Hotel Epinal - Bitola
Shirok Sokak 62, 7000 Bitola
Republic of Macedonia
tel.: +389 47 224 777
fax: +389 47 224 778

About Bitola

About Bitola

Welcome to Bitola

Brief facts about the city of Bitola

The name Bitola has been mentioned since X century.The remains of Heraclea Linkestis (2km from the center of Bitola) are proof of the existence of an ancient town founded by Macedonian King Philip II in the 4th century B.C.Historically, Bitola was situated on the well known Roman road Via Ignatia, which enabled it to be a relevant economic, administrative, educational, medical, diplomatic and cultural center.

Bitola with over 90.000 citizens is the second largest city in Republic of Macedonia and spreads over area 1.716km2. It is located 630m above sea level 175km from the Capital Skopje, 180km from Thessaloniki and only 15km from the Greek border.Bitola, a town with a rich tradition and turbulent historic past, today is a regional industrial, economic, educational (University), scientific and cultural center of the South-West part of the Country.

The climate in this region is continental with mild influence of Mediterranean, a lot of sunny days, rich vegetation, and pleasant temperatures in the spring and autumn months. The Average annual temperature is 10OC.

Bitola has a picturesque surroundings and beautiful landscapes, but above all the symbol is National Park "Pelister", area with exceptional natural beauties, two glacial lakes "Pelister's Eyes" and five-leaf pine Molika, formations from the tertiary and the Balkan endemic. Bitola has a rich culture life. Besides The International Film Camera Festival "Manaki brothers" (one of the three festivals in the World dedicated to the directors of photography), several other international festivals are held in Bitola, such are "Interfest" - international festival of serious music, "Heraclea Evenings" - Summer theater and music festival, The International Graphic Triennial, International Children's Colony "The Small Monmartre of Bitola.

Monuments of culture

The ancient town of Heraclea Linkestis was founded by Philip II Macedonian (4th Century B.C.). The Heraclea picturesque mosaics are perfectly preserved. They are among the most significant works of art from that period of time. The small (bishop) and the big three nave basilica, the big amphitheatre, acropolis, necropolis, the residency of the Episcope, the statue of Athena Parthenos, are just a part of the rich treasury of Heraclea.

The Jews Gate is one of the monuments that testify about the horrible deporting and destruction of 3000 Bitola's Jews in the concentration camp Treblinka.

The father of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk attended the Turkish military school in Bitola. His memorial room is located in the Institute, Museum and Gallery. (ex Turkish Military School).

The town abounds in significant cultural monuments inherited in course of the past centuries: the cathedral church "St. Dimitrija" (1830), one of the largest Orthodox churches in Macedonia with a beautiful iconostasis and gilded engraving.the Bezisten (16th-19th Centuries) a covered market place; the old Bitola Bazaar (19th Century); the Clock Tower (17th Century) the Mosque of Aydar Kadi (16th Century); the old urban architecture (19th and the beginning of the 20th Century). In the city there were nine Consulates of European countries (Austria, Hungary, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania).

Russian Cross - in honor and glory of the Russian emperor consul in Bitola H.E. Aleksandar Arkadievch Rostkovski.

Sirok sokak

Sirok sokak is the most representative ambient overall of the city core. It is a pedestrian zone with many coffee and gift shops, where most of the consular offices are placed, creating the casual Bitola's city life.

Sirok sokak is actually nickname of the main city street. This street is known by that name since 40th years of the 19th century since when dates her widely recognizable character.

The architectural expression of the structures placed down the Sirok sokak is reflection of the civilization changes occurred in that period which permanently changed previous oriental way of life.

Sirok sokak is a materialized city culture reflection and clearly speaks of Bitola as an administrative, industrial, educational and cultural center in this part of the Balkans, widely recognizable in whole Europe.


Saat-kula is the most recognizable monument identifying Bitola`s center. Is considered that was built during the Ottoman governance in 1830, when the church St.Dimitrija was also built.

Legends are telling that during construction in the binding materials for the stone blocks, 60.000 eggs were used to make the construction stronger.

Saat-kula is 33 meters high. The top part is a small cupola lying on a square plateau protected by an iron fence, from where you can see a beautiful panorama of the city and its ambiance. Built-in clock mechanism ticks the hours melodically, reminding the passers of its presence.

This historical monument kept its practical value for the citizens of Bitola who will always say that he gives the original print of the city.

Russian Cross - in honor and glory of the Russian emperor consul in Bitola H.E. Aleksandar Arkadievch Rostkovski.

Heraclea Linkestis

The ancient town of Heraclea Linkestis was founded by Philip II Macedonian (4th Century B.C.) and is the most important ancient city in Macedonia.

In its thousand years of existence, experienced three major periods (Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine) and each of them left their specific mark.

City reached its biggest growth under Roman authority and after construction of the VIA IGNATIА road.

Then Heraclea Linkestis turned into an important commercial and cultural center, visited by the Roman emperor Nero.

Heraclea Linkestis is built according to the classical schemas of the ancient cities.

The most significant constructions are:

  • portico of the courthouse since Roman times (II VN)
  • bath from Roman times (II VN)
  • Theatre from Roman times (II VN)
  • Episcopal residence (IV to VI century)
  • Small Christian basilica (IV to VI century)
  • Large Christian basilica (IV to VI century)
  • City tap from the time of Justinian (562)

Today is an important archeological find and place where public and culture manifestations occur.

St. Dimitrija

St. Dimitrija is the biggest church in Bitola, built in 1830th in place of the same called chapel destroyed in a fire.

Built in the form of three-ship basilica, with side galleries. Each boat is distinctive paralkis. Especially remarkable is the iconostasis with its monumental dimensions. European baroque and rococo style signs are notable.

The famous Macedonian woodcarvers produced its impressive interior, high arches, numerous candelabras, and monumental ornate altar, odds sense of unusual peace and mysterious atmosphere of grandeur.

As part of this noticeable construction of Bitola's architectural heritage, is the bell tower built in 1936th.

Located in the center of town, the church "St. Dimitrija" is a cathedral, which widely opens the gates for Christian believers and all well-meaning visitors.

Catholic Church "Sveto srce Isusovo"

The Lazarians mission founded Catholic Church, "Sveto srce Isusovo" in 1856. It is one of the first Catholic churches in the Balkans.

Whit its interior conception, the church belongs to the "neogotski" style.

Its current appearance is result of the reconstruction after the bombardments during the Balkan Wars (1912-1914) and the First World War. In 1930, the Tower is reconstructed.

It is located on the most representative street, "Sirok Sokak" in Bitola.

The church today has a very rich library and archival fund for the mission and schools opened in Bitola, to spread the Catholic religion.

Isak mosque

Isak mosque is one of the most famous monuments of the Islamic culture in Bitola. Built in 1506th like memorial of the cadi Isak Chelebi.

With its architectural, exterior and interior appearance and harmony of lines represents perfected brusanski type of mosque.

Is considered that this mosque belongs to the classical Ottoman style of the Turkish building heritage.

The interior is rich with colorful ornamentation.

On the wider wall-areas are implicated medallions, which are inscribed with religious texts messages. Is known that Isak Chelebi itself is buried next to the mosque.


Bezisten (attractive covered bazaar), is believed that is built in XVII-XVIII century.

With 86 stores, its purpose was trading goods and banking business, which is why its entry doors were protected with iron gates.

Now, internally transformed, operates various commercial and catering facilities.


In the middle of 19th century, several major fires occurred in Bitola that destroyed last wood stores in the bazaar.

Massive stores and warehouses now occupy their place.

They were used as storage for all kinds of goods, where trade was maintained for decades and centuries.

Today, in an authentic ambient stored in this building, located in the center of the city, are presented cultural events of various kinds.

Kemal Ataturk

In 1896, the young Mustafa Kemal comes from Solun to study in Bitola. One afternoon before Easter, walking on the Sirok sokak, he notes the beautiful Eleni, his youth peer, standing on balcony. The house was property of the rich Eftim Krinte.

That happened in 1897.

That house still stands on the corner opposite of the hotel "Epinal".

It was fatal love on first sight. Mustafa fell in love with Eleni. He escapes in Solun wanting to marry her. When they went together in Solun, Mustafa`s mother asks him to get back in Bitola and finish the school first and to ask Eleni`s father for his loved one hand.

Mustafa and Eleni returned to Bitola living in a shack placed on the present Lavchansko-brusnichki vineyards. Their love was big scandal, because Eftim`s daughter is in love with Turkish cadet.

Eftim could not stand the scandal, so to hide the shame he gave his apprentice a bag of gold and bought a house in Florina to send him with Eleni to live there, far away from the eyes and memories of Bitola.

Bitola never forgot this love story.

Later Kemal goes in turkey and becomes greatest military commander and creator of the modern state for what he is named "Atatürk Father of the Nation" and dies aged 57.

Eleni died aged 80 in Florina, where buried. They never met again.

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