|• Mayor||Anela Čekić|
|• Total||3.73 km2 (1.44 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,014 m (3,327 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Gusinje (Cyrillic : Гусиње, pronounced [ɡǔsiɲe] ; Albanian : Gucia) is a small town in north-eastern Montenegro. According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 1,673 and is the administrative center of Gusinje Municipality.
Two alternative etymologies have been proposed for the toponym Gusinje. One links it to Slavic guska (goose), the other to an Illyrian word Geusiae from which the Albanian name of the town, Guci(a), would have evolved.In archival records, it has been recorded variably as Gousino (Гоусино), Gustigne (1614) in Venetian archives, Gusna (گوسن) and Gusinye in Ottoman Turkish.
The town is located in the Plav-Gusinje area, part of the upper Lim valley in the Prokletije range at an elevation of 1,014 m. Zla Kolata, the highest mountain in Montenegro about 10 km south of Gusinje in the Prokletije National Park.
Gusinje is on the Vermosh River, which flows eastwards towards Plav. About 2 km south of Gusinje's center is the source of Vruja creek, Ali Pasha's springs (Alipašini izvori/Krojet e Ali Pashës). Vruja creek enters the Vermosh east of town, between this confluence and Plav is locally called Luca. Just before the Vermosh reaches Plav it flows into Lake Plav. The Vermosh is the first tributary of the Lim river.
Gusinje is the seat of the municipality of the same name. From 1953 to 2014, it was part of Plav Municipality. In 2014, it became again a distinct municipality. The town's boundaries form ~3.73 km² of the total 157 km² of the municipality. Much of the area of the municipality is mountainous land used in the past for livestock herding.
It is known that a medieval settlement was located in the territory of present-day Gusinje. Gusinje was mentioned as a caravan station on the Ragusa-Cattaro–Scutari–Peć route, in the 14th century.In historical record, Gusinje appears in 1485 in the defter of the sanjak of Scutari as a village in the vilayet of Plav, a hass-ı hümayun (imperial domain) that stood directly under the Ottoman Sultan. It had 96 households, 21 unmarried men and four widows. This is was a big settlement compared to other villages in Montenegro and northern Albania.
Gusinje stood at the intersection of the Ottoman trade routes between northern Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo. Thus, the trade that passed through Gusinje generated much wealth for the Sultan and the Ottoman officials who were granted taxing rights. This made the trade route a constant target for the Albanian tribal community (fis) of Kelmendi, which lived along the route as they were in rebellion against the Ottomans and were plundering their trade routes. Venetian diplomat Mariano Bolizza who travelled in the region reported that at the end of 1612 the building of the fortress of Gusinje - near which the modern town developed - was completed. km to the west and ~10 km to the north of the routes from the Kelmendi mountains (malet e Kelmendit) to modern Sandzak. The surrounding villages to the west and south (Vusanje) are Kelmendi settlements. The fortress was built at the reguest of Sem Zaus, the Ottoman bey of Podgorica who wanted to stop the attacks of Kelmendi and to be able to travel freely in his domain. In 1614, Mariano Bolizza reported that the village had 100 households and a garrison of 237 men under Belo Juvanin. The fortress was also designed to stop the movement of the Kuči and Triepshi tribes in the Upper Lim valley.The location was chosen because it stands at the convergence of pathways from Kelmendi. The original location of the fort was near the village of Grnćar/Gërnçar. Modern Gusinje stands ~6
In time despite Ottoman expeditions and relocations of these communities in Sandzak, Kelmendi and other tribes like Kuči, Triepshi and Shala came to form many of the historical neighbourhoods (mahalla) of Gusinje of today. Their descendants although initially Christian, willingly or forcefully converted to Islam, largely by the middle 18th century. An important family - which later developed into a brotherhood - in the development of Gusinje is that of the Omeragaj (today known as Omeragić) from Shala who appeared in the village in the early 18th century .The different mosques of Gusinje today represent the different brotherhoods that built them. For example, the Cekaj mosque (Čekića džamija/xhamia e Cekajve) was built by the Cekaj brotherhood from Triepshi in 1687, while the New Mosque built in 1899 is known as Radončića after the Radončići brotherhood from Kuči. At the beginning of the 18th century, Gusinje was the seat of the local kadiluk. In terms of military administration, the captaincy of Gusinje was part of the Bosnia Eyalet in 1724. Central Ottoman administration collapsed in the decades to come and the Pashalik of Shkodra emerged as a regional power. The Vezir's mosque, built by Kara Mahmud Bushati in 1765 in the town center is a symbol of the Pashalik's influence in the upper Lim valley. Its downfall in 1831 brought back actual Ottoman rule. In 1852, in the register of the Kosovo Vilayet, Gusinje is recorded with 1,500 households. It was a developing town that had 350 shops, eight madrasas and five mosques. The captaincy of Gusinje in 1869 was part of the sanjak of Prizren.
As the Ottoman Empire disintegrated in the long 19th century already in the Treaty of San Stefano, Gusinje and Plav were awarded to the independent Principality of Montenegro. Gusinje was developing as a commercial town at the time, but still remained outside properly established rule of Ottoman law. Gun ownership was widespread and Ottoman rule was difficult to enforce.This environment allowed for the existence of an effective resistance against annexation. The Albanians of Gusinje opposed the decisions of the treaty and sent telegrams of protest to the embassies of the Great Powers. In the Congress of Berlin and its final treaty those decisions were finalized. The Albanians in the two regions reacted against the final decision in favor annexation and formed the League of Prizren.
A noted figure of the League of Prizren was Ali Pasha Shabanagaj, a landowner and military commander from Gusinje. In the ensuing Battle of Novšiće the League of Prizren led by Shabanagaj defeated the approaching Montenegrin forces led by Marko Miljanov. km to the north of Plav, in the Ottoman press of the time it became known as Gusinye hadisesi (Gusinye Incident) because of its crucial role in the struggle.More than 140 dead and wounded of the ~300 casualties of the League of Prizren in the battle were from Gusinje. Ismail Omeraga, was a leading commander of the Gusinje volunteers who died in the battles for the defense of Plav-Gusinje. His head was carried back in Cetinje, capital of Montenegro. Reports after the battle claim that the victors carried into the town 60 heads from their defeated foes. The annexation was effectively stopped and the Great Powers began another round of negotiations which eventually led to Ulcinj's annexation by Montenegro as compensation. The battle became a point of reference in the Albanian National Awakening and set a precedent about the need of armed struggle to defend other areas. Although the battle took place near Novšiće which is ~4
In 1893, Gusinje had 1,600 households, 5 mosques and 240 shops.The districts were part of the Sanjak of Novi Pazar of the Kosovo Vilayet until October 1912 (de jure, until 1913). The Montenegrin army captured the region and entered Plav on 19 October and 20 October. Its entry was followed by a period of harsh military administration which until March 1913 had caused up to more than 1,800 killings of locals and 12,000 forced conversions to Christian Orthodoxy. In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, Gusinje became a subject of dispute between newly independent Albania and Montenegro. Nicholas I of Montenegro in the London Peace Conference asked for the region of Kelmendi as otherwise communication between the capital of Podgorica and the new eastern provinces of Montenegro would be blocked. As Kelmendi finally became part of Albania, Gusinje was given to Montenegro with the provision that the people of Kelmendi would have free passage to the town. About 2000 Albanian refugees from Gusinje and Plav were reported in Shkodra in 1913 by the director of the Red Cross which was stationed in the city. The beginning of WWI in practice stopped the implementation of any agreement. In 1919, the decision was reaffirmed but the border was closed. In Albania, the closing of the border between Malësia and Gusinje has been seen as a main cause for the interwar impoverishment of areas like Kelmendi and Shala, which were deprived from access to their traditional market town.
The entry of the Montenegrin army in 1912-13 and the Yugoslav army after 1919 in Gusinje was accompanied by repressive policies against the local population. In 1919, Rožaje was one of the centres of the Plav rebellion (Plavska pobuna) that fought against the inclusion of Sandzak in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.About 450 Muslim local civilians were killed in Gusinje and nearby Plav after the uprising was quelled. These events remain a matter of dispute in modern Montenegrin politics. In 2013, the President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović made one of the first direct acknowledgments of the events in Montenegrin politics in a ceremony in Berane where he declared that the crimes performed in Plav and Gusinje are the dark side of the Montenegrin history.
Gusinje became part of Albania in WWII by Fascist Italy and then Nazi Germany to win the support of the local population. After the war, the 1913 borders were reaffirmed. Gusinje's status as a distinct municipality was revoked in 1953. Along with other reasons it fueled immigration and impoverishment in the town and the municipality.In 2014, Gusinje regained its municipal status.
In Gusinje there are a number of the historical mosques of Montenegro. The oldest preserved mosque in the town is Čekića džamija or xhamia e Cekajve built by the Cekaj brotherhood of Triepshi. The second oldest is the Vezir's mosque (vezirova džamija/xhamia e vezirit) built by Kara Mahmud Bushati in 1765 on the existing site of another mosque originally built in 1626. The New Mosque (nova džamija/xhamia e re) also known as Radončića was built by the Radončići brotherhood of Kući in 1899. There are also a number of mosques whose ruins only remain today. The mosque of Sultan Ahmed I was built during his reign between 1603 and 1617. It was burnt in 1746-47. Another ruined mosque is that built by the Gjylbegaj family (a branch of the Begolli family). It was built in 1833.
Since 1913, Gusinje has experienced many waves of immigration in the 20th century. These have depopulated it as a result in the 21st century. The municipality of Gusinje reports that 18,400 people trace their origins to the town of Gusinje out of a total diaspora of ~30,000 from the Gusinje area. They mostly live in the US.Gusinje is almost entirely Muslim and either Albanian-speaking or Slavic-speaking. The Slavic dialect of Gusinje and Plav shows very high structural influence from Albanian. Its uniqueness in terms of language contact between Albanian and Slavic is explained by the fact that most Slavic-speakers in today's Gusinje are of Albanian origin.
The local football team is FK Gusinje, who play in the country's third tier. They play their home games at the City Stadium. The town's basketball team is KK Stršljen.
Gusinje is twinned with:
The League of Prizren, officially the League for the Defense of the Rights of the Albanian Nation, was an Albanian political organization officially founded on June 10, 1878 in the old town of Prizren, in the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire, and suppressed in 1881.
Sandžak, also known as Sanjak, is a historical geo-political region in Serbia and Montenegro. The name Sandžak derives from the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, a former Ottoman administrative district founded in 1865. Serbs usually refer to the region by its medieval name of Raška.
Malësia e Madhe, known simply as Malësia, is a historical and ethnographic region in northern Albania and eastern central Montenegro corresponding to the highlands of the geographical subdivision of the Malësi e Madhe District in Albania and Tuzi Municipality in Montenegro. The largest settlement in the area is the town of Tuzi.
Plav is a town in north-eastern Montenegro. It has a population of 3,717. Plav is the centre of Plav Municipality.
Albanians in Montenegro are an ethnic group in Montenegro of Albanian descent, which constitute 4.91% of Montenegro's total population. They are the largest non-Slavic ethnic group in Montenegro.
Kelmendi is a historical Albanian tribe (fis) and region in Malësia and eastern Montenegro. It is located in the upper valley of the Cem river and its tributaries in the Accursed Mountains range of the Dinaric Alps. The Vermosh river springs in the village of the same, which is Albania's northernmost village. Vermosh pours into Lake Plav.
Kuči is a historical tribe (pleme) and region in central and eastern Montenegro, north-east of Podgorica, extending along the border with Albania. Its historical center is the village of Ubli.
Ali Pasha Shabanagaj, was an Albanian military commander and one of the leaders of the League of Prizren. He governed, as an Ottoman kaymakam (sub-governor), an area in what is today eastern Montenegro around Plav and Gusinje. He was commonly known as Ali Pasha of Gusinje. He was the leader of the Albanian irregular troops of the League of Prizren against the Principality of Montenegro at the Battle of Novšiće.
Hoti is a historical Albanian tribe (fis) and sub-region of Malësia, a divided area located in northern Albania and southern Montenegro. Its geography is mostly mountainous, but some of its villages are on flat terrain near the banks of Lake of Shkodër.
Koja e Kuçit is a historical Albanian tribe and region in Malësia. Koja is a Catholic region located between Triepshi and Kuči. The people of Koja are referred to as Kojanë or Koqas.
The Battle of Deçiq marked the beginning of the turning point for Albanian secession from Ottoman Empire.
Vusanje is a village in Gusinje Municipality, Montenegro. According to the 2003 census, the town had 648 inhabitants.
Vermosh is the northernmost village of Albania, located in the former Kelmend municipality. At the 2015 local government reform it became part of the municipality Malësi e Madhe. The village lies in a valley of the Albanian Alps, along a river with the same name.
The Attack against Mehmed Ali Pasha, known in Albanian historiography as the Action of Gjakova, was undertaken from 3–6 September 1878 by the Gjakova Committee of the League of Prizren in the estate of Abdullah Pasha Dreni near Gjakova. During the battle Mehmed Ali Pasha, the Ottoman marshal who was to overview the cession of the predominantly Albanian Plav and Gusinje region to the Principality of Montenegro, Abdullah Pasha Dreni, a notable official of the region and former member of the league, many Ottoman soldiers, and volunteers of the Gjakova Committee were killed.
The Battle of Novšiće was a battle for control over Plav and Gusinje fought on 4 December 1879 between the forces of Principality of Montenegro led by Marko Miljanov and local pro-Ottoman forces which included irregulars of the League of Prizren, both commanded by Ali Pasha, the Kaymekam of Gusinje. The League of Prizren consisted mainly of Albanians and some Bosniaks from Plav and Gusinje in Scutari Vilayet and irregulars from Kosovo Vilayet. Some of them where Muslims of Montenegrin origin like Husein Bektešević.
During the implementation of the Congress of Berlin, when the Principality of Montenegro had received Plav and Gusinje, the surrounding Albanian populace under the guise of the Ottomans attacked the Montenegrin forces in Velika at two occasions, on October 9 and November 22, 1879. The Ottomans were defeated.
The Bratonožići is a historical tribe (pleme) in the Brda region of Montenegro. It appeared during the Ottoman period and was a captaincy of the Principality of Montenegro in the 19th century. Today, it forms part of northeastern Podgorica Municipality. In Montenegro, the majority of people who trace their origin in Bratonožići identify as Christian Orthodox Montenegrins and a part identify as Christian Orthodox Serbs. Brotherhoods (bratstvo) from the historical tribe that settled in Bijelo Polje and became Muslims in the Ottoman period identify as Bosniaks. In the 18th century, many families from the region settled in western Serbia. In Kosovo, a part of the Serbs of western Kosovo come from Bratonožići.
Gusinje Municipality is a municipality in eastern Montenegro in the upper Lim valley at an elevation of about 1,000 m (3,000 ft). It was created in 2014, when it split from Plav Municipality. Its center is the small town of Gusinje, and its biggest village in terms of territory is Vusanje. Two of Montenegro's highest mountains overlook Gusinje: Zla Kolata and Visitor. Many of Gusinje's settlements are historically linked with the Albanian Kelmendi tribe (fis). The village of Gusinje developed into a town the 17th century around a fortress built by the Ottomans to contain the Kelmendi. In the 19th century, Gusinje was a developing regional market center. It was engulfed in 1879–1880 in a struggle between the Principality of Montenegro that wanted to annex it and the League of Prizren that opposed it. After the Balkan Wars, Gusinje became part of Montenegro and in 1919 part of Yugoslavia. Today, it is part of Montenegro since its declaration of independence in 2006.
Trieshi is a historical Albanian tribe (fis) and region in Montenegro above the right bank of the Cem river near the Albanian border in Tuzi Municipality. It is part of the region of Malësia.
The Plav-Gusinje massacres of 1912-1913 occurred between late 1912 and March 1913 in the areas of the modern Plav and Gusinje municipalities and adjacent areas. More than 1,800 locals, mostly Muslim Albanians from these two regions were killed and 12,000 were forced to convert to Orthodoxy by the military administration put in charge of these regions by the Kingdom of Montenegro which had annexed them during the First Balkan War.