"Bitola Baban BItola......" Top 5 Page for this destination Bitola by MacedonianUK

Bitola Travel Guide: 244 reviews and 1,048 photos

City of Consulates and bohemian life

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BITOLA MOJ RODEN KRAJ-folk song

Bitola, is the second largest City in Republic of Macedonia, and after Ohrid, I think one of the prittiest.
Bitola has electric mix of OttomanTurkish, Bisantium Ortodox, Old Macedonian and French Mediteranian Arhitecture.
The biggest church in Bitola, build in the XVIIIcentury is Sveti Dimitrija, stone trow from the famous Clock tower.
The story of the clock tower is strange as is funny and beautiful.
Aparently when the Valija (Turkish Major of the city) dicaded to build the clock tower to anounce his wealth and presitige, but he couldn't reise the stucture more than 10meters off the ground.
Every day the builders were building the tower and every nite it was crumbling.
So they dicaded to consult the Imam, fearing that is the work of dark magic. Imam's answer was to collect 26.000 egss from white hens and add them to the mortar when sealing the granite stones.
And that was done to the letter.
Sveti Dimitrija is build with the money donated Esnafi societies.
Esnafi, are group of people witch represent specific trade,like woodcarving,goldsmiths,ironmongers,shoemakers,terzii (clothesmakers). In 1700s Bitola had about 1200 esnafi, who were divaded in apropriate parts of the old Charshija or bazzar.
There are only two such bazzars on the Balkans one in Sarajevo the famouse "Bash carshija" and the one in Bitola on the smaller scale.
Also the Market in Bitola to this day has parts of it called by the produce that was sold there, like At pazar(horse market), drven pazar(wood market), mast pazar(oil and lard market)and so on.
Aslo in Bitola we have few Karavan Saraii and Anovi.
And Bitola, beeing important political and economic City on the Balkans, hence opening of around 15 Consulates.
But strangely enough the French had the biggest influence on the town.
It is said tha in the end of the XIX and begining of the XX century Bitola had Fench Licei (school) and about 1000 pianos and 100 French guvernats, who were looking after the childern of the wealthier Bitola residents.
And most of them continued their schooling in Marselles or Vienna and Graz.
During the Ottomans, one rule when building churchs applied and was rigorously oserved.
No other religious building can't be bigger and higher than Mosque.
Altought Sveti Dimitrija church is beautifull with ist frescoes and specilay with the woodcarved altar(and is fetured in the opening scene of the "Peacemaker"film with Clooney and Kidman)
Isaac Mosque (build in 1506AD) remains the tallest and biggerst religious object in use in Bitola.
Unfortunatly all the rest of the 36 mosques and 16 teke's in Bitola are in disrepair (smallest ones) and the biggerst one (Yeni Mosque) is preserved and used as galery of the City of Bitola.

Bitola's past is chequered.
It was burned nearly to the ground in the 1700s, devasteted by earthqake, in the WWI, place of bloody battles, (Solunski front; where the Serb and French armies fouth the Germans and Bulgarinas) but also place visited by famous people who spend time in the City.
Evliya Çelebi, the Turkish travel writer, came and spend some time in the city, Vagner, lived in the city for two years,(there is the memorial house), Dr Rudolph Archibald Reiss (famous Swiss doctor and father of forensic medicine) lived here and also fought with the Serb army during the WWI.
When he died, his last wish was for his hart to be burried on Kajmakcalan Mnt. near Bitola in the little church on the very top, where is ossuary of Serbian solders .
Sarah Bernhardt spend 3 months in Bitola, entertaing the French troups in 1918 on invitation of the French comanding general & the Serbian King Alexandar.
Atought severly disabled and in weelchair, she refused to leave the totaly bombed to the ground city, and keep all her scheduled preformances at the Bitola Teater.
Also Branislav Nushic (famous Serbian comedies writer) was Consul General of the Kingdom of Serbia in the city from begining of the XX century.
Manaki brothers, who are regarded as first cinematographers on the Bakans are from Bitola, and when they finished their studies in France, they come back to the city and brought with them the first film camera (Bioscope 200)wich they purchised in London in 1905, and with it captured the visit of the last Sultan to Bitola in 1910, visits of King Alexandar & King Petar of Serbia in 1913.
And last but not least, Mustafa Kemal-Attaturk, was Oficer in the Bitola Garison and he started his Young Turks Revolution from here.
So here is the short and interesting history of my birthplace.
I do hope you will came and visit.


"Shirok sokak " the heart of Bitola

Shirok sokak is the heart of Bitola. Place where old and young get together to spend the eavnings out.

Past and prsent in the same ritam

Around every corner and on every street there is evidence of the chekered past of Bitola.
Together and entvined they are responsible for the todays look of the City.

Isaac Mosque build in 1506 by Isaac Kadi (Judge) one of the nicest Ottoman building on the Balkans


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Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Bitola is never boring, always suprising and alive.
  • Cons:Not enough accomodation for budget travelers and bad connection with Greece altought is only 15km from Greece border.But not by Macedonian fault though. Blocade starts on the other side of the border, hence no public transport.
  • In a nutshell:Come and visit, worth time & effort . For more info on Bitola try www.travel2macedonia.com.mk
  • Last visit to Bitola: Mar 2012
  • Intro Updated Mar 9, 2014
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Reviews (43)

Comments (41)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    A fine introduction to your home town, despite the distressing stories and photos from World War I.

    • MacedonianUK's Profile Photo
      Mar 23, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      Thank you for dropping by..
      Unfortunately WWI wasn't kind to my home town. :(
      Little is know about the Saloniki front and its distraction.
      100 yrs latter we have to remember...

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    Great page & top tips I had no idea about the nightlife wow also the cake sounds tempting can't wait to try it with you my friend

  • Sirvictor's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    City of my grandfather, grandmother, father and aunts. City of my dreams. The most name that I always heard in my childhood: Manastir.
    I havent been there but I send my two sons for a vist.

    • MacedonianUK's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2014 at 8:00 AM

      Your sons are welcome to their ancestral city. I would be delighted to show them around.
      You should come and visit too, to reconnect with your family history.
      Hoşgeldi!

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Great Page!

  • auenal's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Yeah, coming to see Bitoal in May))
    What about a trip from Bitola to Florina in Greece?
    Where to ask in Bitola?

  • jonathanbarker's Profile Photo
    Feb 5, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Hi Valentina, I enjoyed reading a little about Bitola! Thanks

  • shrimp56's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    I really want to go back to Bitola--your tips bring back memories and also remind me that there is more to see! BTW the water I drink when I am in MK is Pelistirka ;)

  • giampiero6's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Really cool page and some fun memories!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2011 at 7:19 AM

    Great information and helpful tips! I wish I could have attended the 2011 Euromeet here! Thanks for signing the postcard which I received from the meet!!

  • Feb 16, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    The light works, the toilet & shower work. No insects in bed. It's cheap. Big +: in summer every night BIG weddings in the hotel restaurant. Sit in the lobby & listen to the music. Caution: be prepared to pay cash when you check out.

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