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Out of the Balkans

Part 1: Out of the Balkans

Chapter 2, continued:
Dimitraki: Out of Macedonia

The village of Mavrovo existed as early as 1380. The name Mavros appears along with that of Krepeni in a title deed executed by the Serbian Nicholas Bagas Baldovin.(16) Toward the end of the eighteenth century the patriarch of the Mavrovitis family brought his people from the nearby village of Krepeni to Mavrovo to save them from plague. There was probably a frequent exchange of populations between these villages.

Remarkably, the small village of Mavrobo (a variant spelling) is identified on a British map of 1830.

There are seventy-two churches and chapels in the area surrounding Lake Kastoria. Of them, the Monastery of the Virgin Mary of Mavriotissa is one of the earliest and finest examples. It is located on the remote eastern shore of the mountainous promontory that juts out into the lake, so is thus hidden from the city which is on its western slope. Mavriotissa lies directly across the lake from the village of Mavrovo. Originally named Mesonisiotissa,(17) the monastery changed its name to Krepenitissa in the early seventeenth century after the village of Krepeni. In the mid to late seventeenth century it changed its name again to Mavriotissa, after Mavrovo whose inhabitants had long been its patrons.(18)

The Monastery owned large tracts of land in the village of Krepeni on the opposite bank of the lake. It is clear that Krepeni and Mavrovo had an historical relationship with each other and with the Monastery at Mavriotissa.

The site of the Mavriotissa is located at the point where in 1083 Byzantine troops under the command of George Paleologus landed to encircle from the rear and rout the Norman garrison left at Kastoria by Robert Guiscard. Byzantine Emperor Alexis I likely had the old main church built at the site in commemoration of the event.

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