Rumen Kamilov



Mariovo Plateau, at 600-900 meters above sea level, is a magnificent balcony of the Nidze and Selecka Mountains in Southern Macedonia. This huge region of about 500-600 square km is seductive, graced by clean mountain rivers like Crna, Bela and Gradeska, with their deep canyons permeated by the intense fragrance of trees, flowers and herbs.

When I asked great Macedonian writer Kole Casule, born in Prilep, a town on the edge of the plateau, to tell me about life in Mariovo, he told me with sincere pain: “Mariovo is a sad story. Once, it lived. People were born, married, had children and died there. Today, houses are still there, as well as churches and monasteries, but most of the people are gone. They have abandoned it, migrated, betrayed it…”
Most of the photographs of the area show exactly that sad dimension of Mariovo: next to divine nature, abandoned stony houses, which begin in time to ruin…

Rumen Kamilov chose a different and, I would say,  original angle to present Mariovo to us. He suggested to me the heretic idea  that Mariovo in the past lived and developed thanks to the numerous, protracted wars and then died when peace and the modern age came. This story seems credible. Traces and signs of wars are still visible in Mariovo but in ways which make war seem senseless. Kole Casule’s comment digs deeper: “I look at this picture and I think: What does it tell me? What does it confess and to whom, when there is no one else around? It made me sad. And suddenly something came up to my mind. Man, that is Itar Pejo who is throwing  the truth at us:  that tomorrow, we will not be here.These helmets could also be a memorial for us.”