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Bitola

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Travel Guide Europe Macedonia Bitola

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Introduction

Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba, Nidže and Kajmakčalan mountain ranges, 14 kilometres north of the Medžitlija-Níki border crossing with Greece. The city stands at an important junction connecting the south of the Adriatic Sea region with the Aegean Sea and Central Europe, and is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. Bitola is one of the oldest cities on the territory of The Republic of Macedonia, having been founded as Heraclea Lyncestis in the middle of the 4th century BC by Philip II of Macedon. The city was the last capital of Ottoman Rumelia, from 1836-1867. According to the 2002 census, Bitola is the second-largest city in the country. Bitola is also the seat of the Bitola Municipality.

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Sights and Activities

  • Old Bazaar, Filip II Makedonski. – even though it is smaller than the one in Skopje, the bazaar in Bitola is cleaner and much more taken care of, so it is purported to be the most beautiful old bazaar in Macedonia, yet it lacks the hustle and bustle of the bazaar of Skopje, even feeling like a ghost town in parts (maybe the shop owners are on vacation in summer?). It has pleasant small squares with water fountains and many Ottoman monuments in and around it. A large portion of the old bazaar was demolished in the 1950s for the city square to be built. Fortunately the main monuments were left standing.
  • Deboj Amam - Turkish Bath built in the 17th century.
  • Bezisten - Built the 16th century, but later reconstructed in neo-baroque style and the city market
  • Jeni Mosque, Shirok Sokak b.b., ☎ +389 47 221915. Built in 1558 by Kadi Mahmud Efendi, the diameter of the dome is 19 metres, and the minaret is 39 metres high. This mosque houses the city art gallery.
  • Isak Beg Mosque. - built in 1508 by judge Isak Celebi Ibni Asa, the diameter of the dome is 26 metres, and the minaret is 45 metres high.
  • Clock Tower (Саат кула) - The clock tower is the pride of the people of Bitola and a main symbol of the city. It was first built in 1664 but got its present appearance in the 19th century. Standing 33 metres high, it is located between the old bazaar and Magnolia Square, on Širok Sokak. The square tower is capped with a small dome, on which a cross stands.
  • Ajdar Kadi Mosque - One of the most attractive monuments of the Islamic architecture in Bitola. It was built in 1561-1562, as the project of the famous architect Sinn Mimar, ordered by the Bitola kadija Ajdar-kadu. The mosque was abandoned and over time, it was heavily damaged, but, the recent restoration and conservation works, have restored, to a certain extent, the original appearance to the mosque.

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Weather

Bitola has a mild continental climate typical of the Pelagonija region, experiencing warm and dry summers, and cold and snowy winters.

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Getting There

By Train

There are couple of trains connecting Bitola and Skopje that stop in Prilep and Veles.

By Bus

There are a dozen buses between Bitola and Skopje (3 hours) that stop in Prilep and Veles, and a couple of buses connecting Bitola and Ohrid (1.5 hours) that stop in Resen. Buses also travel to Sofia in Bulgaria.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Cheapest way to get somewhere in Bitola is by bus which costs flat rate of €0.30.

The most useful bus line is #1. Although there are two categories of buses #1, the differences are non important as they both stop at the railway station, near hospital and near the medical high school.

Other bus lines go to suburbs and nearby villages (Brusnicka, Bukovski, Dovledzik, Streliste, Dulie, Orizari, Dihovo, Nizhe Pole, Bistrica).

By Foot

Walking is the best way to get around Bitola as all the sites are in a line one after another: first the old bazaar, then the city square, then Shirok Sokak street, then the city park, and last the ancient city of Heraklea.

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Eat

Bitola has a good selection of bars, pubs and restaurants with fair prices.

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Drink

Try local beers - Skopsko and Zlaten dab (Golden Oak), local brendy called "rakija" (Antika, Antika 5, Bovin). Macedonia is famous for its wines, and you should never leave the country without trying or buying. There are a lot of varietal wines such as Merlot, Pinot Noar, Riesling, but you should try the local ones red wine Vranec and white ones Traminec and Temjanika. Produced in the Republic of Macedonia, the Vranec wine T'ga za Jug is semi-dry and ruby-red in color. It has been described as being similar in taste to the Italian or Californian Barbera. You can have it in Special selection or Limited edition.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet access is widely available throughout the country. Internet cafés are available in most cities and in some villages. Almost all hotels provide internet access, either free or paid. Local coffee shops usually offer free Wi-Fi access, as many other public places do. Feel free to ask for the password, if the network is locked.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Macedonia's internetional telpehone code is 389.

Mobile phones are widely spread and the coverage is excellent. There are 3 mobile networks (T-mobile, One and VIP), all using the GSM/3G standard. You can buy a pre-paid SIM card from T-mobile for MKD295 (€5) with MKD250 free talk time, from ONE for MKD190 (€3) with MKD250 free talk time, and from VIP for MKD300 (€5) with MKD300 free talk time. You may need to show your ID card or passport when buying.

If you want to use your home cellphone for internet service, buy a local SIM card or otherwise switch off data roaming and use wifi only. Prices per MB are still extremely high otherwise.

Post

Macedonia's National Postal Service offers fairly reliable and affordable services, though it might take a while for your letter or postcard to arrive. At least 3-5 days within Europe, but more like 10 days for destinations outside Europe. Major post offices keep fairly long opening times, from 8:30am to 7:30pm Monday to Saturday and even on Sunday mornings in some places like Skopje. Smaller towns and rural areas have (much) shorter opening times. If you want to send a package internationally, use courier services like FedEx, UPS, TNT or DHL, as they are fast,. reliable and competitively priced.

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Bitola Travel Helpers

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This is version 7. Last edited at 12:27 on Jun 28, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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