EXCAVATIONS AT TETOVO FORTRESS YIELD OTTOMAN FINDS
Several important structures and objects dating to the Ottoman Era were unearthed during last year’s excavations of the fortress of the town of Tetovo, located in north-western Macedonia, near the capital Skopje.
The newly discovered structures included three tunnels with underground corridors that connected them, a kitchen and dining room, a covered and a summer saray and a double well, Lulieta Abazi, Senior Custodian and the Manager of the Project, and Srekko Jovanovski, director of the Tetovo Museum, told the Utrinski Vesnik today.
Among the objects found during excavations were a silver-gilded cigarette box with preserved tobacco, coins from the Turkish period and ceramic fragments of smoking pipes.
Three tombs were also discovered, two of which were fully preserved, which will be given to anthropologists from the Museum of Macedonia for further examination.
The most surprising find, according to Abazi, was the double object which was located in the central part of an area of 108 hectares. This space was in the shape of a hill, covered with old trees, thorny bushes and grass and did not give the impression that such an object was hiding underneath.
Also covered in grass were the dungeon, some walls and some of the galleries and underground tunnels. From the excavated objects, the project’s manager told the publication, the kitchen and dining room, the covered and the summer sarays were visible.
“Also defined were the three tunnels built by Abduraman Pasha around 1820. We are finding the exists from the fortress. One leads to Tetovo, emerging near the old Medical School, the second leads to the nearby village of Lavtse, and the third – to the left bank of the Pena River,” Abazi explained.
“Their entire exploration costs a lot of resources and time, and their being fully processed would [make them] a big tourist attraction, as well as a significant find for scientists, historians and archaeologists,” she added.
According to Abazi, the frescoes are also very important finds. “Done in coloured plaster, the frescoes are dominated at times by black-greyish colour, which imitated travertine blocks.
New archaeological excavations of the Tetovo Fortress are not planned, although experts expect they will yield much older artefacts than those from the Ottoman period, the Utrinski Vesnik wrote. The discovered objects and structures are to be conserved by the Conservation Centre, for which financial resources have been set aside.
Director of the Tetovo Museum, Srekko Jovanovski is optimistic and believes that the exploration of the fortress will continue in better times. “In the excavations so far we didn’t find anything from older periods. But this does not mean that there isn’t anything. It will be confirmed or negated when it is researched,” he said.
The Tetovo Fortress is a monument of culture under state protection, while the whole area is owned by the Macedonian Orthodox Church.