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Vinica and Vinica Fortress

Dialing code: +389 (0)33
Postal code: 2310
License plates: ŠT 000-XX
Coordinates: 41°52′ N, 22°30′E
Website: www.opstinavinica.gov.mk

 The city of Vinica is located in Eastern Macedonia, in the foothills of mountain Plackovica. With population of 10.000 inhabitants, Vinica is situated at an altitude of 380-450 m, under the fortress at Vinichko Kale. Due to the transportation geographic position, the city is of a local importance. One branch of the motorway, which from Veles and Stip via Kocani and Delchevo leads to Bulgaria, passes through Vinica. Due to the Mediterranean continental clime, Vinica is suitable for agriculture which is one of the major activities in the city, mostly engaged in the production of rice, which is very characteristic of the basin in which Vinica is located. The town also has industrial activities, best represented by the textiles and wood furniture production industry. Also, the city of Vinica is rich in thermal and mineral springs of waters, which have healing characteristics because of the chemical composition of the water.

Famous terracotta icons from Vinica

The first traces of the existence of a population in this region date from the Eneolithic period, through ancient Roman, Early Christian and Late Roman times. Vinica (deriving from Latin Vinis) as a Slavic name originates from the first half of the 7th century because of grape growing and production of wine in this region.

What makes Vinica unique is the archaeological site of Vinica Fortress dating from the late Roman period. Even though there are more than 96 registered archaeological sites in the area, the Fortress of Vinica is the most important, because of the famous terracotta icons found during the long-term excavations, which are assumed to date from the 5th and 6th.

Under Roman rule, one of the larger settlements within the area was positioned approximately in the present location of the town Vinica. Remains of that settlement have so far been found at several locations. However, its expansion throughout Roman time, is without doubt connected to the intensification of trading, mining, metal processing and pottery, of which there are serious traces. Throughout that period, the need for protection of people and acquired riches was clearly raised, and therefore at Vinichko Kale as a convenient strategic point, a fortified city (castle) was erected. The fortified city covered an interior surface of approximately 2.5 hectares.

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During the Early Christian period, life in Vinichko Kale was in full bloom. We hereby take into consideration the archaeological finding of terracotta relief, also known as the terracotta icons from Vinica, a unique of this kind in the entire world. The terracotta icons are an affirmation of the highly developed knowledge of the Christian religion and its complex symbolism even in the 5-6th centuries.

Overview of Vinica Fortress

The terracotta icons from Vinica are clay plates, molded so that their front contains a relief impression with a specific iconographic content made in several identical replicas. The motifs are from the Old and the New Testament. All the relief forms have been created in a way that indicates a profound comprehension of the religion, which one rarely encounters outside the Byzantine metropolis.

The significance of these artifacts is even greater because their purpose or exact function is still covered in mystery and lays hidden beneath the vast unexplored area around and in the fortress. Numerous archaeologists and art historians are still trying to solve the puzzle left by the former residents of the Vinica’s fortress.