Janja Vlajinac

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Janja Vlajinac
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Janja Vlajinac (Vranje, 1817 - Vranje, 1902) was a famous Vranje merchant and industrialist, one of the most prominent people in Serbia at that time. He celebrated and promoted the name of the Vlajinac family and the city of Vranje throughout the Balkan Peninsula and beyond.


Janja Vlajinac was born in 1817 in Vranje. At a very young age, he began to go to school and acquire knowledge. Later, Janja learned to speak Turkish and Arnaut fluently. Although he actively traded with the Greeks, he did not like them, and therefore, refused to learn their language.[1]

His last name was Stošić, but out of reverence for his grandmother Vlajina, who preserved him and who strengthened his family roots, he gave himself and his children the surname Vlajinac. [2]

At the age of twenty-seven, he married Milica, the daughter of Hadži-Mihajlo Pogačarc. During that time, it was considered that he was late with his marriage. Janja said: A young man must first fill his hat and only then go home and start a family. He had five daughters and three sons. He lost his wife when he was sixty and never fully recovered from this loss.[1]

History of the Vlajinac family

Vlajinci come from the Stošić family who moved to Vranje in the second half of the 18th century from Crveni Grad, a village in the municipality of Trgovište, which then belonged to the Kriva Palanka district.[1]

The first Vlajinac was Kitan Stošić, but the family will become known for Stoša, the son of Dimitrije and Vlajinka. Dimitrije died young and grandmother Vlajinka preserved Stoša's sons Janja and Dimitrije. Widow Vlajinka continued to run the household after the death of her husband, and the surname Vlajinac comes from her, as a key figure in the upbringing and education of her grandchildren. The family was moderately wealthy and gained more wealth when Janja and his brother Dimitrije finished school and started trading.[2]


Janja Vlajinac was the first in Vranje to develop the wine industry. After the liberation from the Turks, he bought atare in Kuso blato, where he made the most fertile fields from the swamp. He introduced irrigation through cupboards. He limited himself exclusively to wine production and agriculture. He also sold wine abroad. He perfected and developed the wine production he was engaged in. He received the highest awards at several exhibitions after his release. In 1858, he was the first to bring Serbian barrels with iron hoops to Vranje.[2]

He was the first to bring pigs of the Danube and Berkshire breeds. Janja also brought various modern agricultural devices for that time, such as: trier tools, windmill, mower and others.[1]

He was the first to build a house on two levels in Vranje in 1848. The house is still located in Generala Belimarkovića-Vlajinsko sokače Street. In 1932, the editorial office of Vranjske, the local newspaper of that time, was in that house.[2]

Janja Vlajinac was the first to make a well with a wheel and two buckets for lowering and extracting water. He replaced the burning candles with kerosene lamps.[1]

Janja was very productive from early youth to old age. At first, for years, he traded in raw hides from small cattle and ironmongery. He sold leather to Serbia, and brought ironmongery from Sarajevo. Then, until 1861, he ran a colonial shop with his younger brother Dimitrije. Since 1868, he has been exporting silkworm shells. For a long time, he was the only one in the whole area who exported silkworm shells. He participated in the construction of the Cathedral in 1837 and later in the renovation of that church in 1858. For several years he was the tutor of the Cathedral Church in Vranje.[1]

Characteristic personality

Not without reason, he is remembered for his advanced and specific way of life. He was extremely precise and accurate. He was able to carefully and confidently recognize the exact value of people, their character and their ability. That is why he respected and appreciated only selected people. He helped the poor without exception. In his house, everyone had to work from morning till night. He was the first who got up, and the last to go to sleep. He kept everything under control, every dinar had its proper purpose. That is why he never had ups and downs but only material ups. There were richer people in Vranje than Janja Vlajinac, but he was the most orderly and most advanced host. He was a strictly moral man with a sense of humor.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Здравковић Џонов, Љубица. Знаменити Врањанци (2015. ed.). Врање: Историјски архив "31. јануар". pp. 11–17. ISBN 978-86-88105-13-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Бундало, Сања. Старе врањске породице. Врање: Јавна библиотека "Бора Станковић". p. 10.

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