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Konche

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Konche


The village Konche is scattered around the foot of the mountain Serta, called Konechka, near the stream of the river Kriva Lakavica. It is located at an altitude of 580 meters and takes an area of 45 km². In the immediate vicinity of the village are the Konechki lakes. The village is 22 km away from Radovish and together with the city of Radovish are the only two municipal seats in this region.

The village Konche is a very old settlement and the archeological sites are a testament to that, such as the region Gorna Kula, which has relics from the antiquity and a medieval fortress. For the first time, Konche is mentioned in 1019 in the records of the Byzantium emperor Vasilij II. The village was part of the Eparchy of Archbishopric of Strumica.

Konche was a medieval town which notes its start as a monastery complex, simultaneously as a church and management seat-place. According to the data of the Bulgarian ethnographer Vasil K’nchov (“Macedonia. Ethnography and statistics”) from 1900, the village had 1230 residents, of which 330 Macedonians and 900 Turks. Today the village Konche is a municipal center and is one of the largest villages of the Radovish region. The local population deals mainly with agriculture. Main tourist potentials for development of rural tourism in Konche are: the artificial lake Mantovo, Vlach huts and the monastery church “St. Stefan”.

The artificial lake Mantovo was built in 1978 on the river Kriva Lakavica and takes a surface area of 4,49 km2. While the Vlach huts, nearby the artificial lake “Mantovo” are a new tourist attraction in this region. They are called Vlach huts according to the place, since in that region the Vlachs stayed when passing this region on the road from Shar Mountain to Serres.

The village celebrates the holiday “St. Stefan” on the 9th of January. The main tourist attraction in the village is the monastery church “St. Stefan”, built in 1366 by the duke Nikola Stanoevikj, servant of the Serbian tsars Dushan and Urosh. The church looks like a written cross with a dome on eight-sided tambourine, raising on four strong pillars. It is known that it was fresco painted twice. The first fresco painting was performed immediately after the construction (1371) and only a small part is kept today. The second was made in 18th and 19th century. The icons were made by Dimitar Andonov Papradishki and Kostadin Vangelov from Shtip in 1921 and 1922. In the past, the church was a monastery with monarchs carrying the name “Saint Virgin of Mary”, and that is how it is known today among the population. This name is connected with the miraculous icon of Saint Virgin of Mary that appeared alone from the side of Gevgelija in the church. It is considered that the icon of Saint Virgin of Mary has a healing power, hence in the church not only came Christians, but Muslims too. Because of the healing power of the icon found in the church on the holiday “St. Constantine and Elena”, i.e. “St. Carei”, a big fair was held in the church, to which people came to heal themselves and with the desire for a fertile land. The Macedonian revivalist and gatherer of folk art, Marko Cepenkov, also wrote about the healing power of the miraculous icon in the church in Konche. In the yard of the church, there still exist relics from administrations, a tower, walls, the grave of Katerina Brankovikj – the daughter of the medieval feudal lord Vuk Brankovikj, is also there. Inside the church, a great cathedral is held, with hundreds of visitors for the religious holidays “Golema Bogorodica” (Great Virgin of Mary”) and Vodici (Epiphany).