Kajmakčalan Peak (2521 m) – Nidze Mountain
Kajmakchalan (Kaimakchalan, Kaimaktsalan, Macedonian: Кајмакчалан) is a mountain peak on Nidze mountain at an altitude of 2.521 m.a.s.l. Located on the southern border of the Republic of Macedonia, it is the fifth highest peak in Macedonia and the third highest peak in Greece.
From the peak Kajmakcalan, the lakes Vegoritida and Petron in Greece and the whole Mariovo region in the Republic of Macedonia can be seen.
Near Kajmakcalan are located the villages Skocivir in Macedonia and the ski center Voras in Greece.
Kajmakchalan Virtual tour created by a member of OFF ROAD Macedonia
About the toponym Kajmakcalan
According to one legend, the name Kajmakcalan originates from the name of the thief “Kajmak” (the best), who climbed at the peak with his fellows, carrying the stolen gold from the raids. Kajmak dug out a hole and hid the gold, after which the leader the of group killed him and said that in this way he will be an eternal keeper of the buried treasure. (Kajmakcalan – literally translation: Kajmak+calam = the best in stealing). There are also other legends and stories for the name Kajmakcalan.
Battle of Kajmakcalan
The peak Kajmakchalan during the First World War was one of the key positions on the Macedonian Front. The Battle for Kajmakchalan will be remembered for a large number of victims on both sides, ie the Bulgarian and Serbian soldiers which were stationed in this part of the front, which both also included a number of Macedonians.
The peak Kajmakcalan was a significant strategic position for both sides. The Bulgarians called it “Boris city” (after prince Boris) because they thought it was impregnable, whereas the Serbs called it “The Gate of freedom”.
The Kaimakcalan battle was fought between 12 and 30 September 1916, when the first Serbian army managed to take the top peak (also called St. Elijah), ousting the Bulgarian army towards Mariovo, where they set up a new defensive line. Between 26 and 30 September, the summit Kajmakcalan has been taken over several times, until the Serbian army finally conquered it and kept it on 30 September. Human casualties were enormous on both sides, primarily due to man to man fight.
With the conquest of Kajmakcalan, the Entente armies were able to continue with further operations, which on November 19, 1916 resulted in the conquest of Bitola.
According to some sources, immediately after the Kajmakcalan Battle, given the large number of casualties on both sides, the soldiers started to build some kind of memorial chapel. The temple St. Peter and Paul was completed in 1921 with the nearby ossuary which houses the bones of many unknown soldiers, which were gathered many years after the First World War. The Belltower and the facilities around the chapel were built in 1928, marking the 10th anniversary of the end of the First World War. On that occasion also was put into service the road leading from Bitola to Kaimakchalan.
Kajmakcalan chapel in 1920/30s
Aerial view of Kajmakcalan Peak in 1930s
Rudolphe Archibald Reiss (8 July 1875 – 8 August 1929) was a German-Swiss criminology-pioneer, forensic scientist, professor, writer and correspondent for newspapers in several countries, reporting the events directly from the front.
At the request of the Serbian government, he arrives in Serbia in 1914 to investigate the crimes against civilians, made by the armies of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Bulgaria. He remained in Serbia until the end of his life.
Last time he visited Kajmakcalan on September 15, 1928, marking the 10th anniversary of the Dobro Pole Battle.
Rudolphe Archibald Reiss and the urn in which his heart was placed
Rudolphe Archibald Reiss died on August 8, 1929 in his villa in Belgrade called “Dobro Pole” and he was buried at the Topcider cemetery. At his request, his heart was taken away in an urn on the peak Kajmakčalan, where it rested along with other soldiers that died here. The heart today is missing but the urn can still be seen into the chapel.
The peak Kajmakcalan is visited by tourists during the whole year. During the winter, many tourists that visit the ski center Voras in Greece also visit the peak Kajmakcalan, and during summer, the Peak is visited by many tourists interested in the First World War.
The easiest and most reliable way to visit the peak Kajmakcalan is with 4×4 vehicles, and our organization has experienced drivers with modern and air-conditioned vehicles that will enable you an unforgettable one-day experience.
Read more: Kajmakcalan Jeep Excursions >>>
Kajmakcalan Photo Gallery
- Visit of Kajmakcalan Peak on foot from the Greek side.
- Date: 31.07.2016