The story of Kalesh Angja

In the first centuries of the Ottoman rule, contrary to the Christian people from the other parts of Macedonia, the people from Mariovo were free and they even behaved freely while visiting the bigger cities like Prilep and Bitola.

Kalesh Angja - Oil on canvas - author - Dejan Makrievski
Kalesh Angja - Oil on canvas - author - Dejan Makrievski

Just at one visit like that, when the Mariovo people went shopping in Prilep, the boys who were in the group were taken away and sent to become janissaries. One of those boys was the five-year-old Angele, twin brother of Angja from the family Sirmevci in the village Staravina.

Angele was taken somewhere away in the Ottoman Empire, and Angja grew up in her birthplace to become a beautiful, dark-haired girl, in love with her fiancé Stojan, who she grew up with.

When visiting the village of Vitolishte, Angja’s beauty captured the eyes and mind of the cadi, who captured her and took her in his palaces in Prilep.

However, neither the attractive promises for wealth and luxury, nor the frights and threatening for her life convinced Angja to change her religion and become Cadi’s wife. The despise towards those who had kidnapped her brother, the love for Stojan and the strong belief, gave her strength to endure all the suffering and protect her chastity.

View of the village Staravina from the Peshta Fortress

In the meantime, her closest relatives found out in which house she was kept and succeeded in saving her, and they retreated in Mariovo.

According to the legend, this is also an introduction in the so called Mariovo rebellion (1564-1565), where Angja and Stojan were among the leaders. Anyway, there was a courageous resistance in the fortress Peshta, and the rebels were defeated, chained and taken to Istanbul.