Page 469 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 469

european Maps
of Kosovo and Metohija in Old Serbia
from the 16th to 20th Century
Mirčeta Vemić
ld Serbia, with its core areas of Kosovo and Meto- hija, is the historical-geographical, cultural and po- litical term describing the territory of Serbia before
the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans and its fall to the Ot- toman power (1459). The term is linked to the reign of the Serbian emperor Stefan Dušan (king 1331–1346, emperor 1346–1355), when Serbia was the strongest state in the Bal- kans, and for the period prior to the rule of Stefan Dušan, for the Kingdom of Serbia under King Milutin (1282–1321) and Stefan Dečanski (1321–1331).1 after the partial liber- ation of northern areas of Serbia with Belgrade as its cap- ital, and the establishment of a vassal Principality of Ser- bia within Ottoman empire (1830), the term of Old Serbia (Old Servia, Vieille Serbie, altserbien) was increasingly used, describing those areas of Serbia which remained un- der direct Ottoman rule, outside the borders of new Ser- bian principality. The non-liberated areas during the 19th century, or “Old Serbia was taken as a country of the eth- nic core and center of the medieval Serbian state of the Nemanjić period,” and consisted of “regions: Stara Raška [Rascia], Kosovo proper,2 Metohija,3 the confluence of the
2 Name of Kosovo is in etymological sense a Serbian term for the blackbird (Turdus merula). according to atanasije Urošević the name “appeared after the battle between the Serbian and Ottoman armies in 1389. For medieval Serbia, until the said battle, this area with a suspicious exception, was not even once mentioned under the name of Kosovo” (Urošević 1965). Foreign writers and cartographers have the word translated as Campus merule, Champ de merles or amsel-
  Kosovo and Metohija (10,887 km2) are the two neighboring re- gional entities that are very different in structural, anthropo-geo- graphical and functional regards, but they are politically and admin- istratively united since 1945 as an autonomous region of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, and by the Constitution in 1963 as the autono- mous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. in 1968 name Metohija was formally erased from the name of the Province; it was again reintro- duced by the Serbian Constitution of 1990.
Binačka Morava and the northern Vardar valley with Sko- plje” (Stojančević, 1997). The term of Old Serbia, which was already established in the local geographic, historio- graphical, travels, military, political and other literature, during the first half of the 19th century, was also introduced by european authors into their works, especially travel writers, reporters, missionaries, diplomats and scholars, who very objectively presented and vividly evoked the eth- nic, religious, social and political conditions in these ar- eas, still under the Ottoman domination.4
Kosovo and Metohija have immense importance in Serbian history and tradition. The Battle of Kosovo waged against the Ottomans in 1389 decisively marked the spir- itual legacy and the historical memory of the Serbian peo- ple. after the Battle of Kosovo, in the Serb epic tradition was introduced another counting of years “before Koso- vo” and “after Kosovo” whilst a great cycle of epic songs gradually emerged through the popular culture, known as, the “Kosovo cycle.” Kosovo and Metohija area was con- sidered as the most cherished part of Serbia, not only due
feld, while older titles that preceded the name of Kosovo, were in fact the names of certain parts of Kosovo, such as Lipljan, Sitnica, Lab, Obica, Nerodimlje and others.
3 The name Metohija derives from the Greek word metochion— monastic property or at first monastic agricultural cooperatives, and “given the extraordinary density and concentration of the monastery and church appendages (Metohija) referred to in the royal charters (official documents with gold seals) from Stefan Nemanja to the last Nemanjić, as well as the charters of princes, despots and great land- lords of Hrebeljanović, Lazarević, Branković and others, the whole area of the Metohija-Prizren valley got the name Metohija” (Radova- nović, 2004).
4 among the major ones are ami Boué and Victor Bérard (France), joseph Müller, johan Georg von Hahn, Petar Kukolj (austria), alek- sandar Hilferding, ivan jastrebov (Russia), a. P. irby and Miss Muir Mackenzie, William Forsythe (england) and others.

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