Aleksinac (Алексинац) is a town and municipality located in the Nišava District of Serbia. In 2002, the population of the town was 17,171, while population of the municipality was 57,749.
Prehistory and Atiquity
Territory of municipality of Aleksinac was inhabited since the neolithic age. The most settlements belong to the Vinča cultural group, and they are located on the left side of the South Morava river.
After the fall to the Romans this territory was included in the province Upper Moesia nad after 293 AD it is in the province Mediterranian Dacia. Across the territory was made Roman Military Road (Via Militaris) that was built in I century AD. There were also two stations for rest (mansio) and change of horses (mutatio) along the road on the territory of Aleksinac: Praesidium Pompei and Rappiana. Their location is still unknown, although there are few candidates for this position. Also few fortresses (Castell) are known to existed in this period, but their names are not known, except for the Castell Milareca on Gradiste hill (228. m).
From the year 476 this territory is under the Byzantine rule. There are evidences of settlements from this time, however their names still remain unknown.
During the reigns of emperors Phocas (602-610) and Heraclius (610-641) Slavic peoples inhabit Balkan peninsula. In 614 they are razing Niš. The Via Militaris is renamed Medieval Military Road and it is used by the crusaders of first four Crusades to reach Constantinople thus passing through the territory of Aleksinac municipality.
During the reign of Nemanjić dynasty this territory is under direct control of the state. After the death of Uroš V this territory is included in the territory of Moravian Serbia under the Prince Lazar and his succesors. From this periods are two medieval towns Bolvan and Lipovac.
Aleksinac is first mentioned in 1516 in “Kruševački Tefter”, a list of towns and it’s residents made by Turks to keep an eye on taxes, as the village belonging to Bolvan province and Kruševac sanjak. It remained village up to the end of XVI century when it was developed into town settlement.
In the middle of XVII century, Aleksinac was town with more than 100 shops in it, and because of it’s strategic location on the road to Constantinople it became important travel and caravan station. It’s importance can be supported by the fact that Turks built fortress to protect it from outlaws in 1616. The development of Aleksinac was stopped during the so called Great Turkish War (1683-1699). Aleksinac was conquered by Austrian army (general Ludwig of Baden liberated it), and later burned to the ground by the soldiers of Jegen-Osman Pasha. Serbian inhabitans of Aleksinac joined Great Serb Migrations to Habsburg Monarchy and some of them settled down in Budim. Aleksinac was destroyed again by fire during second Austro-Turkish war (1716-1718) when grand vizier Hallil Pasha was defeated beneath the walls of Belgrade. In retreat he burned down all settlements all the way to Niš.
After the third Austro-Turkish War (1737-1739) Aleksinac developed into significant trade and handcraft center. Many caravans passed through it exchanging wares from entire Ottoman Empire and central Europe. At the same time it became center of Aleksinac county which in 1784 consisted of 17 villages. There were 160 houses in Aleksinac at that time, 120 Serbian and 40 Turkish.
After the Fourth Austro-Turkish war Aleksinac was burned down again by the Turkish outlaws led by Osman Pazvan.
Aleksinac and it’s surrounding joined the First Serbian Uprising in January 1806. Town itself and villages facing the right side of South Morava river were liberated by the army of Petar Dobrnjac while the settlements on the left side were liberated by Mladen Milovanović and Stanoje Glavaš. As soon as the town was liberated, captain Vuča Žikić built the famous Deligrad trenches on the north side of Aleksinac which earned fame in battles with the Turks, especially in 1806.
After the fall on the First Serbian Uprising Aleksinac remained under Turkish rule up to December 1832 when it became integral part of Prince Miloš’s Serbia. During his first reign Aleksinac became economic centre of the south-east Serbia with numerous trade and handicrafts shops and it developed into important governemnt centre. It became centre of county and county court. The third post office in Serbia (after Belgrade and Kragujevac) was opened in Aleksinac for both Serbian and Austrian post as well as the place where English courier sent and received the post from Turkey. At that time Customs office and quarantine station were built in Aleksinac. Aleksinac was also the site of major battles with Turks in First Serbo-Turkish war in 1876, with only true victory won on Šumatovac, 3 kilometers from Aleksinac.
Aleksinac was heavily damaged during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.
Ethnic groups in the municipality (2002 census):
Serbs = 54,845
Roma = 1,434
Yugoslavs = 146
Montenegrins = 130
Macedonians = 127
Main industry in Aleksinac is metal industry, but large parts of municipality consists of arable land near the Morava river that is used for grain, maize аnd peppers. Coal industry was also dominant before fire accident in November 1989.
Town has two elementary schools, High (Grammar) School “Aleksinačka gimnazija” (The former name was “Drakče Milovanović” but it was changed in 2004), college for kindergarten teachers, machine engineering high school and couple of technical schools. The construction of building for Agricultural high school has started in 2006. There are two basic schools:”Ljupce Nikolic” and “Vozd Karadjordje”.
If you visit Aleksinac, you should visit lake Bovan, 15 km away, and medieval monastery from XV century built by Despot Stefan Lazarević, St. Stefan in Lipovac, 25 km away. The monastery is built beneath the slopes of Mt. Ozren (1175 m). There are also remnants of two medieval towns in the mountains surrounding Aleksinac: Bovan and Lipovac, however they are not well preserved.
The patron saint of Aleksinac is St. Mark.