The fruitful river Timok, gold-bearing mountain streams and Stara planina have always been interesting for settlement!
Many armies passed through these regions. There was a lot of fighting, burning, destruction and rebuilding and rebuilding.
Hordes of Huns and Avars passed through here, and after them the vast Timok valley was settled by Slavs. The first news about the Slavic tribe Timočani and their prince Born comes from 818. years.
The people of Timo changed masters. They lived under the rule of the Franks, Bulgaria and Byzantium, as evidenced by the remains of numerous medieval settlements and churches preserved in the city’s surroundings.
The Turks conquered this area in 1396. years. Turkish sources only in 1455. say that there were about a hundred villages in Timočka Nahija, among which was the village of Gurgusovče.
Three hundred years later, it was written about Gurgusovac that it is located on Mali Timok, which passes through the town, over which there is a wooden bridge.
The Timočka palanka, as the Turks called it, had 120 Serbian and 46 Turkish houses, two mosques, one of brick and the other of wood. It had two taverns and two inns. On the hill there was a Turkish settlement surrounded by a palisade, with a crew of about 100 men and several cannons. The Nis-Vidin road passed below. There was a square in the middle, which indicates that Knjaževac, then Gurgusovac, was a trading center.
The oldest evidence of human habitation in the territory of the municipality of Knjaževac is a cave drawing in the atar of the village of Gabrovnica, which dates back to prehistoric times.
The area around Knjaževac, formerly Gurgusovac, was inhabited by various tribes, Tribali, Mezi and others, who named the largest river here “Tim aqua” (Black water). Pliny mentions the Timahi tribe, who live in this area. On the threshold of the new era, the Romans came to these regions and named the river Timahus. During the period of Roman rule, it is known that there were two localities in this territory, Timacum maisus (Great Timok) and Timacum minus (Little Timok).
About the origin of the name Gurgusovac
There are several versions about the origin of the name Gurgusovac. According to one version, the name of the city originated from Grgur, the eldest son of the despot Đurđ.
According to the second, after the gurgusan pigeons, which were many in the surrounding forests, and according to the third, the name originates from Đurđeva voda near the Miletina church, not far from Knjaževac, which the Turks called Gjurgu-su (“su˝ means water).
After liberation from the Turks and annexation to Serbia in 1833. Mr. Gurgusovac developed all city functions, although the majority of the population still lived from agriculture.
The appearance of the town in the middle of the 19th century is evidenced by the “Serbske Novine” from 1851. years:
“Whoever saw and knew Gurgusovac fifteen years ago, and compares his condition then with the present, will not deny him great progress.
Then you could see in it mostly houses covered with straw and baskets, and now you can also see them all beautifully built and covered with roof tiles. In addition, there are more mechanics and shops than before. The large and rich bazaar extends on two sides of the old wide main street filled with shops and shops.
But what serves as the biggest decoration of the town and makes every Serb fall in love is a large and beautiful church, and next to it a beautiful school. Apart from that, Gurgusovac is also proud of a well-built municipal hospital, one of the first to be built in Serbia.”
The name Knjaževac
The name Knjaževac was given on the 17th. January 1859 year according to Prince Miloš Obrenović, who was staying in Gurgusovac that day and ordered the burning of the infamous Gurgusovac tower (which for the people was a symbol of darkness and slavery).
By the Law on Places of 1886. Gurgusovac was formally declared a town.
In the period from 1875 to 1877. for a short time, the city was once again occupied by the Turks. 1883. years after the wars of liberation, due to unresolved political and economic circumstances, the Timočka Rebellion broke out. The immediate cause of the rebellion was the confiscation of weapons from the national army by order of King Milan Obrenović, and its leaders were Aleksa Aca Stanojević, Gavra Aničić, Ljuba Božinović and others.
Since 1913 during the Balkan wars, this region was often attacked by Bulgaria, even in 1915. was also occupied. Serbian Army and French Cavalry Brigade 15. October 1918 they liberated Knjaževac.
During the Second World War, this area was occupied by the Germans (in 1941) until the final liberation on the 10th. October 1944 years.
After liberation, the city developed rapidly. Mines in the area are being reopened, industrial plants are being created instead of the former small artisan shops, and all of this affects large population migrations from the countryside to the city.
Bordered by the slopes of Stara Planina, Tresibaba and Tupižnica, crossed by rivers, the banks of which are connected by numerous bridges, the municipality of Knjaževac is a romantic meeting place, which can enchant and spoil with its offer.
Today, the municipality of Knjaževac is based on a combination of rich tradition and modern trends.
With an area of 1,202 km², it is the fourth municipality in Serbia. The municipality consists of one city and 85 rural settlements. The range from the lowest point, in the Timok Valley (about 170 m above sea level), to Baba’s Tooth (1780 m above sea level) on Stara planina, represents a creative space where everyone can find themselves.
According to the last population census, about 32,000 inhabitants live on the territory of the municipality.
Knjaževac is the Little Venice, it lies on three rivers, which are crossed by a large number of bridges, and in the center of the city there is the old trade and crafts center “Stara čaršija”.