Vratnica (Macedonian: Вратница) is a small village and community located in the Jegunovce Municipality of Macedonia. Vratnica lies in the north-west, and is 22 km away from the city of Tetovo and 5 km away from Jazince - the border crossing point with Kosovo. Prior to 2003 Vratnica was known as the Vratnica municipality.
Vratnica was mentioned for the first time in Turkish books or documents dating back to the 15th century. It is registered that there were about 59 families living in Vratnica. In the defter labeled 4 for the years 1467/68 the number of houses had increased to 66, while in 1545 there is a record of 76 houses, and in 1568 there were 84 houses registered.
The village underwent migrations and settlement until the 18th century, and in the 20th century, there was extensive chain migration to the United States. In 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.
The village of Moravce is also important for Vratnica history, as it was located on the northwest, 800 meters above present day Vratnica. Due to the oppression of the Ottoman Turks, Moravce inhabitants were forced to search for better living conditions. They directed their steps to the north, towards Kosovo and middle Serbia, but Vratnicans were forced to leave those regions as well. They eventually came back and formed modern Vratnica with the ones that stayed at the native land.
During the 2001 War between Albanian insurgents and the Macedonian state, Vratnica was besieged by the NLA. In 2005 Albanians opened fire on the local police station.
Origin of the name
It is probable that it is because of those movements that Vratnica got its name (to return/to come back = se vraća/се враќа, in English/Macedonian, vratiti se in Serbian), because of the ethnic Macedonian community that migrated back from Kosovo to this part and formed a community in the 15th century. Another theory suggests that Vratnica is some sort of gateway (vrata - in Macedonian and Serbian) between Kaçanik and Polog valley. The word 'vratnica' is also used in certain Macedonian dialects to mean a little or small door or gate. Another theory suggests that the western side of Ljuboten, a mountain peak above Vratnica, looks like a neck (vrat, shija - Shija Ljubotenska, in Macedonian and Serbian), which gave it its name. It is a well known fact that in the charters during King Milutin of Serbia, many families from Raska in the 13th century migrated to the northern areas of today's Macedonia (Tetovo, Skopska Crna Gora and Kumanovo). However, there is no evidence that any of these people migrated to or created the modern village of Vratnica.
The South-Slavic speaking community is divided between Serbian and Macedonian ethnic identification, although the majority identify as ethnic Macedonians, as indicated in the most recent censuses. Most of the Vratnicani who consider themselves to be Serbian reside in the United States; however, there are still many Vratnicani in the United States who are Macedonian. All practice Orthodox traditions.
According to the Macedonian census 2002, the ethnic groups in the village are:
Notable people of Vratnican descent.
- Kiro Popovski, lawyer and politician
- Sasho Cirovski, football coach
- Slavko Milosavlevski, sociologist
- Ed Jovanovski, NHL hockey player
Football: FK "Hajduk" - Vratnica
- Traditional Mayday Tournament "VRATNICA" - (May 1). One of the biggest sport events in the Polog region. The tournament includes football and streetball (basketball) competition. In the past handball was also played.
- Enciklopedija na selata vo republika makedonija, Panov, Mitko. Skopje 1998. Pg. 61.
- Vratnica.info - Vratnica Fresh News, Articles, Information and Photos
- Vratnica @ Twitter - Latest short news from Vratnica area.
- Vratnica United - Bringing Vratnica People Together - Website dedicated to Vratnica and its people. Info, photos, news, events, lifestyle...
- VratnicaUSA.com - Website for people from Vratnica that live in the United States.
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