Located in the southern part of North Macedonia near the border with Greece, Bitola is the country’s second largest city. Start your time here in Magnolia Square underneath the clocktower, before making your way through the city’s important religious sites.
You don’t come to a sleepy Bitola to rush, so take your time by enjoying the local cafe scene on Sirok Sokak, the city’s main pedestrian drag. Visit the city’s Old Bazaar and the covered market, where you can get your Macedonian shooping fix.
For those of us that love a good history lesson, 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.
Visit the Ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient city in the kingdom of Macedon. Phillip II of Macedon founded it in the 4th century B.C. With the presence of Greeks and Romans throughout the Balkan Peninsula, each made their mark on Heraclea Lyncestis. The ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis are a testament to their tangible influences and dominance. The ruins themselves are located just 2 kilometers south from the center Bitola, at the foot of Baba Mountain. Though smaller than the original city, the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis holds several important buildings and sites. These include the Roman theatre, Roman thermae (bath complex), small and large basilicas added by the Byzantines, Jewish temple, and intricate church floor mosaics that are fantastic examples of early Christian art.