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The Village of OSCHIMA

The village of Oshchima is located between the cities of Lerin and Kostour at the Prespa-Lerin intersection near the source of the River Bistritsa in northwestern Aegean Macedonia. The village lies at an elevation of 1020 meters above sea level and is nestled between Mount Bigla on the north, Mount Gomnoush on the east and by Mounts Lokma and Bodantsa on the west. To the north Oshchima borders the villages Zhelevo and Psoderi, to the east Trsie and Statitsa, to the west Besfina and Prespa and to the south Trnaa. Oshchima’s oldest historic accounts have been kept alive in the memories of the elders and passed on from generation to generation.

It has been said that the first inhabitants of Oshchima were Macedonian nomads who drifted and settled there from other parts of Macedonia. It is unknown how old the village is but families can be traced back to the beginning of the 18th century. By the turn of the 19th century there were 36 family groups (approximately 200 people) inhabiting the village.

According to legend, Oshchima was sacked during a rainy Easter day. A gang of Gheg Albanian bandits savagely attacked the village, burned down the houses and left many dead. The survivors eventually re-settled and built their new community deep in the wooded forest. Some years later, the same gang of Ghegs came back and were astonished to see a thriving community. After looting the village again they carried off as much as they could. On their way they met another group of bandits who were disappointed with their booty pillaged from other villages. Satisfied with thir own findings the original bandits directed the new bandits to “go there, there is plenty more” which in Macedonian translates to “odite tamo, oshche ima”. In time, the village of plenty became known as OSHCHIMA from OSHCHE- IMA. By 1939 the population of Oshchima had grown to approximately 600 residents, consisting of 114 families the highest it has ever been.

Unfortunately WW II and the Greek Civil War took their toll and in 1950 Oshchima was reduced to 92 people and as of March 1970 there were only 8 Oshchimians left. Many were killed and most fled to Canada. the USA and the Republic of Macedonia. Only a few fled to Australia.


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