Macedonia: Its Races and Their Future
H. Brailsford

IV. The Races of Macedonia

6. The Towns not Typical of Macedonia
 

The towns, however, do not reproduce the real distribution of population in Macedonia. Roughly speaking, Turks, Greeks, Jews, and Gipsies are found only in the towns and may be almost ignored in a broad view of Macedonian


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ethnography. It is long, no doubt, before that conviction forces itself upon the traveller. He will not derive it from the books and newspapers he has studied. They are written by journalists and travellers who have rarely been permitted to stray far outside the towns. There is a legend that travelling in the interior of Turkey is unsafe. That legend is sedulously fostered by the Turks, who are anxious to avail (and with good reason) trust their own lives on a country road. And lastly, the few travellers who have performed the feat are not disposed to make light of their own achievements. But when one has ridden and walked alone over the roads and pathways of Crete and Macedonia, one ceases to put much faith in the fable. But if travelling in the interior is really moderately safe for Europeans, it is certainly uncomfortable. There are no tolerable inns save in three towns upon the railway which Europeans frequent Uskub, Monastir, and Salonica the roads are so execrable that a carriage journey is a purgatory, while saddle-horses, though cheap and good if one buys, are seldom to be had for hire. [1] If the risk and discomfort do not suffice to deter the traveller, the Turks never hesitate, unless he has strong official backing, to stop him peremptorily. The result is that it is of the towns that the traveller writes, in the towns that he forms his impressions, and from the townsmen that he gathers his knowledge. The market-place with its six languages and its four dialects remains in his mind as the type of Macedonia. The confusion and conflict of races is his main preoccupation. He moves among the consulates whose business is the creation by "propaganda" of artificial nationalities. It may escape him that the real Macedonia is the rural Macedonia, a land of village communities, where we may ride for weeks without encountering so much as a hamlet whose native language is other than Bulgarian or Albanian.

There are, it is true, a few real Turkish settlements in

1. See Note A. at the end of the chapter.


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Macedonia, or along its fringe, which live by agriculture. The Moslems of Kailar, on the southern verge of what is properly Macedonia, are genuine Osmanli Turks, who are said to have been exiled from Asia Minor in order that they might be isolated. There is also a similar Turkish belt inland from the Aegean in the rich tobacco-growing country between Serres and Drama, but this again is on the fringe (the eastern fringe) of what is properly Macedonia. Elsewhere even the Moslems of the rural districts come within our generalisation. They are either Albanians or Slavs, [2] converted by force or allured by self-interest to Islam, and while politically they form part of the ruling caste, in language, origin, and even in many of their social customs and institutions they do not differ from their Christian countrymen. As for the Greeks, they are nowhere a village people north of Castoria, save in the peninsula of Chalcidice, the island of Thasos, and along the coastline of the Aegean.

2. These are generally known as Pomacks. They form a solid population in the almost purely Moslem belt between Drama and the Bulgarian frontier.
 

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