Bitola inscription
The Bitola inscription is a medieval stone inscription written in Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

. It was found in 1956 during the demolition of an old Ottoman mosque in the town of Bitola
Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the...

, Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

 and it is now kept at the Institute and Museum of Bitola epigraphic monument as "a marble slab with Cyrillic letters of Ioan Vladislav from 1015/17". The text commemorates the fortification works on the fortress of Bitola under a certain Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Ivan. It is believed to date it from c. 1015 and the monarch in question is Tsar Ivan Vladislav of Bulgaria
Ivan Vladislav of Bulgaria
Ivan Vladislav ruled as emperor of Bulgaria from August or September 1015 to February 1018. The year of his birth is unknown, but he was born at least a decade before 987, but probably not much earlier than that....

. According to some scholars, the inscription dates back from the 13th century, in which case it would be Tsar Ivan Asen of Bulgaria.


The text of the inscription is partially damaged.
The text, with some conjectures made by Vladimir Moshin and Iordan Zaimov to reconstruct the damaged parts, reads as follows:

A translation of only the clearly readable parts is as follows:


The official state doctrine in the Republic of Macedonia denies any Bulgarian link to medieval Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

 and especially to Tsar Samuil's state and to its rulers, as Ivan Vladislav for example. The historical and political importance of the inscription were the reason for controversy in the Republic of Macedonia in 2006. The French consulate in Bitola sponsored and prepared a tourist catalogue of the town and printed on its front cover the entire text of the inscription. News about it had spread prior to the official presentation of the catalogue and was a cause for confusion among the officials of the Bitola municipality. The French consulat was warned, the printing of the new catalogue was stopped and the photo on the cover was changed.

See also

  • Comitopuli dynasty
    Comitopuli dynasty
    The Cometopuli dynasty was the last royal dynasty in the First Bulgarian Empire, ruling from ca. 976 until the fall of Bulgaria under Byzantine rule in 1018. The most notable member of the dynasty, tsar Samuel is famous for successfully resisting Byzantine conquest for more than 40 years.-Origin...

  • History of Bulgaria
    History of Bulgaria
    The history of Bulgaria spans from the first settlements on the lands of modern Bulgaria to its formation as a nation-state and includes the history of the Bulgarian people and their origin. The first traces of human presence on what is today Bulgaria date from 44,000 BC...

  • History of the Republic of Macedonia
    History of the Republic of Macedonia
    - Ancient period :In antiquity, most of the territory that is now the Republic of Macedonia was included in the kingdom of Paeonia, which was populated by the Paeonians, a people of Thracian origins, but also parts of ancient Illyria and Dardania, inhabited by various Illyrian peoples, and...

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