Rumen Kamilov


“How beautiful you are, my forest!
You smell of youth…”

The Legend of Kajmakchalan

The legend of Kajmakchalan was told to me by Vlado Borojevic and Rumen Kamilov,who made this beautiful photo-series.

I am not certain I can convey it authentically!

The legend refers to a kind of a "woodland under a spell", which spreads infinitely all the way up to the top of Kajmakchalan, at a height of over 2500 meters above sea level.

No one touches the wood, which grows daily, expanding, becoming denser and darker. The lumberjacks tell of how every time they cut a trunk, the saw cracks, breaks! No one knows the secret of this spell so well as the yearly marks on the trunks. They merged deeply with the tree, the bullets, grenades and helmets of the soldiers who waged war here for years. Buried in trenches just 60 to 100 meters apart, they sadly found themselves on two opposite sides, people who, after the long drawn out battles, just wanted to survive and to return home. In the serious battles, in which about a hundred thousand people died, Kajmakchalan several times went from one side's hands to the other.

But during periods of long truce, they would go back to what they originally were, co-villagers, close to each other by their language and faith, who plant beans and potatoes on the front line, who buy, sell and mutually exchange goods, who wash their clothes in the same river that divides them, who remind each other, help each other, become godfathers and friends… Many of them proved to be noble, generous, dedicated…

Atop the "green and fresh" Kajmakchalan there is a small white memorial…. From there a view of all of Pelagonija to the West and the lakes of Kostur to the South is simply beautiful!

Mirjana Maleska, the Editor