SITES AND ATTRACTIONS OF BITOLA

Clock Tower / Heraclea Lyncestis / Pelister National Park

Saint Demetrius church / Shirok Sokak street

(please click on the name)


Clock Tower

The clock tower ("Saat Kula" in Turkish) is the pride of the people from Bitola. It was first built in 1664 but got its present appearance in the 19th century, and is 30 meters high.

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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis is a ancient Macedonian town found by the ancient Macedonian King Phillip 2nd in the middle of the 4th century BC, but most of the remains that can be seen in Heraclea Lyncestis are from the Roman and the early christian period.

Heraclea Lyncestis was an important strategical town during the Hellenistic period as it was at the edge of Macedonia border with Epirus to the west, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea Lyncestis, and made Heraclea Lyncestis an important stop. The prosperity of Heraclea Lyncestis was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built the theater in the center of Heraclea Lyncestis, on a hill, when many buildings in the roman province ofMacedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. The theater went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD), Heraclea Lyncestis was an important episcopal centre. Some of Heraclea Lyncestis bishops have been noted in the acts of the Church Councils as bishop Evagrius of Heraclea in the Acts of the Sardica Council from 343 AD.

In the late 6th century Heraclea Lyncestis suffered successive attacks by Slavic tribes. In place of the deserted theater several houses were built between the 6th century and the 7th century AD, when Slavs settled across the northern regions of the Balkans.
Just small portion of Heraclea Lyncestis has been unearthed, including a theatre, two water fountains, courthouse, baths, bishops palace and two basilicas. There is a small museum on the grounds with few artifacts and a nice scale model of the city at its peak.

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Pelister National Park

The Pelister National Park is located in the southern part of Macedonia, on the Baba mountain. The relief of Pelister National Park is extremely mountainous with alpine characteristics. The mountain range of Baba (Pelister National Park), which belongs to the park possesses 25 peaks with a height above 2,000 m. The highest peak is Pelister, which appears particularly impressive with its 2,601 m. The attention of the tourists and the mountaineers, besides by the high mountain peaks, is also attracted by the other features of the mountain landscape: forests, rocks, springs, etc. Distinctive localities include Begova Česma, Jorgov Kamen and Crveni Steni.

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Saint Demetrius church

This is the cathedral church of Bitola and the most beautiful example of the "revival period" churches in Macedonia. Turks didn't allow building of new churches during their reign, but as the empire was weakening in the 18th century, they started giving permissions for building of churches to keep the population happy. There were many rules to be followed like the exterior had to be without decorations and the floor of the church had to be at least one meter below the ground so the church wouldn’t dominate the skyline of the city. Saint Demetrius church was built in 1830, as a three naved basilica with galleries and five chapels. While they had to keep the exterior modest the enterior is lavishly decorated with woodwork. The huge icon screen was made in 1845.

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Shirok Sokak street

Shirok Sokak is a pedestrian street lined with nice colorful romantic and neo-clasical buildings. It is divided it three parts and even though the first part has the best preserved buildings it is worth walking all the way to the end.

The street is very lively and lined with cafes who are excellent for relaxing and people watching, especially since the girls from Bitola are known as the most beautiful in Macedonia and they love to parade up and down the street.

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