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Kolasin History

The History of Kolasin

Kolasin, which today is far famous by its natural beauties, was founded by Turks who ruled this area in XVII century. A part of the Turkish town has been preserved until nowadays, and it testifies about their presence in a small town which was governed by a lieutenant called kolazi – which signified the title of lower rank – foreman. During its three centuries old history Kolasin, as they say, shared the destiny of majority of Montenegrin towns, mostly going from the hands of the occupier to the liberating hands and vice versa. This little town is a real curiosity considering the fact that it went 23 times from one hand to the other, was destroyed, and awaited its final liberation from the occupiers in ruins. Special role in creation of Kolasin, its duration and liberation fight had tribes of people from Rovci, and Moraca, especially during the XVII and XVIII century.

First mentioning of a settled place Kolasin, former village took place in 1565. when this place is mentioned in one sultan declaration. The task of the crew of the watch-tower, among other things was to collect the tributary and other taxes from people of this area. The watch-tower itself has turned into a lodgment whose citizens were mostly dealing with farming and war fighting. At that time this place was a Turkish watch-tower with a smaller crew which had the task to protect the frequent caravan road between Podgorica and Bijelo Polje, and especially to deal with the more and more frequent rebellion actions of Moraca, Rovci, Vasojevici, Uskoci and other tribes. The citizens of Kolasin who were conditioned with a hard life and with constant liberation fights moved away massively during the XIX and at the beginning of XX century. Since 1863 Kolasin was a part of Novi Pazar district. Even though formally it was in the borders of Otoman Empire its status was constantly problematic as the status of a border town. Pretensions of Montenegro most often were manifested through the attacks on the towers of the town, which were ruled by famous Montenegrin leaders Miljan Vukov and Novica Cerovic. In many of these attacks Kolasin often suffered almost non – repairable damage. During the East crisis Kolasin formally became Montenegrin (in 1878), but the giving over of the town, as in majority of cases in Montenegro was stalled. On the 9th of October 1878 the town was officially given to Montenegro sovereign Prince Nikola Petrovic. A part of the lodgment that is of the area towards Mojkovac still remained in Turkish empire, so Kolasin in a way still kept the ungrateful role of a border town which influenced that the border fights were still continued. Montenegrin authority was doing everything to include as many people as possible from Kolasin in state affairs in order for it to strengthen its influence in this area, but the intolerance continued to live mo matter what. At that time the wave of moving away of Muslim citizens towards the North started happening. In 1886 Montenegrin army advanced towards the North taking in its hands Polja and moving the border to river Tara.

According to some other sources the area on Tara river in the period of the origination of Kolasin was called Kolasinovici and that where the name of the town itself comes.
The position of the town, geographic – strategic extremely favorable in this area always determined the history and the faith of the towns and people who lived in it. For Osman Empire, Austro – Hungarian Empire, and Montenegro, Kolasin therefore was one of the most precious spots. Beside people from Rovci, and Moraca, Drobnjaci and Uskoci tribes gave an exquisite contribution to strengthening of liberation fight during the second half of XIX century.

Kolasin awaited the beginning of XX century like the majority of the towns in this area – not much developed. In such condition Austrian – Hungarian empire found it, which in the period from 1916 to 1918 occupied it. After the liberation in 1918 there follow the decades of relatively peaceful time in this area, even though the town itself did not see some greater progress. The only difference in the life of Kolasin was the one that, another, political fights began. On the first elections for the Constitutional Parliament, in November 1920 the election lists of communist parties came in the very top by the number of votes. At the beginning of third decade of the XX century begin the first organized actions of Communist party of Yugoslavia in this area. Leaflets stared appearing in town, the first local party organization is being formed made mostly from the students from this area. The fights with the state regime start already in 1935. A year later the most famous young communists from this area; Veljko Vlahovic and Mijat Maskovic went to Iberian Peninsula to help to their friends in Spain civil war. When the news about the death of Mijat Maskovic and his co-fighter Mojsije Stefanovic same to their birth town the commemorations in their honor have turned into demonstrations against the regime and honest expressions of solidarity with freedom loving Spanish people. The august of 1939 Kolasin remembered as one of the biggest youth party actions. It was the youth gathering on Ganovaca near Biogradsko lake, dedicated to the fight against the fascist invasion which that year began to rifle over Europe. On that day 2.000 young people gathered from entire region of north of Montenegro. From that place, for the first time in Montenegro, a call for folk unison and fight against the fascist thought and treason was heard.

Still, its place in history and creation of free Montenegro Kolasin earned during the Folk liberating fight in the World War II. Already the first rebellion days in Montenegro, in Kolasin were turbulent. Hundreds of young and old people took weapons. At the beginning guerilla fighters, these rebels in time formed regular troupes of folk liberating army which in this area will be active from the first to the last day of the liberation fight. A great number of distinguished citizens died in fights around Kolasin, and some, most famous among them later were national heroes: Bajo Sekulic, Vukman Kruscic and others. Even though bombed Kolasin came out from the WW II with head up high as one of the brightest examples of anti – fascist fight in this part of Europe. It was liberated on 29th of December 1944. From the years of war Kolasin came out wiser and richer for some live legend. So Kolasin as a town that has survived many battles cherishes the commemoration on some great military men such as Italian soldier Mario Riva – the commander of 83 regiment, division Venice that was stationed in Montenegro during the WW II. The character and the life story of captain Rva served to screen play writers of the movie “Battle on Neretva”.

This brave Italian commander, on the 27th of September 1943 came to the side of the folk liberation army of Yugoslavia, giving his contribution to anti-fascist fight in these areas. This artillery fighter with his military knowledge and courage impressed his co-fighters from Kolasin and Berane area so soon the co-fighters from the movement came to love this foxy beard captain. As they say for him, he was always in an elegant uniform, professional, he looked like a movie star, and in hand he always carried a small stick such as a conductor of an orchestra. He died in October on the way Podgorica – Matesevo in a short fight with German motor unites. The people of this area even today take care of the memory of this young officer.

Until the WW II majority of the citizens in town were occupied with trade and small craft activities. In this area there were several saw-mills, and of industrial facilities only one thermo electrical power station was present. After the WW II with fast development of the town occurred a more intensive and faster development of entire region and also there happened changes in activities of citizens. Electrification, construction of water works, and development of educational activity made Kolasin a modern European small town in a relatively short time frame. The area rich with natural resources and crude material had a good pre-condition for development globally speaking. In last decades of the XX century Kolasin has turned itself towards the tourist activity aware of its unfailing potential related to natural beauties and intact nature. Today Kolasin, as it has always been, is on of the busiest Montenegrin destinations in which people gladly come.

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