Veles (previously Titov Veles) is a city located in the central part of Macedonia with a population of 43.716 (2002).
Veles is located in “Mala Veleska kotlina” (Small Veles basin) on both sides on the Vardar River.
The city covers an area of 1.100 ha and is located on an elevation between 155 and 270 meters.
Trough Veles passes the national road M-1 and the European road E-75, which on the south connects Veles with Gevgelija and Thessaloniki and on North with the capital Skopje.
Veles is a railroad knot in which from the Vardar railroad two branches are separated towards Stip and Kocani on the east, and Prilep and Bitola on the west.
Veles has an alternate Mediterranean climate, with an average year air temperature of 13.3 C (55.4 F). Near Veles, the lake Mladost is located.
The city is an old settlement that under the name of Bila Zora is mentioned in 217 BC, when a city within Paeonia falls under the rule of the Macedonian king Philip V.
Then for the Macedonian state, the city located not far from the estuary of the Topolka and Vardar River, had great strategic importance for the defense of its northern boundaries from the Dardanians.
In the Middle Ages, under the name of Veles is mentioned at the beginning of the eleventh century in a charter by the Byzantine emperor Basil II. During Dushan rule Veles was the capital of the Despot Jovan Oliver.
Under the Turks, Veles fell in 1395 when they gave it a new name – Kjupurli or “city bridges”. In 1689 Veles experiencing difficult days, was seized by the Austrian army, which had burned it during its retreat.
Since the late eighteenth century to the 70s of the XIX century, Veles is rapidly becoming an important economic, cultural and administrative center. In the second half of the nineteenth century in the city lived around 20,000 inhabitants, and the city had strongly developed leather, grain, and wine trade. The Veles fair was widely known, on which most traded good was sahtijan. In the city annually were processed about 400,000 pieces of leather, that was mainly purchased from Kosovo, and exported in Budapest and Vienna.
When the leather trade weakened, Veles traders began to deal with grain. This is developed especially during the Crimean War (1853-1856 AD), When the price of wheat was very high. In that period the Vardar River is adapted for sailing objects, which transported the grain from Veles with special rafts called nails, to Thessaloniki. After the construction of the railroad in 1873 around the railway station began to develop the industrial area of Veles.
From 1900 to 1931 the population in Veles was in constant decline and then starts to grow.
This growth is retained until 1991, from when the number of its population stagnates.
In 2002 in Veles lived 43,716 inhabitants.
Veles is the administrative center of the Municipality of Veles, which covers an area of 42,745 ha, with 29 settlements and 55,108 inhabitants. The favorable traffic position enabled Veles in the second half of the last century to develop into a significant economic, cultural, and educational center.
Among the most important cultural and historical monuments in Veles, we can mention the churches “St. Demetrius and St. Nicholas built in the XIV century, the Clock Tower in the city center, Memorial monument on the left side of Vardar River in which a museum is housed.
St. Dimitrij Monastery
One of the greatest Macedonian poets from the first half of the XX century, Kosta Racin was born in Veles. His native house is converted into a museum. Veles also is the birthplace of the revivalist Jordan Hadzi Konstantinov – Dzinot (Giant), Vasil Glavinov, Thessalonica Assassins (ie Gemidzhii).
- Where is Veles: Vardar Region, Central Macedonia
- Area: 42,745 ha
- Elevation: 155 – 270 m (508 – 885 ft)
- Population: 55 .108 (2002 census)
- Climate: Changing Mediterranean
- Dialing code: +389 43
- Postal code: 1400
- Time Zone: CET (UTC+1) / Summer (DST):CST (UTC+2)
- Celebration day: November 9th
- Coordinates: 41°43′12″N 21°47′36″E