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Panorama of Pre?evo
Panorama of Pre?evo
Coat of arms of Pre?evo
Coat of arms
Location of the municipality of Pre?evo within Serbia
Location of the municipality of Pre?evo within Serbia
Coordinates: 42°18?20?N 21°38?34?E / 42.30556°N 21.64278°E / 42.30556; 21.64278Coordinates: 42°18?20?N 21°38?34?E / 42.30556°N 21.64278°E / 42.30556; 21.64278
Country Serbia
RegionSouthern and Eastern Serbia
 o MayorShqiprim Arifi (APN)
 o Town22.42 km2 (8.66 sq mi)
 o Municipality264 km2 (102 sq mi)
463 m (1,519 ft)
(2002 census)[2]
 o Town
 o Town density600/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
 o Municipality
 o Municipality density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 o Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code+381(0)17
Car platesVR

Pre?evo (Serbian Cyrillic: ?, pronounced [prê?e?o]) or Presheva (Albanian: Preshevë), is a town and municipality located in the P?inja District of southern Serbia. It is the southernmost town in Serbia (excluding Kosovo) and largest in the geographical region of Pre?evo Valley.

Pre?evo is the cultural center of Albanians in Serbia. According to the 2002 census, the town of Pre?evo had a population of 13,426 people, while the municipality had 34,904 inhabitants. Albanians form the ethnic majority of the municipality, followed by Serbs, Roma and other ethnic groups.[3]


Municipality of Pre?evo in P?inja District

Serbs arrived roughly in the 6th century, when they first migrated to the Balkans, and by the Middle Ages, Pre?evo was part of the Kingdom of Serbia. According to Stefan Du?an's charter to the monastery of Arhiljevica dated August 1355, sevastokrator Dejan possessed a large province east of Skopska Crna Gora. It included the old ?upe (counties) of ?egligovo and Pre?evo (modern Kumanovo region with Sredorek, Kozja?ija and the larger part of P?inja).[4][5] As despot under the rule of Uro? V, Dejan was entrusted with the administration of the territory between South Morava, P?inja, Skopska Crna Gora (hereditary lands) and in the east, the Upper Struma river with Velbuzhd, a province notably larger than during Du?an's life.[6][7][8] After the death of Dejan, his province, besides the ?upe of ?egligovo and Upper Struma, was appropriated to nobleman Vlatko Paska?i?.[9] Dejan's eldest son Jovan also received the title of despot, like his father before, by Emperor Uro?.[10] In the new redistribution of feudal power, after 1371, the brothers despot Jovan and gospodin Konstantin greatly expanded their province.[11][12] Not only did they recreate their father's province but also at least doubled the territory, on all sides, but chiefly towards the south.[11] Ottoman sources report that in 1373, the Ottoman army compelled Jovan (who they called Saruyar) in the upper Struma, to recognize Ottoman vassalage.[13] As Prince Marko had done, also the Dejanovi? brothers recognized Ottoman sovereignty.[14] Although vassals, they had their own government.[12] In the Wallachian victory at the Battle of Rovine (17 May 1395), both Marko and Konstantin died.[15] The provinces of Marko and Konstantin became Ottoman.[15]

From 1877 to 1913 Pre?evo was part of Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. Following the First Balkan War in 1912, Kingdom of Serbia re-conquered the area.

Yugoslavia (1918-92)

Kingdom of Yugoslavia was formed after World War I. From 1929 to 1941 Pre?evo was part of the Vardar Banovina.

During the April War the Kingdom of Yugoslavia capitulated after 12 days of war against the Axis Powers. On April 20, Bulgaria occupied part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, including Pre?evo. The royal authoritarian dictatorship of Bulgaria occupied the area until September 7, 1944, when they handed the area over to Nazi Germany. The Albanian collaborationist regime along with Balli Kombëtar subsequently took over the area. In mid-November, the Partisans forced the Balli Kombëtar to retreat.[16]

From 1945 until 1992 Pre?evo was part of Socialist Republic of Serbia, within SFR Yugoslavia.

Breakup of Yugoslavia (1991-99)

Sites near Pre?evo where NATO aviation used munition with depleted uranium during 1999 bombing

In 1992, the Albanians in the area organized a referendum in which they voted that Pre?evo, Medve?a and Bujanovac should join the self-declared assembly of the Republic of Kosova. However, no major events happened until the end of the 1990s.

During the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, a total of 161 depleted uranium bullets have been recovered in Reljan near Pre?evo in southern Serbia. The Serbian government has funded the cleanup operation of the Reljan site with 350,000 euros.[17]

Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, and nearby Kosovo War which lasted until 1999, between 1999 and 2001, an ethnic Albanian paramilitary separatist organization, the UÇPMB, raised an armed insurgency in the Pre?evo Valley, in the region mostly inhabited by Albanians, with a goal to occupy these three municipalities from Serbia and join them to the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosova.

Following the overthrow of Slobodan Milo?evi?, the new Serbian government suppressed the violence by 2001 and defeated the separatists. NATO troops also helped the Serbian government by ensuring that the rebels do not import the conflicts back into Kosovo.[18]

In 2009, Serbia opened a military base Cepotina 5 kilometers south of Bujanovac, to further stabilize the area.[19]


Today, Pre?evo is located in the P?inja District of southern Serbia.

On 7 March 2017, the President of Albania Bujar Nishani made a historical visit to the municipalities of Bujanovac and Pre?evo, in which Albanians form the ethnic majority.[20]


According to the 2002 census results, the municipality of Pre?evo has 34,904 inhabitants. While the 2011 census was made, there was undercoverage of the census units owing to the boycott by most of the members of the Albanian ethnic community in the municipality of Pre?evo and neighboring municipality of Bujanovac.

Ethnic groups

According to the census conducted in 2002, Albanians form nearly 90% of the municipality, and over 95% of the town. Most of the remainder of its inhabitants are Serbs, who are mainly concentrated in the settlements of Ljanik, Svinji?te, Slavujevac and Cakanovac. The rest of the settlements have an absolute Albanian majority.

The ethnic composition of the municipality:

Ethnic group Population
Albanians 18,229 23,625 28,961 34,992 31,098 416
Serbs 6,741 5,777 4,204 3,206 2,984 2,294
Romani 146 312 434 505 322 271
Macedonians 43 71 36 - 21 14
Muslims 40 70 100 118 15 2
Montenegrins 14 8 19 7 2 -
Yugoslavs 94 18 27 35 - 1
Others 1,431 176 167 80 462 82
Total 26,738 30,057 33,948 38,943 34,904 3,080

Notable people

Albanian singer Donika Nuhiu was born and raised in Pre?evo.



Since December 2005, the leader of the Albanian Democratic party (PDSH) Ragmi Mustafa became the president of the municipality. He was several times re-elected and served as the president of the municipality until 2016.

On 7 March 2017, the President of Albania Bujar Nishani made a historical visit to the municipalities of Pre?evo and Bujanovac, in which Albanians form the ethnic majority.[28] Three days later, Ardita Sinani became the president of the municipality of Pre?evo, following the resignation of Shqiprim Arifi due to the termination of the municipal coalition.[29]

Stele controversies 2012-13

Town center of Pre?evo

On 21 November 2012, the municipality council of Pre?evo erected a stele in the center of the town honouring members of the former UÇPMB, who died during the Pre?evo Valley Conflict from 1999 to 2001, causing a public outcry throughout Serbia. The Prime Minister of Serbia, Ivica Da?i?, said about this incident: "It's best that they remove it themselves, because this is a needless provocation, nowhere else in Europe memorial plaque can be erected to those who are members of terrorist organizations and those who were directly involved in the murders of police officers and soldiers".[30][31] He called for the removal of the stele to 17 January, then several Albanian politicians and organizations responded with criticism. Mayor of Pre?evo Ragmi Mustafa said that the stele shows the identity of the Albanians in the region and announced that it would end the cooperation with national authorities of Serbia if the monument were removed.[32] Serbian Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vu?i? announced that they will act in frame of the law in connection with the controversial stele, and that no one can act against the for all the same applicable constitution and seeks the reason in ethnicity. He added that Serbia wants peace but will respond to any provocation.[33]

Deputies of the Assembly of Kosovo Rexhep Selimi and Nait Hasani, a former member of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UÇK), threatened armed conflict if the institutions of Serbia removed the memorial plaque.[34] The former U.S. diplomat, United Nations regional representative of Kosovska Mitrovica Gerard Gallucci said: "Serbs, do not fall for provocations like this with the memorial plaque in Pre?evo".[35] President of the National Assembly of Serbia Neboj?a Stefanovi? explained that it is unacceptable that in Serbia there is a memorial plaque to a terrorist organization and those who killed the citizens of Serbia.[36] He added that is not an ethnic conflict, but the problem is the honoring of those who killed Serbs with a memorial plaque in Serbia.[37] Nevertheless, a member of the Coalition of Albanians of the Pre?evo Valley, Jonuz Musliu, which has one seat in the Parliament of Serbia, said that the stele would not be removed.[38] However, the stele was removed by a bulldozer which was guarded by members of the Serbian Gendarmery on 20 January 2013. Despite threats from various Albanian nationalist organizations, there were no incidents during and after the removal.

As a first reaction, the former commander of UÇPMB, Orhan Rexhepi, made the separatist statement that this is a "historic day", because "Pre?evo and Bujanovac will be a part of Kosovo."[39] Ragmi Mustafa, Pre?evo's Mayor, confirmed shortly afterwards that the Albanians want a union with Kosovo for a long time.[40]

The former president of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal and a minister in Serbian government Rasim Ljaji? responded and said that the Pre?evo valley will not be part of Kosovo or may be because the Albanian representatives from southern Serbia do not have the support of the international community. He also warned against the exploitation of the situation by the Albanians.[41] The operation of the Serbian police broke into the local population from turmoil. During the day, several hundred people gathered at the site of the stele laid flowers and candles in memory of the fallen UÇPMB members. The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced that "the Albanian government calls the international institutions to stop this action", even though the U.S. had already announced earlier that it is an internal affair of Serbia, which should solve their elected representatives.[42]

On the evening of 20 January, a group of Albanians who protested against the removal of the stele gathered in ?akovica.[43] Some of them tried forcibly to enter in the Serbian monastery of the Holy Virgin, where several nuns still live, but the attack would prevented from strong associations of the KFOR.[43] On the night of 21 January, it overlapped to the Serbian enclave Gora?devac, were the monuments of the Serb victims of the NATO bombing in 1999, and the Serbian children who were shot at the Bistrica river by Albanians in 2003, desecrated and destroyed.[44][45] Thousands of Pre?evo citizens rallied on 21 January 2013, to protest the removal of the stele dedicated to Albanian guerrillas.[46] Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Da?i? said that there was no reason for any kind of protests, the illicit stele was not destroyed, nor was violence used. He added that "not believe that in the United States, Al-Qaeda veterans, or those who have carried out several terrorist attacks in London or Paris, would decide whether a memorial stele should be built." The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced during a press conference in Tirana, that Albania would review its relations with Serbia, if that is necessary. He also stated that the Albanian government will do everything in his power to help the Albanians in Serbia. Albin Kurti, leader of the Albanian radical organization[]Vetëvendosje said instead, that the most responsible for this situation is more likely in Kosovo, the government of Hashim Thaci.[47]

In response to the removal of the stele, dozens of Albanians, led by former UÇK veterans, destroyed a memorial plaque from the World War II in Vitina with a crane, and were not prevented by the Kosovo Police.[48] Till the evening of 21 January over 140 Serbian gravestones were destroyed throughout Kosovo,[49] burned a chapel and several crosses.[45] Subsequently, representatives of the United States, European Union, as well as the OSCE, KFOR and EULEX, sharply condemned the destruction of Serbian monuments and tombs.[45][49] They added that there is no justification for this violence, and that such actions were totally unacceptable.[45][49][50]


The Abdulla Krashnica Culture Center (Shtëpia e Kulturës "Abdulla Krashnica") is the home to various culture events in Pre?evo. Its complex includes the town library, music hall and theater. Pre?evo organizes the annual "Netët e komedisë" (The nights of comedy), a one-week festival with comedy shows from all the Albanian-speaking territories. The festival was first organized in 1994.

There are some natural heritage sites in Pre?eva Valley like: (Shpella e Ilincës), (Shpella e Arushës), (Trungu i Çarrit), (Burimi i ujit në Banjke), (Ujëndarësi i Preshevës). There has been some criticism, and Arsim Ejupi in his work Kërkime Gjeografike from 2013, claims that until now there were no activities regarding the protection and management of this natural heritage sites, and that this situation is a result of lack of capacities in local government and NGOs regarding the professional treatment of environmental issues. He considers that only with active participation of these actors it can be realized protection and sustainable management of natural heritage in Pre?evo Valley and the development of ecotourism in the region of Pre?evo Valley.[51]

See also


  1. ^ "Municipalities of Serbia, 2006". Statistical Office of Serbia. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia: Comparative Overview of the Number of Population in 1948, 1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002 and 2011, Data by settlements" (PDF). Statistical Office of Republic Of Serbia, Belgrade. 2014. ISBN 978-86-6161-109-4. Retrieved .
  3. ^ 2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia (PDF). Belgrade, Serbia: Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. 2011. pp. 3, 14. ISBN 978-86-6161-025-7.
  4. ^ ? 1951, pp. 20-21:

    - ? ? ?,50 ? ? ? ? ?. ? ? ? ? ( ? ? ?, ?...

  5. ^ Mandi? 1986, p. 161:

    ? ?, ? - 1355. , ?: "? ? ? ". ? ? ? ?. ? : ?.

  6. ^ Fajfric, 42
  7. ^ Mihalj?i? 1989, p. 81:

    ? -- ? ? ? -- , ? ? ? ?. ? ? ?, ? , ? ""

  8. ^

    ... ? ( ?, ? ? ) ? ? ? . ? ? ? ? -- -- ...

  9. ^ Fajfric, 45. Bra?a Mrnjav?evi?
  10. ^ Samardzic 1892 p. 22:

    ? ? ? ? ? ?, ? ? ? ?, . ? ?, ? . ? ? 1373, ? ? . , ? ...

  11. ^ a b 1975, p. 174
  12. ^ a b ? ? ? ? 1994, p. 31
  13. ^ Edition de lA?cadémie bulgare des sciences, 1986, "Balkan studies, Vol. 22", p. 38
  14. ^ ?orovi? 2001, ch. 3, XIII. Boj na Kosovu
  15. ^ a b ?orovi? 2001, ch. 4, I. Srbi izme?u Turaka i Ma?ara
  16. ^ ?ta bi danas rekao Abdulah Kra?nica
  17. ^ Current Issues - Depleted Uranium Weapons in the Balkans
  18. ^ Lobjakas, Ahto. "NATO: Yugoslav Officials Discuss Presevo Valley". Radio Free Europe / Liberty. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ "Otvorena baza na jugu Srbije". (in Serbian). Beta. 23 November 2009. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ "Musliu: Albanski predsednik Bujar Ni?ani poseti?e 7. marta Bujanovac i Pre?evo". (in Serbian). Beta. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia" (PDF). Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ "Knjiga III: Nacionalni sastav stanovni?tva FNR Jugoslavije (1961)" (PDF). (in Serbian). Republi?ki zavod za statistiku. Retrieved 2015.
  23. ^ "Knjiga III: Nacionalni sastav stanovni?tva FNR Jugoslavije (1971)" (PDF). (in Serbian). Republi?ki zavod za statistiku. Retrieved 2015.
  24. ^ "Nacionalni sastav stanovni?tva SFR Jugoslavije (1981)" (PDF). Republi?ki zavod za statistiku. Retrieved 2015.
  25. ^ "STANOVNI?TVO PREMA NACIONALNOJ PRIPADNOSTI (1991)" (PDF). Republi?ki zavod za statistiku. Retrieved 2015.
  26. ^ "Popis stanovnistva, domacinstava i stanova u 2002" (PDF). (in Serbian). Retrieved 2015.
  27. ^ " , ? ? 2011. ? " (PDF). Republi?ki zavod za statistiku. Retrieved 2015.
  28. ^ "Musliu: Albanski predsednik Bujar Ni?ani poseti?e 7. marta Bujanovac i Pre?evo". (in Serbian). Beta. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ "Ardita Sinani nova predsednica op?tine Pre?evo". (in Serbian). Beta. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ "PM: Government will react to provocation in Pre?evo". The B92. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 2013.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "Da?i?: Pona?a?emo se evropski, ukloni?emo spomenik u Pre?evu" (in Serbian). B92. 30 December 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  32. ^ "Mustafa: Ako sklone spomenik nema saradnje sa Srbijom". Blic (in Serbian). 12 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  33. ^ "Vu?i? najavio uklanjanje spomenika OVPMB u Pre?evu". The Blic (in Serbian). 13 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  34. ^ "Poslanici skup?tine Kosova: Mogu?i oru?ani sukobi zbog spomenika u Pre?evu". The B92 (in Serbian). 15 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  35. ^ "Galu?i: Srbi, ne nasedajte na provokacije u Pre?evu". Blic (in Serbian). 15 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  36. ^ "Stefanovi?: Neprihvatljiv spomenik teroristima u Srbiji". The Blic (in Serbian). 16 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  37. ^ "Stefanovi?: Neprihvatljiv spomenik teroristima u Srbiji". The Blic (in Serbian). 16 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  38. ^ "Musliu: Spomenik u Pre?evu ne?e biti ni pomeren ni sru?en, legalizova?emo ga". The Blic (in Serbian). 15 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  39. ^ "Gendarmes remove controversial monument". B92. 2013-01-20. Archived from the original on 2013-10-16. Retrieved .
  40. ^ "Ragmi Mustafa: Nije novina da ?elimo pripajanje Kosovu". Blic. 2013-01-20. Retrieved .
  41. ^ "Ljaji?: Jug Srbije ne?e, niti mo?e biti deo Kosova". Blic. 2013-01-20. Retrieved .
  42. ^ "Stav SAD nepromenjen: Spomenik u Pre?evu unutra?nja stvar Srbije". Blic. 2013-01-21. Retrieved .
  43. ^ a b "Demonstracije u ?akovici, poku?aj napada na manastir". Blic. 2013-01-21. Retrieved .
  44. ^ "Pomen ubijenoj deci u Gora?devcu". Blic. 2012-08-13. Retrieved .
  45. ^ a b c d "Oskrnavljena groblja i spomenik ubijenoj srpskoj deci u Gora?devcu". Blic. 2013-01-21. Retrieved .
  46. ^ "Serbia Albanians Protest Monument's Removal". Balkan Insight. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  47. ^ "Nekoliko hiljada Albanaca protestovalo u Pre?evu zbog uklanjanja spomenika". Blic. 2013-01-21. Retrieved .
  48. ^ "Pogledajte: Albanci bagerom sru?ili spomenik antifa?isti?koj borbi u Vitini, policija Kosova samo gledala". Blic. 2013-01-22. Retrieved .
  49. ^ a b c "OEBS, Euleks i Kfor osu?uju skrnavljenja groblja". Blic. 2013-01-21.
  50. ^ "OSCE condemns "repeated desecration of Orthodox graveyards"". B92. 2013-01-21. Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. Retrieved .
  51. ^ ^38 Arsim Ejupi| KËRKIME GJEOGRAFIKE Nr. 15, 2013 (39\49)[permanent dead link]|


a.  ^ In the municipality of Pre?evo there was undercoverage of the census units owing to the boycott by most of the members of the Albanian ethnic community.

External links

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