Pirot (Serbian Cyrillic: Пирот) is a city and the administrative
center of the
Pirot District in southeastern Serbia. According to 2011
census, the urban area of the city has a population of 38,785, while
the population of the city administrative area has 57,928 inhabitants.
The city has a rich geographical features, including the mountains of
Stara Planina, Vlaška Planina, Belava, Suva Planina; rivers which
flow through the town, including Nišava, Jerma, Rasnička Reka,
Temštica and the Visočica; and four lakes, the Zavoj Lake, Berovacko
Lake, Krupac Lake and
It also has a rich culture, with notable Orthodox church buildings,
including the Church of St. Petka, and the monastery of St. Georges
and St. John the Theologian from the late 14th century, both of which
display a fine example of medieval Serbian architecture.
known for its traditional woven carpet, the
Pirot kilim (Pirotski
2.1 Roman era
2.2 Early Byzantine era
2.3 Middle Ages
2.4 Ottoman rule
2.5 Modern history
4.1 Ethnic groups
6 Tourist attractions
9 Notable people
12 External links
The city, which covers an area of 1,235 km2
(476.84 sq mi), has several mountains in the vicinity,
including Stara Planina, Vlaška planina, Belava, and Suva Planina.
The following rivers flow through Pirot: the Nišava, Jerma, Rasnička
Reka, Temštica and the Visočica.
Pirot also has four lakes: Zavoj
Lake, Berovacko Lake, Krupac Lake and Sukov Lake.
During the rule of Roman emperor Tiberius (14–37), Ponišavlje was
part of Moesia, and during Vespasian (69–79) it was, as the rest of
Serbia, organized into Upper
Moesia (as opposed to most of Bulgaria,
Lower Moesia). At the end of the 4th century the basin of the
Nišava was organized into the province of Dacia Mediterranea. The
Roman settlement of Turres (Latin for "towers"), which was a military
residence, is mentioned in the first half of the 3rd century.
Later, the Byzantine town of Quimedava is mentioned here, with remains
that have survived.
The town was set to enable control and defence of the main road in
this part of the empire. Besides, travellers could sleep here
overnight, as well as get refreshments and new horses or vehicles. In
time, the settlement advanced because of the important road passing
through. It was also disturbed very persistently by invasions of the
Gothic tribes throughout the 4th century, as well as the Huns in the
Early Byzantine era
According to the written accounts On Buildings by Procopius of
Caesarea, writing during the reign of the emperor
Justinian I (527 –
565), the emperor ordered the reconstruction of thirty fortresses in
the area from
Niš to Sofia, including the towers of Pirot. He also
gave the detailed description of those construction works. In times
when the Slavs and Avars were invading the Balkans, the settlement was
named Quimedava, and was situated on the southern slope of the Sarlah
Corresponding to the archaeological investigations, the town back
then, surrounded by forts and fortified walls, also included an early
Christian basilica, thermae (public baths), a necropolis, and other
facilities. Beside the military fortress, a civil settlement (vicus)
existed on the site called Majilka. By the late 6th century and early
7th century, successive barbarian invasions had broke through the
Danube frontier, and Slavs settled in large numbers across
Pirot Fortress dates back to the 14th century.
By the mid-6th century Slavs had settled the area. In 679 the
Bulgars crossed the
Danube into Lower Moesia, and eventually, in the
9th century, expand to the west and south.
Basil II (r. 960–1025)
reconquered the Balkans from the Bulgars.
In 1153, Arab geographer Burizi crossed the country, and recorded the
place of Atrubi at the site of old Turres, describing it as situated
by a small river which arrives from the Serbian mountains and was a
tributary of the Morava. During the Komnenos period, rebellious
Serbs were captured and transferred to other areas; Manuel I Komnenos
Serbs in the province of Serdica (Sofia). In 1182–83
the Serbian army led by Grand Prince
Stefan Nemanja conquered
Byzantine territories from
Niš to Sofia.
Pirot and Bela Palanka
(Remesiana) were not mentioned as they were in ruin since the
rebellions in the 940s. Since the end of the 12th century
part of the Serbian state, in which it played an important role in the
eastern part. The monastery of St. George in
Temska was an
endowment from the Nemanjić period. The name of the city, Pirot,
dates to the 14th century and is derived from Greek pirgos
Pirot was part of Prince Lazar's state, in which it was
an important strategical point. At the
Battle of Kosovo
Battle of Kosovo (1389)
Nišava fought under vojvoda Dimitrije
Vojihnović from Pirot. The town held out for long in the Serbian
Despotate, until it fell to the
Ottoman Empire in 1427. It was
temporarily liberated in 1443 by Serbian and Hungarian forces. It
finally fell in 1445, and remained in Ottoman hands until 1877.
Its Turkish name, Şehirköy (meaning "city, town village"), is
first mentioned in 1443. It was organized into the Sanjak of
Niš. In 1469, the body of Serbian king Stefan Milutin was
transferred via Pirot. In 1561, hieromonk Isaija from Pirot
Hilandar where he contributed a book.
Pirot up until the 19th century. Travel writer
Stephen Gerlach (fl. 1578) recorded that
Pirot Christians claimed that
the town was the earlier estate of Miloš Obilić, the slayer of
Sultan Murad at Kosovo. In 1659, Austrian deputy August von Mayern
visited the town and described it as "Schiarchici, a town called by
the Orthodox as Pirot, but is not surrounded by walls and inhabited by
Serbs (Rasciani)". In 1664, Austrian deputy Leslie and
English nobleman John Burberry visited the town, the latter noting
that there were three churches, one of which was earlier
Dominican. In 1688 Ottoman renegade Yegen Pasha resided in the
During the Great Turkish War, after taking
Niš on 25 September 1689,
Austrian general Piccolomini with his army of Serb volunteers and some
Germans chased Turks towards Sofia. Arriving at Pirot, the town was
empty of Turks, and he reported that the town was in flames and some
parts in ash.
Serbs were left as a town crew, from where they made
raids into Pernik and Banya towards Sofia, and on 29 October attacked
and conquered Dragoman. In August 1690 the large Ottoman army took
Pirot, defended only by 100 Germans, and then besieged Niš, taking it
after three weeks. Hungarian detachments retreating via Temska
ravaged the monastery and terrorized the surrounding population, as
inscribed by a priest on the church walls. That year, many Serbs
fled northwards with Patriarch Arsenije III.
During the Austro-Turkish War (1737–39),
Serbs volunteered to fight.
The movement in the
Nišava region was led by
Đorđe Popović. The Austrian army, composed of Serb volunteers and
60 German infantry, took
Pirot on 23 July 1737. In 1739, upon Ottoman
return, the town was burnt down and its churches destroyed (one
transformed into a mosque). 140 houses were burnt down which is
evidence that hajduks of the region participated. Many
Serbs in the
region fled northwards with Patriarch Arsenije IV.
In 1768, the town is described as half in ruins. From 1761 to
Pirot was the seat of the Metropolitan of Nišava.
The Church of the Nativity of Christ was built through donations by
the Serbian community in 1830s.
In 1806, during the
First Serbian Uprising
First Serbian Uprising (1804–13), Hajduk-Veljko
attacked Bela Palanka. Ibrahim Pasha, unable to enter
Aleksinac and Deligrad, planned to attack from
Pirot and Lom with the
intent to clash with the Serbian army before Niš; the Serbian army
went to stop this and defeated him in the mountains between Pirot,
Knjaževac and Chiprovtsi. Rebel leaders from
Pirot included Mita
and Marinko, who were tasked to defend the border towards
Ottoman hands). After the Serbian Revolution, some of the
population in the area migrated to avoid Ottoman retribution. It
was estimated in 1836 that there were 6–8,000 inhabitants.
Carpetry was the main occupation, there were many shops and cafés in
the centre, the population was mixed, and it was the domain of the
sister of the Sultan. On 24 May 1836 a rebellion broke out in the
town, which was suppressed by early June, and then another one broke
out in August, also unsuccessful. The rebels corresponded with
Prince Miloš Obrenović. The
Niš Uprising (1841), which included
Pirot area, was also suppressed by the Ottomans. In 1846–1864
Pirot was administratively part of the
Niš Eyalet. With the
establishment of the
Bulgarian Exarchate in 1870
Pirot was the part of
the Nishava diocese.
In the 19th century
Johann Georg von Hahn
Johann Georg von Hahn stated that the Christian
Pirot is Bulgarian.
Philipp Kanitz claimed that some
inhabitants "Did not imagine that six years later the cursed Turkish
rule in their city would end, and even less, because they always felt
that they are Bulgarians, that they would belong to the Principality
Monument to fallen soldiers during the Serbian-Ottoman War
On 16 December 1877, during the Serbian-Ottoman War (1876–1877), the
Serbian army entered liberated Pirot. The Treaty of Berlin (1878)
Vranje ceded to Serbia. The 1879 Serbian regional
population census registered that
Pirot had a population of 76,892
people, and 11,005 households. It was temporarily occupied by the
Bulgarian army after the Serbo-Bulgarian War, between 15 November and
15 December 1885 [O.S.]. During World War I, the Bulgarian army
Pirot on 14 October 1915.
In the Interwar period, the Bulgarian terrorist VZRO engaged in
repeated attacks against the Yugoslav police and army. From 1929 to
Pirot was part of the
Morava Banovina of the Kingdom of
World War II
World War II Bulgaria occupied so-called Western
Outlands, as well as
Pirot and Vranje. After the Second World War,
these regions were returned to Yugoslavia. After Serbia's
independence, these areas remained within the Serbian state.
Pirot was granted city status in February 2016.
Aside from the city of
Pirot itself, the city territory covers over 70
According to the 2011 census results, the city of
Pirot has a
population of 57,928 inhabitants.
The ethnic composition of the municipality:
Notable brands of
Pirot include the
Pirot opanak, Pirot
cheese, and ironed sausage.
Pirot Fortress, dating to the 14th-century Serbian Empire
Temska Monastery, 16th-century Orthodox monastery
National Park Old Mountain
On the territory of the city of
Pirot operates tire manufacturer Tigar
Tyres which is one of top Serbian exporters in the period from 2013 to
The following table gives a preview of total number of employed people
per their core activity (as of 2016):
Agriculture, forestry and fishing
Distribution of power, gas and water
Distribution of water and water waste management
Wholesale and retail, repair
Traffic, storage and communication
Hotels and restaurants
Media and telecommunications
Finance and insurance
Property stock and charter
Professional, scientific, innovative and technical activities
Administrative and other services
Administration and social assurance
Healthcare and social work
Art, leisure and recreation
Southeastern walls of
Pirot in 1900
The District Hall
The central pedestrian area in the city
The courthouse in Pirot
The National Employment Service building in Pirot
Nišava River in Pirot
Church of the Nativity of Christ
Further information: Category:People from Pirot
Dragutin Gostuški, Serbian composer, musicologist and art historian
Dobrosav Živković, illustrator and caricaturist
Zoran Đorđević, football manager
Svetislav Pešić, basketball coach and former player
Nikola Đurđić, Serbian football player
Krastyo Krastev, writer and translator, notable as the first Bulgarian
^ "Municipalities of Serbia, 2006". Statistical Office of Serbia.
^ "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic
of Serbia: Comparative Overview of the Number of Population in 1948,
1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002 and 2011, Data by settlements"
(PDF). Statistical Office of Republic Of Serbia, Belgrade. 2014.
ISBN 978-86-6161-109-4. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
^ a b c d e f Petrović 1996, p. 9.
^ Petrović 1996, pp. 9–10.
^ a b c d Petrović 1996, p. 10.
^ Petrović 1996, pp. 10–11.
^ a b c d e f Nikolić 1974, p. 11.
^ Kostić 1973, p. 13.
^ a b c d Kostić 1973, p. 20.
^ Petrović 1996, p. 16.
^ a b Petrović 1996, p. 17.
^ a b Petrović 1996, p. 18.
^ a b Petrović 1996, p. 19.
^ a b Petrović 1996, p. 20.
^ a b c d Petrović 1996, p. 21.
^ a b c Kostić 1973, p. 21.
^ a b c Kostić 1973, p. 22.
^ Kostić 1973, pp. 23–24.
^ Kostić 1973, pp. 23–25.
^ Felix Philipp Kanitz, Овога пута сам се од
Пирота растао с пријатнијим
осећањима. Захвалио сам ханџији за
његову собицу коју ми je уступио,
његовој љупкој жени за изврстан
опроштајни ручак. Бољег расположења je
био и мој драгоман (тумач, преводилац);
певушио je, што већ дуго нисам чуо, неку
пољску песмицу за свој рачун; ваљда се
радовао и томе што смо се приближавали
циљу нашег путовања - Дунаву. Око два
часа по подне мој мали караван je преко
моста на Нишави кренуо кроз
хришћанску махалу, у којој je због
панађура било веома живо. Трговци и
занатлије које сам посећивао
поздрављали су ме скидањем капе и
довикивали »срећан пут!« Тада
нису ни слутили да ће шест година
доцније често проклињаној турској
владавини у њиховом граду доћи крај, a
још мање, јер су се увек осећали
Бугарима, да ће припасти Кнежевини
Србији.. ("Србија, земља и становништво
од римског доба до краја XIX века", Друга
књига, Београд 1986, p. 215)
^ Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui, „Voyage en Bulgarie pendant l'année
1841“ (Жером-Адолф Бланки. Пътуване из
България през 1841 година. Прев. от
френски Ел. Райчева, предг. Ив. Илчев.
София: Колибри, 2005, 219 с.
ISBN 978-954-529-367-2.) The author describes the population of
the Sanjak of
Niš as ethnic Bulgarians, see: 
^ Bulgarians in southwest Moravia by J. von Hahn, Illuminated by A.
Teodoroff-Balan, Sofia, September 1917, Al. Paskaleff & Co.
publishers, Chapter II.
^ a b Kostić 1973, p. 50.
^ Svetlana Radovanović (1995). "Demographic Growth and
Ethnodemographic Changes in the Republic of Serbia".
^ Kostić 1973, p. 56.
^ Kostić 1973, p. 63.
^ "Pirot, Kikinda i Vršac dobili status grada" [Pirot, Kikinda and
Vršac Granted City Status]. B92. 29 February 2016. Retrieved 26 June
^ "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic
of Serbia" (PDF). stat.gov.rs. Statistical Office of the Republic of
Serbia. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
^ "ОПШТИНЕ И РЕГИОНИ У РЕПУБЛИЦИ
СРБИЈИ, 2017" (PDF). stat.gov.rs (in Serbian). Statistical
Office of the Republic of Serbia. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
Kostić, Kosta N. (1973). Istorija Pirota. Pirot: Muzej Ponišavlja.
Lilić, Borislava V. (1994). Istorija Pirota i okoline:
periodu turske vlasti 1804-1878. Deo 1. Izdavač NiP Hemikale, štampa
"Grafika". ISBN 978-86-82473-01-5.
Nikolić, Vladimir M. (1974). Стари Пирот.
Petrović, Svetislav (1996). Историја града Пирота.
Пирот: Хемикалс. NBPI-knjige-007.
Stanković, Stevan M. (1996). Пирот и околина. Pirot:
Živković, Vitomir V. (1994). Торлак. Пирот.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pirot.
Official web site of the city
Pirot.org Independent web portal & forum about the city
Pirot Local television station
Pirotske novine Local newspapers
"Дигитализоване књиге о Пироту и
околним насељима". Poreklo.
"Збирке Народне библиотеке Пирот".
Municipalities and cities of Southern and Eastern Serbia