Reasons to visit Bitola is second largest city in Macedonia. It has been known since the Ottoman period as “the city of the consuls”, since many European countries have consulates in Bitola.
- Licensed tour guide
- Transfer with car/van
- Pick up and drop off your accommodation
- Lunch and Drinks
- Entrance tickets
Once we arrive at Bitola, on the right, you can see Mount Pelister (2,601 m tall) and Pelister National Park, which is the smallest but oldest national park in Macedonia (opened in 1948). It is famous for its ancient Molika pine trees and many other different types of flora and fauna and it conserves some rare glacial lakes, Pelisterski Ochi (the Pelister Eyes). It is a famous winter ski resort with hotels and ski-lifts.
In Bitola we visit the church of Sveti Dimitrija (St. Dimitri), dating back to the 19th century and renowned for being one of the biggest churches in the Balkans. Then we just have a quick glance at Yeni Mosque (built in 1559) which is now an art gallery, then the Yahdar-Kadi Mosque (built in 1562) and the Isak Mosque (built in 1508-09).
At the heart of the town is the Clock Tower. The River Dragor runs through the town. Sirok Sokak (a long pedestrian area) is renowned for the beautiful old houses that belong to the 19th-century architecture. Bitola is a town of consulates, also the town where the Manaki brothers, famous for their pioneering work with the camera, opened their Studio of Art Photography in 1905. In honor of their work in photography, and later, cinematography, the first international film camera festival in the world was started here in 1979 and is held every September. We visiting the museum of Bitola is a great way to learn about the Balkan struggle for independence from the Ottomans. The museum itself is situated in a mid-19th century building that served as a military academy. In 1983 it was repurposed into a museum to honor its most famous student, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a Turkish army officer and first President of Turkey.
After this, we go to the ancient Macedonian town of Heraclea Lyncestis. It was the first major town established in the rich Pelagonia valley in the 4th century BC. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon, the father of Aleksandar III of Macedon. Archaeological excavations are still going on at this site and so far a Roman Bath, a Roman amphitheathre, a Courtroom and a small and big Basilicas from the 5th century have been discovered. The basilicas have the most beautiful and well preserved mosaic floors which are also the biggest in the Balkans and considered to be ones of the most valuable in the world from this period.
You will have a free time and after that we are going back to Skopje where the tour ends.