BitolaThe second largest town in Macedonia
B itola is the second largest town in Macedonia, situated in the southern part of Pelagonija Valley , on the upper flow on the both sides of the river Dragor, at an altitude of 600 meter height above the sea level. On the west, near the town, is the Baba Mountain with the magnificent Mount Pelister (2601 m), a National Park with exquisite flora and fauna, and a well-known ski resort. The city is an important junction, connecting the South of the Adriatic Sea with the Aegean Sea and Central Europe. Spreading on a area of 1.798 sq. km. and with a population of 122,173 (1991), Bitola is an important industrial, agricultural, commercial, educational, and cultural center. The second Macedonian university is located here. One of the oldest and best theater companies in the country comes from Bitola. The “Bitola” Mining and Energy Combine provides about 80% of the electric energy in Macedonia and the “Pelaginija” Agricultural and Industrial Combine is the largest in Macedonia. There are also industrial facilities for production of food, textiles, household appliances, and leather that are located here.
Traditionally a strong trading center, Bitola is also known as a town of the consuls. At one time during the Ottoman rule, there were 12 consulates stationed there. There were a number of schools in the town, a military academy (the famous Turkish reformer Kemal Ataturk was educated there), as well as many other cultural associations which were established at that time.
Beside Salonika, Bitola was the center of the Macedonian revolutionary activities, and in 1893 a group of Macedonian intellectuals led by Dame Gruev formed the so called Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (MRO). The Bitola Revolutionary Group became the main bastion of the Macedonian National Liberation Movement, and ten years later, it became a torch of the famous Ilinden Uprising. However, the consequences of the Ilinden Uprising, the Balkan Wars, the World War I, and especially the newly established borders, stopped the natural connections with the Balkan centers, and at the same time, caused new miseries and sufferings among the population in this region. Bitola has had its revival after the World War II liberation from the Nazi occupation forces on November, 4, 1944. During its post-war development, the town has gained its modern physiognomy which matches the rich building tradition from the past centuries.
Some cultural and historical monuments in Bitola and the vicinity are the archaeological site of Heraklea Linkestis located some two kilometers from the city center, with the antique theater in the near surrounding on the south of the town, the Old Bazaar, the Orthodox church “St. Dimitrij”, Isak and Jeni Mosque, the Watch Tower.