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- " The fertile imagination of woodcarvers, the exquisite patterns of Macedonian carpets and the filigree working of gold and silver are all parts of the rich creative tradition of this people "
macedonia » Municipalities » Vratnica village
The Vratnica village is located in the north-western part of the Republic of Macedonia, 22 km from Tetovo, and 5 km from the border crossing point with Serbia & Montenegro (SCG). It is situated of an altitude of 680-750 meters above the sea level in the upper part of the Polog valley & the foothills of one of the most beautiful mountains in Macedonia, Šar Planina.
Today there are 500 people living in Vratnica, but early in the 20th century it had more than 1,100. In the period of 1914-1916, the total population of Vratnica was 1,131 with 131 houses; in 1948, there were 1,299 inhabitants and 197 houses; in 1953, there were 1,387 inhabitants and 214 houses; in 1961, the respective numbers were 1,384 and 227; in 1968, 1,240 and 225; and, in 1971, 1,082 inhabitants and 266 houses. Thus, the number of houses doubled in the 50 years period but the total population remaining about the same, declining since the 1960s due to emigration to the US and elsewhere. There were over 200 households in the Detroit area in the early 1980s.
Most of the people do agricultural work and cattle-breeding, but there is a factory for pave & construction elements "IGM Vratnica", as well other small companies. For 20 years know Vratnica has telephones, electricity, asphalt roads, water-pipes to every house. Many important facilities exist in the village: house of the culture, church Sveta Petka (built in the upper part of the village), motel, gas station, post office, ambulance, primary school "Simče Nastovski", artificial lake of Golina and it's fish-pond.
There are 18 neighborhoods in Vratnica: Stepanovci, Šiškovci, Dlabočani, Koekjevci, Stanisovci, Vasilevci, Golomevci, Danekjevci, Dobrokjevci, Peovci, Todorovci, Kostanekjevci, Madzikjevci, Maškokjevci, Mojsikjevci, Kraguljevci, Dabokjevci i Papudzini. The citizens of Vratnica have a tradition of organizing a football and basketball touring every year for the May 1st, preparing grill and other national dishes for the May 2nd, by the river Rakjita, then celebrating the Vasilica holiday (January 14th), visiting Ljuboten peak on the August 2nd and village saint blessing - Kostanovden on June 3rd.
Vratnica was mentioned for the first time in 15th century (1452-1453), and according to the Turkish documents there were 59 families living in it. According to legends about the origin of the term Vratnica: the first legend, the citizens of the village tried to escape from the Ottoman Turks by emigrating on the north to, Kosovo & middle Serbia, but they were forced to come back in the native village (come back on Macedonian-vrakja=Vratnica). The other legend says that Vratnica is as a Gate (Vrata=Vratnica), between the Kačanik and Polog valley.
The Vratnica people have started to emigrated to USA, Canada, Germany and other countries in the world. It is estimated that there are more than 3,500 people from this village have emigrated so far, looking for a better lifestyle. The highest percentage of them today live in Detroit, USA. The first man that emigrated from Vratnica was Dzero Antoski - Antić, in the distant 1903.