Тhe Village of Babino – Selo Babino – Село Бабино
Selo Babino, loosely translated means village of the old women (or grandmothers). There are several legends as to the origination of the name but the name does seem to be appropriate because everyone we met or saw, with the exception of one person was a “Baba”. Babino, part of the Demir Hisar municipality, is located about 21.4 Kilometers North-Northwest of Demir Hisar along R1305 (about a 22 minute drive) just past the villages of Sopotnica (Sopotnitsa) and Zhvan, and using the same route, Babino is 44.5km Northwest of Bitola (about a 45 to 50 minute Drive). Coming from Kičevo (Kichevo), going southeast, the trip is 37.5 kilometers or a 35 minute drive. The 2002 census shows Babino’s population was 34.
Soon after arriving in the village of Babino we see this sign with arrows pointing to the Biblioteka (Library), Amphitheater and Etno Soba (Ethnic room). There was a great place to park near the sign, so we did and clambered down the path to see this famous library. Just as soon as we arrive at the front of the library we are greeted by the proprietor and curator, Stevo Stepanovski.
Stevo welcomed us with a very warm greeting, was enthusiastic to show us the library and also very patient while Sean took time to take pictures. The library was started by Stevo’s great grandfather, a Turkish soldier who often received books as compensation instead of an actual salary. The library grew to over 20,000 books and now more than 1,000 are viewable in the old house reserved for the library and the ethnic room.
Stevo explained about the poetry and literature readings held in the amphitheater and stated that mainly due to the library, after World War II, Babino became the major source of teachers that would then spread literacy throughout Macedonia. The Etno Soba is the first room that Stevo showed us and as is tradition, he offered to serve us coffee and tea, and then began showing us different exhibits. The room features a nice collection of authentic costumes and artefacts, a loom and even WWII items. Stevo then took us through all the rooms that are open to the public.
The gallery below begins with the road sign followed by pictures of the old house, the amphitheater, the ethnic room and then the library rooms.
These two-storied stone houses in Babino nestled in this wooded mountain and tiptoeing the narrow ribbon of black asphalt are very picturesque. A wonderful color balance of earth tones, green of the trees and the browns of the stones amid the contrast of sun and shade.