Debar ( Dibra Albanian / Dibër ) is a small town in western Macedonia. It is the official seat of the Opština (Albanian Komuna, Turkish Belediye ), which includes not only the city still 19 villages. The border with Albania is only about six miles to the northwest.


Debar is located on a hill about 100 meters above the Debarsees in a historic region, which also bears the name of Debar / Dibra. Up to the Albanian border is only five kilometers and after Peshkopia in Albania, the second largest city of Debar / Dibra region, approximately 25 kilometers. The capital Skopje is around 130 kilometers.

Northeast of the city is the Mavrovo National Park, the largest area of ​​national park in Macedonia. North of Debar the Korab Mountains rise to the highest mountain in Macedonia, the Kobilino poles ( Alb. Maja e Korabit ), with 2764 m. i J.

Southwest one encounters the Stogovo Mountains with the same highest peak on 2318 m. i J.

At the Drin River towards the south, there are up to Struga valley a mile-long canyon that was formed partly from Debar and Globočicasee.


The town has 14,561 people; together with the surrounding villages, which form the Opština of Debar with the city, there are 19,542 inhabitants. The figures are taken from the last census in 2002.

The ethnic distribution for the city fell in 2002 as follows: 10,768 Albanians ( 73.95 %), 1,415 Turks ( 9.72% ), 1,079 Roma ( 7.41 %), 1,054 ethnic Macedonians ( 7.24% ) and 245 individuals of different origin (1.68 %).

94.52 percent of the city residents saw themselves as Muslims in 2002. Of the ethnic Macedonians, a large part was Torbeschen. 4.72 percent were Orthodox Christians and the 0.38 per cent identified themselves as Roman Catholic or had a different faith.



In the 5th century BC, first mentioned as a Doberman, the name of the city in the course of history changed only slightly. In Macedonian it is today Debar (Cyrillic Дебар ), in Albanian Dibra ( definite form, indefinite form: Dibër ) and called on Turkish Debre. During the Ottoman occupation of the Turkish name was also used in an expanded form as Debre -i Bala ( Ottoman دبرهء بالا ). In Bulgarian the city name is written in Дебър. Greek name of the city Dívrē ( Δίβρη ) or Dívra ( Δίβρα ).


For the first time Debar is mentioned in the 5th century BC by Herodotus as a place Doberman. In the 1st century AD Strabo mentions an Illyrian tribe called the Doberer, who settled in the region of the village Doberman. Ptolemy labeled on one of their cards to place Doberus / Doberman, which is inhabited by the Illyrian tribe of the Doberer, also. Archaeological excavations have shown that the ancient Doberman is identical to the present city and the predecessor of Debar was therefore, was an important trading center in its region.

During the Roman period the city grew into a small town named Deborus, which lay on a Roman road. As the Byzantines conquered the region, a castle was built.

Middle Ages and Ottoman

The town of Debar played an important role in the Middle Ages for the Albanian resistance against the Ottomans. League of Lezha was founded in 1444 its origins in Debar - The Skanderbeg - a Christian princes from the region Mat. 1443 met there already some Albanian princes in order to unite against the common enemy. One can therefore say that Debar birthplace of the Albanian struggle against Ottoman expansion was.

In 1502, the city is mentioned under the name of Felix Dibri Petančić, an envoy of Vladislav II, King of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia.

At a regional center with a large market and many shops the town developed during the Ottoman rule. This period also saw the emergence of the art school of Debar, which was known for its wood carvings and iconostasis falls.

Awakening of nationalism

For the history of the Albanians Debar plays a significant role. In 1844, a great battle between Ottoman troops under the commander Hajredin Pasha and Albanian insurgents found there namely under the leadership of Ilyaz Pasha Qoku. Hajredin Pasha was previously sent with the task of Constantine Opel enforce in Debar changes in legislation and the provision of young Albanian men in the Ottoman capital. However, the people of Debar resisted these demands and the revolt spread over the city in the whole region. According to reports, there were a total of about 12,000 deaths. The graves of fallen soldiers are located near the downtown Debar, where they are protected monument.

In the Albanian folk culture of this battle is commemorated with an epic song that sings about the bravery of the Albanian soldiers to their resistance against the Ottoman authorities.

According to § 10 of the firman establishing the Bulgarian Exarchate occurred after a Barred plebiscite in 1897, the Christian population in the city and region of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church at. As a result, Debar eparchy of the Bulgarian Exarchate of a center, which directed here for the Bulgarian population, a high school and three elementary schools was. From the beginning of the 20th century, several rebellions against the Sultan are known. During this period, the population is around 15,000, with the Albanians constituted the majority.

Time under Yugoslavia

After the proclamation of Albanian independence on 28 November 1912 was the majority of the people belonging to their town to this new state. But Serbia was able to prevail in the major powers ( Treaty of London in 1913) that Debar and the entire Albanian-speaking territory of today's Republic of Macedonia comes under his rule. In September 1913 broke out in the region from the Ohrid - Debar Uprising. It was organized by the Bulgarian Macedonia - Adrian Opeler Revolutionary Committee and of the Albanian population and was directed against the new Serbian rule. The location right on the border Debar was from most of its hinterland ( Dibra ) truncated on the Albanian side, and vice versa, the villages in Albania was now isolated from its commercial center. During the Second World War Italy beat 1941, the area occupied by Italy to Albania. Since 1944, the city was part of the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia (Socialist Republic of Macedonia ) and since 1991 the independent Republic of Macedonia.

Attractions and natural landscapes

The main attractions are the Clock Tower ( Sahat - Kula ) and some mosques from the Ottoman era. About 25 kilometers north-east of the city lies the Monastery of Saint Jovan Bigorski from the 11th century.

The area is also known for its many natural landscapes. Among other things, the Debarsee and unspoiled landscapes in his proximity matters. The resort of Mavrovo and the homonymous National Park are among the most famous natural attractions in Macedonia. You are located 20 kilometers due east of the city. The Korab is the highest mountain in the country and is only 28 km air -line distance.


In 2008, the backward extending from Gostivar road was resurfaced. The other route from Struga is an old road and therefore poorly developed. A customs station at the border with Albania is located only six miles northwest. From there a road to Peshkopia and through the mountains on Burrel to Tirana, which is currently being expanded. Also, a train will connect Debar with Tirana and the Macedonian capital, Skopje, in the distant future.

The whole region is strong avalanches in winter.

Sons and daughters of the town

  • John I Debranin (1018-1037), Archbishop of Ohrid
  • Moisi Arianit Golemi († 1464 ), Skanderbeg and regional ally Prince
  • Ilyaz Qoku Pasha (1812-1910), politician and freedom fighter of Rilindja
  • Elez Isuf Ndreu (1861-1924) and Isuf Xhelili († 1924), politician and freedom fighter of Rilindja
  • Said Najdeni (1864-1903), politician of the Rilindja
  • Vehbi Dibra (1867-1937), politician and Muslim cleric
  • Hafiz Sherif Lëngu (1877-1956), politician and Muslim cleric
  • Izet Shatku (1877-1964), politician in Albania
  • Abdurraman Dibra (1885 - ), politician in Albania
  • Fuad Dibra (1886-1944), politician of the Rilindja
  • Josif Bageri (1886-1915), politician and writer Rilindja
  • Faik Shatku (1889-1946), politician in Albania
  • Haki Stërmilli (1895-1953), writer
  • Shefki Shatku (1896 - ), politician in Albania
  • Nexhat Agolli (1914-1949), politician
  • Isa Ndreu (1919-2005), politician
  • Eqrem Basha ( born 1948 ), writer
  • Atli Piperku († 2004), actor and humorist