Peshta Fortress, Mariovo

Peshta is a hill between the villages Gradeshnica and Staravina. The earliest archaeological remains on this place come from Roman times, and because of the exceptionally convenient strategic position, it is possible that it had been used even before.


Peshta Fortress, Mariovo

It is supposed that there was a church in the fortress, a facilitating objects and a system for providing water. Peshta was for centuries a protective wall of the people of Mariovo, and the same was connected with the Mariovo rebellion (1564-1565).

The Mariovo rebellion is one of the first organised resistance in Macedonia, in the period when the Ottoman Empire was at the peak of its power. The region Mariovo is a type of a heavily reachable natural beauty, surrounded with high mountains. The number of roads which lead to the village is small, so the rebels managed to defend fromthe attacks, up to the moment when they were surrounded of all sides, and of the highly more numerous army, which led them to retreat in the fortress Peshta. Only the younger folks retreated there, while the elder stayed unprotected in the villages or ran away into the woods.

According to the legend, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts of the Ottoman army to overtake the fortress, they started to torture the people who were found in the villages so as to find out the weak point for conquering the fortress.

The secret was discovered by some grandma who had told them that there is no such thing as a stream in the fortress, but the water is taken there through some underground canal, from a hidden stream nearby. There is an interesting story how the Ottoman army found the canal, meaning they took several horses who had been fed with salty food, and left them a day or two without any water. Then they were tied up on a couple of locations from the eastern side of the fortress, where the canal was supposed to be passing by. One of the horses by sensing some ground water, started digging, and that was how the underwater canal was located and stopped. Without water, the rebels did not have another choice, so they decided to fight to death, and some gave in and were taken to Istanbul.

As the time went by, the fortress stood the test of time, and during the First World War it was on the front line itself. A lot of trenches were built there and it was the bombing target, which thoroughly changed its looks.