Vevčani (Macedonian: Вевчани) is a village in western Macedonia at the foot of the Jablanica Mountain. Just east of the border with Albania, it is 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) northwest of the town of Struga and Lake Ohrid. It has nearly 2,500 inhabitants and is the only settlement within the Municipality of Vevčani.
The village sits in scenic mountainous terrain. Much of Vevčani lies over 1,000 metres (3,200 feet) above sea level. Vevčani is known for its natural springs and scenery, its 1,400-year-old annual carnival, and its past attempts to become an independent republic.
Vevčani is surrounded by the Municipality of Struga, except on the west where it borders Albania. It is the smallest municipality by area in the country outside of Greater Skopje. The locals speak a unique dialect of Macedonian, found only in three other villages.
Vevčani was likely first inhabited around the time of the arrival of Slavs to the region. Along with the rest of Macedonia, it was under Ottoman rule for five centuries until the Balkan Wars in the early 20th century. Vevčani has long been a Christian village surrounded by Muslim villages.
The best known event in the village's history involves the creation by residents of the Vevčani Republic. In 1987, the villagers defied attempts by Yugoslav authorities to redirect water from Vevčani's springs to Struga. The locals sparked calls for democracy and freedom from the Yugoslav government. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the republic was declared on September 19, 1991. It was not taken seriously, however, and the concept faded out. It was revived in 2000 as a model country to attract tourism. The Vevčani Republic has its own flag, coat of arms, and currency.
The main way to get into Vevčani is off the Struga-Debar highway (R1201). The road to the village is marked by a large gate with the village's name and a church. From this point, it is a 4 km (2.4 mi) drive west to get to the village center.
Vevčani also has rural road connections with Gorna Belica to the southwest and Oktisi to the southeast.
- 1 Bus Station (Вевчани Автобуска Cтаница). Vevčani has a bus station with buses primarily going to Struga.
The village of Vevčani can be covered entirely on foot.
- 1 Vevčani Springs (Вевчански Извори). The main attraction to Vevčani is its natural springs. The largest is situated at the opening of a cave, with about ten smaller springs beneath it. The springs are situated at the western end of the village, sloping down from Jablanica Mountain. The area is one large park with trails and area for picnicking.
- 2 Porta Vevčani (Порта Вевчани). The entrance to the village off the Struga-Debar highway is marked by a gate on which "ВЕВЧАНИ" is written. The flag of the Vevčani Republic stands on the gate, while Macedonian flags stand and poles surrounding it. A church dedicated to St George, built in 2013, sits near the gate.
- 3 Church of St Nicholas (Црква „Свети Никола“). Construction on the church began in 1834 and was completed in 1862. The icons were made in 1867, while the frescoes were done in 1879.
- Vevčani Carnival - a carnival with a 15-century-long tradition every January 13th.
Accommodation of bigger tourist groups is done in hotels in Struga and, for individual tourists and smaller groups it is done in private houses in Vevčani.