Bitola – The City of Consuls, The Heart of Macedonia
The first consulate was established in Bitola in 1851 by Austro-Hungarian Empire. Bitola was the city of consuls almost nine decades where nine consulates with one hundred consuls performed their diplomatic mission till the Second World War. Bitola has been cosmopolitan city for long period in terms of European architecture and Bitola inhabitants often praise that Bitola entered the 20th century with phaetons and 3.000 pianos.
Bitola is the second largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It is situated in the south-western part of the Republic, in the Valley of Pelagonia in the foothills of Baba Mountain, 13 kilometers from Greek border. The city is located along the banks of the River Dragor, which is a tributary of Crn Drim. Bitola has a role of a regional centre in the Republic of Macedonia. Bitola's traffic communication is oriented towards Prilep on the north, towards Ohrid on the west and towards Greece on the south. Motorways with international importance are directed towards these destinations. The regional roads leading towards Kichevo and Mariovo area are also of great importance. The railway from Veles and Prilep passes via Bitola and continues towards Lerin, Voden and Thessaloniki in Greece.
The monastery Zurche St. Atanasij Aleksandriski, village Zurche (1121) - an active female monastery in the magnificent forest region .
The monastery St. AtanasU Aleksandriski is located between Demir Hisar and Krushevo, three kilometres above the village Zurche into the core of the mountain. The church was erected in 1121 and completely painted in 1617. According its architectural form, the monastery church is small, with rectangular foundation and five-side altar apse from the eastern side. There are old quarters in the monastery complex, probably built in the first decades of the 19th century and were demolished in 1895. The new quarters were built after The First World War. There were a library and a reading room which were working successfully for centuries.
Here you can find the oldest works of the architectural buildings in the Balkan, which make the city more beautiful and attractive since the Ottoman period.
In the year of 1851, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire opened the first consulate in Bitola, exactly in Shirok Sokak. Later on, The British and the French would follow this example, and afterwards the consuls of Russia, Italy, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania came. The first lights in Shirok Sokak, that moved the darkness from the Clock Tower to The Officers' Centre were lit at 5 p.m. on 24th of December 1924. At that time, both the consuls and the inhabitants went on the first promenade under the lights. Even then, many branch offices of the world famous and foreign companies, the presti-gious taverns, tea-shops, the branch of the Franco-Serbian Bank. The artists were especially inspired during this period of consuls - they were singing about them, about the carriages, the famous soup, the Vlach settlement and the yellow houses, and they worshiped the love. There is a record that over 600 songs were composed for Bitola, like no other city in the world. The dream of Bitola inhabitants of becoming a consulate city again, became true after the Independence of Macedonia. France was the first country which opened its consulate in Independent Macedonia, then followed Turkey, and afterwards the British and the Russian Consulates were opened.
History and Culture
Memorial-room of Kemal Ataturk
The most important period of the Barracks is tightly connected to the period when the cadet Kemal Ataturk was educated and now it is the present location of Institute and Museum. There has been a permanent museum exhibition dedicated to the father of modern Turkey since 1994.
Heraclea Lyncestis (4th century BC) the city of Philip, which gifted Mediterranean brilliant mosaics
Heraclea Lyncestis is one of the most famous ancient Macedonian cities, situated in vicinity of the city of Bitola. It was founded in the middle of the 4th century BC by the Macedonian King Philip the Second. The city grew into well-developed military and strategic centre on the north-western border of the Macedonian area of Lynkesida (today this area refers to Bitola Field). Being situated on the most important crossroad in that period, Via Egnatia, Heraclea became the most crucial stop in the region. It was the Episcopal seat in the Early Christian Period. Portico with the monuments of honour, the Small and Big Basilica, Roman Bath, theatre, the City's Fountain of Justinian dating back to the 6th century, the Episcopal Residence, large number of statues and other attractive elements. At the end of the sixth century, Life in Heraclea started to fade away. Today, Heraclea Lyncestis is considered as a significant archaeological site and place where many cultural events take place.
The main feature of this ancient city and a real attraction for tourists are the floor mosaics found in the remains of many sacral objects, filled with thousands and thousands of little stones set in the perfect harmony. Mosaics cover an area of approximately 160 square meters occupying four objects: the Small, the Big, the Civil and the Burial Basilica, all of them are located 250 meters
from the central city area. The mosaic units were made with the technique of opus sectile and opus tessalatum date back to the 5th and the 6th century. Protected by the law, the aesthetic-compositional value of Heraclea mosaic complex is on the top of the late antique epoch of the Mediterranean and it also has a great significance for the History of Art of Early Christianity and Iconography.
The Isak ( Mosque (1508) the golden levha having a disc shape is a present by the sultan Reshad VIshak Celebi Ibn Isa Mosque, which is its original name, is one of the oldest preserved mosques in Bitola as well as one of the oldest Muslim sacral cultural-historical objects in Macedonia. The minaret is approximately 50 meters high therefore this mosque dominates the space opposite the Clock Tower and the Big Bezisten. There are several tombs in its spacious yard, attractive because of the soft, moulded shapes of the sarcophagi. Surrounded with greenery, this one room mosque represents a real resting place for its founder. The main decorative elements on the porch are four pillars, which dominate the space because of its high stone platforms and end up with identical capitals. The main entrance leads to the praying space which is lavishly decorated. Playing with colours and shapes, reflected in every part of the mosque makes it unique.