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In this episode, David takes us around Macedonia to show us what to see and do in Bitola.
The city of Bitola is a mix of ancient and modern traditions. It is small enough to easily explore by foot, and will give you the opportunity to get very familiar Macedonian culture. Heraclea Lyncestis is an ancient site just 2 kilometers from Bitola. It is known for its Greek and Roman architecture, especially its colorful mosaic floors, which are exceptional examples of early Christian art. Don’t forget to admire the amphitheater during your visit to the site.
Magnolia Square is the main square of Bitola. There are several landmarks surrounding the square: Mosque, the Clock Tower, statue of Phillip II of Macedon (in the center of the square) and the beginning of Sirok Sokak, the main pedestrian boulevard of the city.
While exploring around Bitola, you have to stroll through the Old Bazaar. This is one of the city’s most important cultural and social meeting points. Stop at the fruit and vegetable market of the Old Bazaar. It’s really quite colorful and lively. See what produce is in season when you go!
The Old Bazaar is a place to get daily errands done and a great opportunity to purchase souvenirs. Next up on David’s tour is the Museum of Bitola, which holds ancient artifacts and memorabilia from the Balkan struggle for independence. The museum itself used to be a military academy. There are several exhibits and halls dedicated to the academy's most famous student - Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, also known as the first president of Turkey and “Father of the Turks”.
Sirok Sokak Street is the perfect place to get a coffee and people watch. It’s a Must-Do when in Bitola. If you don’t, it’s like you were never here.
Right outside the city (5-minute drive) is the village of Dihovo, which is a great place to visit on a day trip. Villa Dihovo is a unique experience for all who visit. If you choose to come here to dine, you’ll enjoy a pleasant array of Macedonian specialties and refreshing salads made from vegetable grown on the property. Villa Dihovo is also a bed and breakfast. The only thing with a fixed price here is the alcohol, which is definitely something you don’t see every day.
David also visited a bee farm in Dihovo and was able to try the honey straight out of the comb. The bee farm also sells honey in jars, which is a great gift to take back home with you. Give yourself an extra day in Bitola so you want to enjoy the flora and fauna of nearby Pelister National Park. Hiking is the most popular activity here.
So if you’re ready to dive into Macedonian history and cuisine, consider stopping in Bitola for a few days to take in its rich culture and friendly people.
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