The Goranci (meaning “highlanders”) or Gorani are a Slavic Muslim ethnic group inhabiting the Gora region – the triangle between Kosovo, Albania, and the Republic of Macedonia. They speak a transitional South Slavic dialect, called Našinski (simply meaning ‘ours’).They have been claimed by Bosniaks, Bulgarians, Macedonians and Serbs but the general view is that they should be treated as a distinct minority group, which is their own view of themselves.

Gorani Bride

The Gorani or Goranci (Cyrillic: Горани or Горанци, meaning Highlanders) are a Slavic Muslim population inhabiting the Gora region - the triangle between Albania, Kosovo and Republic of Macedonia. They speak a South Slavic dialect, part of the transitional Torlakian dialects, called Našinski.
The ethnonym Gorani, meaning “highlanders”, is derived from the Slavic toponym gora, which means “hill, mountain”. Another autonym of this people is Našinci, which literally means “our people, our ones”.


Women in the Brod village in the Gora Region of Kosovo are decorating a bride’s hands and feet with henna in traditional patterns as a part of their wedding rituals. 1966

The women applying the henna on the bride are called knarice, from the Našinski word for henna; kna. Gorani women are one of the few left in the Balkans that still practice this custom, although it isn’t as usual anymore. At one point it was a common tradition for most Balkan Muslims to apply henna to brides as part of wedding rituals, however it wasn’t usually applied as patterns. This tradition came from the Ottoman Turks but has died out amongst most Balkan Muslims today, while it’s still remembered as an old tradition in their culture, especially by elders. It is sometimes performed as an act by young Bosnian Muslims before folklore dance performances; to showcase old traditional wedding customs.