Vevčani (Macedonian: Вевчани) is a village in western North 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 Станица). 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 Church of Saint Nicholas (Црква „Свети Никола“). Vevčani is home to nearly a dozen churches, of which Saint Nicholas is the main one. Construction on the church began in 1834 and was completed in 1862. The icons were done in 1867, while the frescoes were completed in 1879, all the work of notable Mijak artists from the Mavrovo area. The church is relatively imposing when compared to other churches in the country built around this period. This is because its builders defied Ottoman laws when constructing the church by building in on ground level, and not partially underground to reduce its prominence.
- 3 Porta Vevčani and Church of Saint George (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, with Macedonian flags standing on poles surrounding it. A large church dedicated to Saint George, built in 2013, sits near the gate.
Vevčani is known for its abundance of traditional homes, eleven of which are under protection.
- 4 Gogovci House (Куќа на Гоговци). Built in 1887 by a merchant, Kuzman Gogov, who eventually became the mayor of Vevčani from 1928 to 1932.
- 5 Kalajdžievci House (Куќа на Калајџиевци). Located near Saint Nicholas, this tall home was built for the Kalajdžiev family who ran a store out of the house.
- 6 Kostojčinovci House (Куќа на Костојчиновци). This smaller home was built in the 1880s by the Kostojčinov family which worked as migrant workers in Wallachia. The first floor is made of stone. The second floor features large bay windows.
- 7 Pluškovci House (Куќа на Плушковци). Built in the 18th and 19th centuries, this home was built of stone and features a prominent chardak (open hall connecting the home on the upper floor). The original owner, Angel Pluškov, was a carpenter and woodworker and thus the house contained unique wooden furniture.
- 8 Popovci House (Куќа на Поповци). This house was built in the 19th century by Jovan Popovski. It has two floors atop a basement and has a large courtyard.
- 9 Kjitanovci House (Куќа на Ќитановци). Built in 1906, this house is the youngest among the group and in perhaps in the best condition today. It was built by a wealthy family that owned a restaurant on the Black Sea. The home is three stories tall and features a large bay window on the top floor. The facade features some decorative brickwork.
- Vevčani Carnival - a carnival with a 15-century-long tradition every January 13th to celebrate the New Year (per the Julian calendar). Carnival attendees wear a variety of masks and costumes, sometimes controversial ones.
- 1 Vevčani Lake (Вевчанско Eзеро). This glacial lake sits high above the village on Jablanica Mountain. The lake is small but Jablanica's second-largest.
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.
- House Restaurant and Pansion Kutmichevica, s.Vevchani, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1 Domakinska Kukja, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 2 Restaurant Pelvec, ☏ .
- 3 Villa Alula, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 4 Rooms Vevcani, ☏ .
- Struga is the nearest major city, on Lake Ohrid
- Albania is on the other side of Jablanica Mountain from Vevčani