Bitola is a grand old town that still bears the marks of its turn-of-the-century importance as a center for diplomacy – while also exemplifying the country’s time-honored cafe culture.
Bitola is the second largest city in Macedonia and is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia Valley. The city is dispersed along the banks of the Dragor river at an altitude of 2,019 ft (615 m) above sea level under Baba Mountain. Spreading on an area of 1,798 sq. km and with a population of 122,173 (1991), Bitola is an important industrial, agricultural, commercial, educational, and cultural center. Bitola is an important junction that connects the South of the Adriatic Sea with the Aegean Sea and Central Europe, and is located only few miles from the Greek frontier border.Baba Mountain overlooks Bitola from the east. Its magnificient Mount Pelister (2601 m) is a national park with exquisite flora and fauna, and a well-known ski resort.
The second Macedonian university is located here. This beautiful town, where the architecture of its numerous buildings is real attraction and makes Bitola one of the most attractive towns in almost whole Balkans peninsula, is located in the southwest part of Macedonia, or more precisely in the central part of the largest plain of Macedonia called Pelagonija.
The many cafes lining the city’s pedestrian main street (the Sirok Sokak) provide endless see-and-be-seen opportunities for Bitola’s fashionable youth. The stately old architecture of Bitola hearkens back to more than a century ago when the town was a center for international diplomats to the Ottoman administration, supplanting Skopje and becoming known far and wide as the “city of the consuls.”


Brief history
Different civilizations and nations have left their marks and in this regard surely the most attractive one is the already mentioned Heraklea Lyncaestis. The stately old architecture of Bitola hearkens back to more than a century ago when the town was a center for international diplomats to the Ottoman administration, supplanting Skopje and becoming known far and wide as the "city of the consuls".


Heraclea Linkestis
Two km from Bitola, heading south one can see the remnants of the ancient town of Heraclea Linkestis. The town was settled 1.000 years ago (in the 4th century B.C. until the 6th century A.D.). Evidence has shown that the town was established by Philip II of Macedonia. In the yaer 168 B.C., it was conquered by the Romans; in 518 A.D. it was destroyed by a disastrous earthquake. So far, only 8% of the surface of hte town occupied approximately 70 hectares. Only a few buildings have been excavated by now.
One of them is the courthouse, where a statue of the Goddess of justice, Nemesis was discovered, The Goddesss usually gace her veridct by pointing her finger downwards (meaning - death). Therefore, after the fall of the Roman Empire, all of her statues were descapitated and the heads and arms destroyed.
Accross the street are the Roman baths, right next to this building is the Small Basilica.javascript:void(0)
Much bigger and far more beautiful are the mosaics of the Big Basilica, which cover a surface of 100m2. The mosaic "Universe" is considered to be one of the most beautiful floor mosaics i the world, because it is made of little stones in 27 different colours. As a comparison - the most beautiful wall mosaic is in Pompeii, it is made of stones in 32 different colours.
On the surrounding hill is the Amphitheatre with 20 rows of seats. It was built of first class marble from quarries around Prilep. The scene of the amphitheatre was a place where comeides, tragedies, dramas and gladiator fights were performed. Probably this is the reason for the existence of the underground tunnel from the courthouse to the theatre, where the convicts participating in the gladiator fights would pass through.
Beneath the theatre there is a fountain, from the Byzantine period. The front part was merely for decoration, while animals could drink water and the women do their laundry on the other side of the wall. 

The Church of Saint Dimitria
The church of Saint Dimitria is about 100 meters from the Clock tower. It was built with the donation of traders and handcrafts-men in 1830. The Ottoman authorities gave permission for building a modest small building. In order to obtain more space the whole structure of the church was built deeper down in the ground. It is a three nave basilica with a flat roof, 5 chapels and a gallery.
The interior of the church is decorated by a central iconostasis, performed in 1845. There are two iconostases on both sides which are fragments of the iconostasis of the former existing church of Saint Dimitria from the 18th century.


In the city centre, 1508, the Isaac Beg mosque was built. It was commissioned to be built by the Honourable Judge from Bitola - Isaac Chelebi Ibn Asa, who is buried in the yard of the mosque.
It has a square basis, each of the sides are 14,52 metres long, it is covered with a dome having a diameter of 26 meters. The minaret is 45 meters high. The interior of the mosque is decorated with arabesques. Across from this mosque is the Yeni mosque, or 'new' mosque, built in 1558, by Kadi Mahmud Effendi.
It is smaller compared to the mosque of Isak Beg. Its dimensions are 13 meters in length, the dome diameter is 19 meters and the minaret id 39 meters high. The roof of the vestibule consists of 6 domes. At present, the mosque has been converted into an art gallery.

Clock Tower
Not far from the mosques is the Clock Tower. It was mentioned for the first time in 1664. The actual look was obtained in the 19th century. The clock mechanism that is still functioning was installed in 1925. The height of the tower is almost 35 meters. The basis of the building is with dimensions of almost 6 square meters.

In the near city center, Bezisten is one of the most impressive and oldest buildings in Bitola from the period of Ottoman Empire domination. With numerous domes it looks like a fortress with three internal streets and the four big metal gates, representing one of the largest covered markets in the region. Bezisten was built in the XV century by Rumelian Begler Bey, Grand Vizier and eminent ktitor  Daut Pasha Kara Uzuncharshili.
Even though the structure looks firm, during its existence was often pillaged and burned but still endured. From the period of its construction till XIX century the interior of Bezisten was often upgraded and reconstructed and have included number of stores that sold textiles and expensive fabrics. It also represented a treasury where in separate parts were kept tax money from all Rumelian Vilayet before being taken to the imperatorial treasury. From the XIX century there were altogether 84 stores. Today, most of them are modernly equipped and sold various goods. Yet, despite all the internal transformations the external appearance of Bezisten remains almost unchanged.

On the road from Bitola - Resen, southwards, rising to the sky is the mountain Baba, with its highest peak Pelister, 2601 meters above sea level. Since 1948, the mountain was declared the first National Park in Macedonia.  One of the main reasons is the presence of an endemic species of a five leafed pinetree - the Molika, as a relict of the flora from the Triassic period, which grows only on a few mountains tops in the Balkans. It was discovered for the first time by the Austrian botanist Grisebach.
The park occupies an area of 12.500 hectars. the Pelister mounbtain has 88 different species of trees, classified in 23 families, which is 29% of the total of the Macedonian dendro-flora. The fauna is represented by the following animals: brown bear, buck deer, deer, wolf, chamois, wild boar, hare, few species of eagles, partridge, red bill jackdaw, and the mountain rivers are the natural habitat of the endemic species of Pelagonia trout
The two glacial lakes, a smaller and a bigger one are named Pelister Eyes.

Sydney Office

Kire Filipovski JP

Shop 17A 10-12 King Street
PO Box 948
Rockdale NSW 2216

(02) 9599 6888
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Bitola Office

Leninova 75

+389 47 20 33 33