolis and remains of city walls have been allocated to the town of Ceramiae, shown on the Peutinger Table. The monastery of Varos contains several Roman monuments, indluding the tomb of the "Thracian Rider" and other inscribed monuments. The remains of the town of Styberra are located on the Bedem hill, near the village of Čepigovo. The town was already important during the Roman-Macedonian wars, being located on the crossroads of the Heraclea-Stobi way and the road of the river Erigon heading to the mining district of (now) Demir Hisar. The town had a temple dedidated to the local deity Tyche. Styberra was destroyed by the Goths in 268 and never rebuilt. The Goths abandoned the city that remained well preserved, winning the nickname of "Macedonian Pompeii". Marble sculptors of Styberra were particularly skillful, which allowed them to challenge the dominance of their rivals from Stobi. The today's village of Bela Crkva, located 6 km west of Styberra, is the probable site of the town of Alkomenai; as the entrance of a gate linking Illyria to Pelagonia, it was a Macedonian and then Roman stronghold. The mountain (1,100 m a.s.l.) monastery of Treskavec (12th century), located 10 km north of Prilep, is the probable site of the town of Kolobaise, a natural citadel whose name is listed on a stone associated with the local cult of Ephesian Artemis; the stone was reused as a base for a cross on one of the church domes.

The old fortress of Prilep was reused by the successive rulers of the region. In the Middle Ages, "King" Marko rebuilt and fortified the citadel, so that Prilep is still known as "The Town under Marko's Towers" (Markovi Kuli). Marko (c. 1335-1395, Krali Marko for the Macedonians, Marko Kraljević for the Serbs) is an historical character on whom very little is known except he was from a powerful Serbian feudal family, and who became a legendary anti-Ottoman fighter in the Macedonian folklore. In 1914, Dimitriya Čupovski wrote the poem "King Marko", in which he encouraged the Macedonians to get rid of the "triple tyranny" and fight for independence.
Another famous Macedonian hero, Tsar Samuel, retired in the fortress after the disaster of Belasica; his soldiers blinded by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II gathered here and the king died from a heart attack on 6 October 1014. His state, which he had set up in 976, was eventually suppressed by the Byzantines in 1018.
On 3 November 1912, the Serbian and Ottoman armies met near Prilep; three days later, the Ottoman army was forced to retreat. On 11 October 1941, the uprising against the Fascist rule started in Prilep and Kumanovo; it is recalled in Prilep by the Memorial of the Undefeated and the nickname "The Heroic Town" awarded to the town.

Prilep is known for the production of the high-quality tobacco type Prilep (bred in 1930), highly prized by the world largest cigarette makers. The Institute of Tobacco was set up in Prilep, where several new varieties were bred; this was the first successful use of plant genetics in the Balkan. Another highly prized product of Prilep is the mountain marble Sivec.
Prilep was and still is an important center of the Macedonian culture. The old downtown has kept its Ottoman bazar and its clock tower (Saat Kula, 19th century). The Institute of Old Slavic Culture was set up in the town, as well as an International Art Colony and the national Theater Festival, celebrating the local writer Vojdan Cernodrinski, who is considered as the first modern Macedonian playwright. The movie "Before the Rain", by Milco Mančevski (Golden Lion for the best movie, Venice, 1995), was partially shot near Prilep (but takes place in fabled Macedonian mountains).

In 2005, a teenager from Prilep became internationally famous after haaving hacked the computer system of the University of Hiroshima, in Japan; since he did not cause any damage, he was not prosecuted but asked to quit hacking.

Source: FAQ Macedonia website

Ivan Sache, 7 April 2007

Flag of Prilep

The flag of Prilep (Macedonian Ministry of Local Self-Government website, page no longer online), is dark blue with the municipal coat of arms, outlined in white, in the center.
The coat of arms is dark blue with the dark blue silhouette of mountains (probably with Marko's Towers) lit by a Macedonian-like white sun. Below the mountain are three white statues from the Memorial of the Undefeated and the name of the municipality in white Cyrillic letters.

Ivan Sache, 7 April 2007

Former municipalities


[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of Vitolište, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Mello Luchtenberg & António Martins, 19 November 2006

The municipality of Vitolište (494 inhabitants in 2002; 495 sq. km) was incorporated to the municipality of Prilep in 2004.
Vitolište is the main village of the mountain region of Mariovo. The region is made of barren and dry hills separated by deep river gorges and surrounded by high mountains; it is considered as one of the most unaccessible areas in North Macedonia. The villagers still wear specific traditional costumes.

The flag of Vitolište is in proportion 1:2, based on a blue-yellow-green design.
The flag is shown as vertical on the Macedonian Ministry of Local Self-Government website (first version, page no longer online), and as horizontal on the Macedonian Ministry of Local Self-Government website (second version, page no longer online, either). On that page, the coat of arms of Vitolište is shown, depicting a sheep on a local landscape. It is quite clear that the flag was derived from the coat of arms with the landscape sketched as a green pasture dominated by two mountains and the sky.

Ivan Sache, 19 November 2006

Former municipality of Topolčani


Flag of Topolčani - Image by Mello Luchtenberg & António Martins, 19 November 2006

The municipality of Topolčani (2,923 inhabitants in 2006; 129 sq. km), located just half way between Bitola and Prilep, was incorporated to the municipality of Prilep in 2004. Topolčani is known of archeologists for the finding of posthumous coins (golden distaters and staters) representing King of Macedonia Philip II.

The flag of Topolčani (Macedonian Ministry of Local Self-Government website, page no longer online), is vertical, blue with two interlaced red and yellow rings placed vertically in the center of the flag (the red ring above the yellow one in the left part and the yellow one over the red one in the right part).

Željko Heimer & Ivan Sache, 10 June 2006