CAREVI KULI – STRUMICA

Carevi Kuli is a recognizable monument of medieval architecture in the central part of the Balkan. The remains of the medieval fortress continue to rise on the hill that dominates the city of Strumica and they present a mute witness of the epochs that marked the historical events in this region. In the historical documents of Evliya Chelebi, known as a man of learning, data about the size of the fortress above Strumica were mentioned for the first time. In addition to Evliya Chelebi, who visited this area in 1670, the fortress above Strumica was also mentioned by the Byzantine diplomat and writer Nicephorus Gregoras in 1327. These are the only historical data about the fortress when it was still in active service.

The destiny of Carevi Kuli is closely related to the fate of the city of Strumica. The hill above the town, on which the present medieval fortress lies, was inhabited many millennia ago, back in prehistory. This favorable place, both for living and for military fortification, was used in compliance with the needs of the past epochs. In this area, settlements were created and disappeared, and in some epochs, especially during prehistory, the hill remained completely empty. Beginning from antiquity to this day, civilizations that left significant or weaker traces of their presence have built their own manuscript on Carevi Kuli.

The locality is located in the South-Eastern part of R.N. Macedonia, on the hill that rises south of the city of Strumica, with an average altitude of 450 m. The plateau extends 210 m in the East-West direction and about 80 m in the North-South direction. From the North-West and South-East sides of the hill, steep slopes descend to the streams Koritniche and St. Elijah. In the past, the plateau had a proper elongated oval shape. Over the last several centuries, two or three landslides, that have cut the plateau, have been created on the East, North, and North-West sides. The last major devastations were probably due to the earthquake that struck the Valandovo region in 1931.

Besides the medieval fortress, the locality is organically composed of the necropolis in the sector of South Hill, prehistoric settlement on the southeast slope, and the terrace on the Eastside.

Zoran Rujak, archaeologist

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