Gorazdevac Village

Gorazdevac Village

Gorazdevac is a tiny village near the city of Pec, in the south-west part of the province of Kosovo and Metohija, surrounded with gorgeous, wild and gigantic ranges of the Prokletije Mountains /Accursed Mountains/. Gorazdevac – Goražda Vas – the village in the Medieval Hvosno area, was first mentioned in 1220 in the founding charter – chrysobull of King Stefan Nemanya, the First Crowned. Before 1999, there were 2,500 Serbs living in Gorazdevac – now there are only some 850 people living in the village since 1999 UN administration. Gorazdevac village has been inhabited since the 13th century, and possesses the oldest log-cabin church in Serbia, constructed probably at the end of the 16th century or the beginning of the 17th century, dedicated to Saint Jeremiah, the patron saint of the village. Although very small, the Saint Jeremiah Church in Gorazdevac village features a complete nave and the narthex. St Jeremiah Church in Gorazdevac is the only log church in this part of Serbia. The old icons and church vessels are now kept in a newly built church in Gorazdevac, dedicated to the Shroud of the Holy Virgin in the vicinity of the old one. In the late seventies of the 20th century, the Saint Jeremiah Church in Gorazdevac underwent extensive conservation and restoration works.

As a Serb-inhabited ghetto /enclave/ in a heavily Albanian-inhabited region of western Kosovo, Goraždevac village has for several years been the scene of ethnic tensions and pressures between the two communities. Goraždevac village was the scene of attacks by the guerrilla group, the “Kosovo Liberation Army”, in the late nineties who executed the occupied Serb paramilitary forces, accused of committing atrocities against the local Albanian population. After the end of the Kosovo War in June 1999, many of population of Gorazdevac village /around 2,000 Serbs/ fled from constant and repeated attacks by Albanian militants, though some later returned. The Serb population of Goraždevac village today is said to be around 900 people. Despite having been under foreign control for many long centuries and today as well, the patriarchal way of life is preserved in Goraždevac village, strongly visible in folklore, the ritual practice, oral literature and spiritual culture. There are 103 pupils in the primary school and 70 students in the Gymnasium – secondary school /with the branch in Osojane village/. Goraždevac village is the birth-village of Kosovo Serb who were facing difficult choices and decided not to leave from the cradle of the nation, choosing the isolated ghettos under 24-hour guard by KFOR troops, and suffering of pressures and intimidation typical of the time the 80s right before our eyes.

Few years ago we have organized a memorable excursion to Vojvodina and Belgrade for children of the Gorazdevac Gymnasium, which made us so happy and we still remember by the outstandingly emotional and warm experiences.

On 13th August 2003, a 19-year old Serbian teenager Ivan Jovović and a 12-year old boy Pantelija Dakić were shot dead, with four more children Dragana Srbljak, Bogdan Bukumirić, Đorđe Ugrenović and Bogdan Bukumirić severely wounded, while they were swimming in the Bistrica River at the edge of the village of Goraždevac. This massacre of children in Gorazdevac, as a clear evidence of genocide before our eyes was widely blamed on Albanian extremists, but the culprits have not yet been found and arrested.