Bitola Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Vanity666
  • Things to Do
    by MacedonianUK
  • Things to Do
    by MacedonianUK

Most Recent Things to Do in Bitola

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    Day out on Kajmakchalan Mnt

    by MacedonianUK Updated May 14, 2014

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    Kajmakchalan Mnt near Bitola, is on the other side of Pelagonia plain, near the Greek border.
    the mountain itself has been the spot of the bloody battles in the Great War (WWI) where many villages were destroyed and the battle lines were running in the middle of them.
    After 100 years you can still see the scars on the mountain in the shapes of digouts and trenches and battle ditches.
    Even now the locals stumble over old ammunition boxes, and millitary leftovers from the Great War.
    It is sad, but in the same time fascinating to find out these things.
    Solders from as far as Viatnam and Northen Africa fought on this mountain, unknown solders buried at the French cemetary..
    Stories, documents and photographs are quiet reminder of forgotten battlefield and thousands of casualties .
    Sad as it's a story of a person who died far away from home and nobody know his name or burial place, but fascinating in the same time, as how all these people manage the engineering feat to dig trenches this high up the mountain (2502m above sea level)
    there are many villages dotted on the slopes of the mountain, some of them nearly cut off from the rest of the world.
    It is a shame as those villages now are neary extinct, as only old people are left.
    But the nature is still breathtaking.
    The mountain is well known centre for wild boar hunting, also it's a home of many birds of prey.
    Northern slopes of the mountain are in Republic of Macedonia and the southern slopes are in the Republic of Greece.

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    French cemetary from WWI

    by MacedonianUK Updated Feb 9, 2014

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    During the Great War (WWI) Bitola was site of blody battles.
    Where the Serbian & French armies were fighting the Germans & Bullgarians at the Solunski Front (Tessalonika Front) on the slopes of Kajmakchalan Mountain.
    wich was turn of tide for the WWI.
    In the Historical Annals is written that the two most bombed towns in WWI are Verdun in France & Bitola ( Monastir) in Macedonia.
    And 1.000.000 solders took part in the Great war in these parts.
    Bitola has few cemetaries from the Great War the biggest one is the French Cemetary, where 15.000 French solders are known to be berried, with another 2000 unindefinited.
    The Armiee D'Orient which was fighting in Thessaloniki front was all from the French colonies, mainly North Africa ( Algeria, Marrocco and Tunisia) the foot solders were Arab & the oficers were French,
    Lots of info about the importance of the front, the battles, the casualities, the photos and more can be found in one of the hall of Hotel de Invalides in Paris ( military museum).
    The French cemetary is situated about 4 km NE of town in the village of Novaci.
    Worth the truble to go & visit.

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    A fascinating museum.

    by planxty Updated Sep 11, 2012

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    Museum, Bitola, Macedonia.
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    As I have mentioned elsewhere VT Euromeets are wonderful fun and I recommend them but they do have one slight drawback when it comes to writing tips later on. Our hosts in Serbia and Macedonia (Keti and the two Valentinas respectively) had spent so much time and trouble that I haven't a clue about admission prices, normal opening times etc. for half the places we visited, and I know at least a couple of places were especially opened for us. Please bear with me in that respect as most of the technical information will be taken from web resources.

    What I can tell you about is my opinions about places, which may or may not be of value to you. Although Bitola has had a museum since the 1930's, it was moved about somewhat from building to building until finally settling in it's present impressive home which I believe was formerly a military academy during the time of Turkish rule here.

    The museum is laid out chronlogfically from prehistory to more or less the present day and has some fascinating exhibits, signed in English as well as Macedonian. I was particulary interested in an exhibit about local "freedom fighters" during the late 19th / early 20th century with the associated weapons. Just me being a bloke, I suppose.

    Slightly further on, there is a reconstruction of a townhouse "drawing room" dating to the early 20th century which contains some beautiful artefacts. Just beside that you can see the sign from the British consulate of the time. At one time Bitola prided itself on having a large number of consuls resident in what was locally known as "Consulate Street".

    When you have finished the main exhibition, you should take time to visit a smaller but impressive exhibition dedicated to Kemel Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey who was a student in this very building when it was a military academy. It is very interesting, and there is rather a poignant love story attached to it, if you like that sort of thing. I'll not spoil it for you here.

    I do commend the excellent website I have attached for a virtual tour of the place, although obviously a real tour is much better. I have elsewhere recommended Bitola as a travel destination and this is a bit of a "must see."

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Visit the Jewish cemetary in Bitola.

    by MacedonianUK Updated Apr 19, 2012

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    Bitola as important political & cultural centre on the Balkans & under the Ottomans had deversity of inhabitants.
    One of the majority of the inhabitants were the Safaradim Jews known as MANASTIRLI Jews.
    Their couture left rich trace in the every day tapestry of life in Bitola.
    Lots of buildings with rich architectural art, traditions & history are witness of thriving community in the City.
    The Safaradim Jews arrived on the Balkans and Bitola in particular in the XV Ad from Spain & Portugal escaping the Spanish inquisition & crusade wars..
    They found peaceful haven on the Balkans, thanks to the wealth of craft masters and traders who made up the the number of the Jewish population in the Balkans.
    Some of the most gifted Jewish masters of crafts moved from Spain & Portugal to the Ottoman Empire & settled on the Balkans. .....The Spanish overseer of Oran, decided to expel all of the Jews from the city and 'clean' the place with help of the Catholic Church.
    The boats from Oran stopped at Madeira island, Marseilles, Genoa and Duress. The ones from Duress made their way inside the Ottoman kingdom,
    Hence big numbers of them settled in Bitola, Shtip, Skopje, Belgrade & Sarajevo....
    Interesting is that still the descendants of the Bitola Jews call themselves Monastirli Jews. Monastir is the old Ottoman name for Bitola.
    One third of the population of Bitola from the 1700's to the Balkan wars (1912-1913) were Monastirli Jews.
    Between the World Wars some of them left for Palestine and south America, predominantly Argentina & from there ended up in New York Sate in USA..
    Unfortunately during the WWII,under Bulgarian & German occupation armies, most of the Synagogues, schools and religious buildings were destroyed.
    And 13.000 Jewish inhabitants from Bitola were sent to TREBLINKA.
    300.000 Jews from Macedonia were gathered in Skopje railway warehouses and transported to their deaths in the Nazi camp of Treblinka.
    The Bulgarian Occupational Army proceeded with utmost precision to delete the existence of these ppl from Bitola.
    As the last act of savagery the Old Synagogue which was situated in the Old Bazaar was blown away day before Bulgaria signed the capitulation pact.
    The only trace of the Jewish life left today is the Jewish Cemetery located on the eastern side of town, on the entrance to Bitola from Prilep. There is an small remembrance room within the gates of the cemetery with documents and artefacts of the life of Manastirli Jews in the City.
    Also around town specially on Shirok Sokak are dotted grand houses in baroque style, belonging to prominent Jewish families. They are easily recognisable as the Star of David can be found incorporated in the Grand design of the façades.

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    Jeni Mosque

    by Roadquill Written Nov 16, 2011

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    Located in the center of town, almost next to the flying saucer fountain, the Jeni Mosque was originally built in 1558 and houses the city's art gallery. I was not able to get into the gallery, so to me it is a mosque with a 39 meter minaret.

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    A Rainy Day Bar

    by johngayton Updated Aug 26, 2011

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    Wait Staff Hovering

    During my week in Macedonia it seemed that every afternoon about three o'clock the sky would cloud over and the heavens would open up. Fortunately I was never far from shelter when this happened and on this particular afternoon in Bitola I was passing this place - Restaurant Korzo.

    The covered terrace suited me admirably, the waiting staff were attentive and a beer and ashtray were immediately placed in front of me. I don't remember ordering either but maybe I just look like a beer and ashtray sort of person??

    Joking aside though this was a very pleasant spot to weather the afternoon storm. There was a buzzy local feel, some people eating whilst others simply having a drink, people came and went, umbrellas were furled and unfurled and the wait staff duly buzzed and hovered.

    I ended up with one of those magic beer glasses which seemed to refill itself every time I tried to empty it and before I knew it I was on number three by the time the sun had reasserted itself.

    HIC!

    PS I didn't eat here but the food looked good.

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    The Magaza Gallery

    by johngayton Updated Aug 26, 2011

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    Magaza Frontage
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    In Bitola's 19th century role as a major Ottoman trading centre the various magazas within the city were the fortified storerooms, and sometimes marketplaces, where tradesmen and merchants would hold their wares prior to being sold either by private negotiation or in the bazaar.

    One of the few remaining is this one at the top end of the Shirok Sokak, just off Magnolia Square. In keeping with its former role this is now used as an exhibition and performance space and during my visit was showcasing the works of Dimitar Malidanov.

    I wasn't quite sure what it was all about as the two women looking after the place didn't seem to speak English but I assume the pieces were all for sale. I'm also assuming that different artists use the space and that the building can be hired for other artistic uses.

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    Morning Coffee Elegance

    by johngayton Written Aug 25, 2011

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    Caffe Frontage
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    OK this is yet another bar but in this one I only had coffee. Caffe Leo is a characterful little pizzeria down at the bottom end of the Shirok Sokak and is distinguished from the crowd by its impressively wood-panelled interior.

    Located in the lower half of the main drag means that is firmly in "Old Fogey" territory and so suited me perfectly - the little outside patio is ideal for "Old Fogey Watching" ;-)

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    Bitola's City Park

    by johngayton Written Aug 25, 2011

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    Shady Park
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    At the bottom end of the Shirok Sokak you'll find the city's main park. This is a relaxing shaded space with well-kept lawns and shrub beds which looks ideal for a weekend stroll or picnic without having to go far from the city centre.

    Although not particularly spectacular the park has useful facilities such as the Mladost Sports Centre, a childrens play area and a couple of outdoor cafe/bars.

    The interesting Russian monument caught my eye and a little research reveals that it was erected in 2003 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of the then Russian Imperial Consul Aleksandr Rostkovski who was murdered here during the late Ottoman period.

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    The Cheapest Beer In Town (well, almost in town)

    by johngayton Updated Aug 18, 2011

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    My New Bar Owner Buddy

    When I'm travellling I love just taking a wander and seeing where I end up and if there happens to be a bar at the end of it then so much the better. Here I got a doubleplusgood result.

    I just aimlessly sauntered out of town and found myself out where the Jewish cemetery and the St Nedela Orthodox church and graveyard are located. I was kinda thirsty by then and this little bar proved to be a veritable oasis.

    Not only was the beer cheap, a mere 50 Den for a large "Dab" but the bar owner was a friendly guy as we attempted to make small talk (even though neither of us had a common language). The bar itself is pretty basic, just a simple wooden shack on the roadside, and on a midweek lunchtime I was the only customer apart from one other guy who just seemed to be resting his feet rather than having a beer. Pleasant way to spend half an hour :-)

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    Follow The Golden Line!

    by johngayton Updated Aug 7, 2011

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    Tourist Map On Magnolija Square

    All of Bitola's main tourist attractions follow a sort of linear path through the city beginning with the Heraklia archaeological site about a kilometre out of the centre, then following the main street of the Shirok Sokak and finishing at the bazaars. Personally I found my own Golden Line which included most of the city's bars and several of its restaurants but the same line pretty much follows both my route as well as that that the local tourist board promotes.

    For the local tourist board's set of videos simply Google "golden line bitola" and you should find the "youtube" set.

    For my version keep reading this page!

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    Clocktower

    by iaint Updated Jul 17, 2011

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    a landmark

    Another centrepiece of downtown Bitola, and a symbol of the town. It is 32m high - say 100’.

    The present structure was built as recently as 1830, but it is mentioned as being there in the 17th century, so it must have replaced an earlier building.

    One story suggests that the Turkish administration of the time collected 60,000 eggs from the local population to be used in its construction - to strengthen it apparently.

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    Yeni Mosque

    by iaint Written Jul 17, 2011

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    you notice it!

    The Yeni mosque is a remnant from the city’s Ottoman period, dating back to 1559. It is now an art gallery.

    It occupies a prominent spot close to the Dragor, at the end of Maršal Tito, and is one of the city centre landmarks. I must confess I didn’t go inside. I only had 36 hours in the city, and being super tired when I arrived as well as having some urgent work to do, I spent a lot of time just sitting around chilling out.

    Next time...

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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    Visit the ancient site.

    by planxty Written Jul 13, 2011

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    Heraclea site, Bitola, Macedonia.
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    A short walk (and it really is) from central Bitola, there is a most impressive ancient site, that of Heraclea. Our guide, obviously very knowledgeable, was at pains to point out that it was not an ancient Roman or Greek site but an ancient Macedonian site. I have no problem with this, associated as it is with Macedonian nationalism as I have spoken about elsewhere on my Macedonia pages but, as an employee in a tertiary industry, he really left a lot to be desired. Treating a group of generally middle aged (sorry to the younger ones here) people like the schoolchildren he was obviously used to overseeing was really not the way to go. He has a lot to learn.

    However, left to our own devices (the guide having gone off to oversee a bunch of schoolkids, which he was obviously better suited for) we discovered a wonderful place, still under excavation. Indeed, the "diggers" who had not a word of English between them, were far more helpful than the "professional" (and I use the word advisedly) guide. At least they tried to be helpful.

    The problem with Heraclea, as I suppose with many archaeological sites, is that they estimate that they have excavated about 20% of it. So what to do with the other 80%? The problem is that it now all lies underneath houses and businesses. Do you remove them to dig up ancient remains or do you leave them alone? I am not an archaeologist and really cannot offer a valid opinion. Also, in a country that is struggling economically, does it make sense to spend so much money on the past? Again, I do not know. The current excavations appear to be funded by the Italians under EU auspices. Strange when their own economy is going belly up. What I do know is that Heraclea (as so far excavated) offers a wonderful insight into the lives of the ancients and I commend you to go and visit.

    To the facts and figures now. It appears there was a civilisation here since about the fourth century BC. Yes, the Romans did come and conquer, and made this an important site but our guide seemed to gloss over this point somewhat. Baths, amphitheatre, forum, they are all here and beautifully preserved and now exposed again. I shall choose to remember the place as a reminder of the wonderful inventiveness of the people here, of whatever hue they may have been, and cherish a day in this fascinating place.

    I cannot actually tell you how much it costs to visit here or the pening hours as it was all arranged for us. i would suggest that the physical state of the place would make all but the most cursory glimpse difficult for people with mobility difficulties.

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    • Archeology

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    Always a market - or Bazaar.

    by planxty Written Jul 13, 2011

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    Old Bazaar, Bitola, Macedonia.
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    Readers of other pages of mine on VT will know that I detest shopping but I love markets or bazaars as they tend to be called in this part of the world. There is an old bazaar building in Bitola but this is not where the real action is. Walk a little way beyond it and you are into the proper commercial area. It is a place, like they tend to be, of wonder, strange scents, unusual sights and sheer wonder. The bustle of daily commerce crammed into tight packed streets is simply a delight.

    OK, we were in a slightly priveleged position in that we were on a Euromeet, and even had our own TV crew meet us and interview some of the members. I avoided this as I don't like cameras but I have included an image of the filming which apparently transferred from Tera (local station) to national Macedonian TV. I rather liked the idea of VT on TV, it amused me.

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