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Bitola History, Macedonia

The city of Bitola is located southwest of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is a center of administration, commerce, culture, education, and industry. Bitola is considered as a significant intersection linking the Aegean Sea and Central Europe with the southern part of the Adriatic Sea. At one point in Bitola History, the city was known as the “City of Consuls” since it has many consulates from countries in Europe.

Bitola History – Prehistory

The prehistory of Bitola is very evident in the city because of the existing monuments built during that time. The Tumba settled in the area during the Copper Age and endured until the Bronze Age. Aside from this tribe, the Shuplevec and Visok Rid also inhabited the area.

Bitola History – Early Byzantine Era

Philip II of Macedonia founded the area where the city is located. During this time, the city flourished mainly because of its strategic location. In 148 BC, the Romans occupied the city. After which, the conquerors demolished the political power of the metropolis. However, the city continued to prosper and a number of infrastructures were built. Also, an important Episcopal seat was established here.

Bitola History – Slavic Occupation

Slavic tribes started to occupy the city during the 500 and 600 AD. Numerous houses were built in the area and a fortress was constructed to protect the city from outside attacks. Between the 9th and 10th centuries, Christianity was spread in the region with the help of St. Clement and Naum. It was also during this time that the city was ruled by Samuil of Bulgaria. During his reign, Bitola became a very significant center for the Bulgarian state. The city also turned into the center for culture, armed forces, and politics.

Bitola History – Ottoman Occupation

Bitola fell under the Ottoman Empire between 1382 and 1912. When Prince Marko died in 1395, the Ottoman government was fully established. Majority of the population in the city was comprised of Turks and villages were inhabited mostly by the Slavs.

The city’s progress was restrained after the Austro-Ottoman Wars. However during the latter years of the 19th century, the development of Bitola once again improved. It became the second largest city in the southern region of the Balkans and was known as the “City of Consuls.” During the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Rebellion in 1903, Bitola became its stronghold.

Bitola History – Balkan Wars

During the First Balkan War in 1912, countries such as Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia battled the Turks. The Treaty of Bucharest of 1913 distributed Macedonia among the Bulgarians, Greeks and Serbians. Originally, Bitola was supposed to go to Bulgaria but Serbia refused to surrender the city. Since then, the city lost its significance and its population greatly decreased.

Bitola History – World War I and II

During the First World War, the city was on the front line of Thessaloniki. Bitola was almost totally annihilated due to this. In 1916, the Allied forces marched in the city after fighting the Bulgarian Army.

Bitola became a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after the war. It did not receive any privileges from the government and was left out in terms of development. The city persisted to decline.

When the Second World War broke, the Germans took over the city. When Bulgaria changed sides in 1944, the Macedonian Pro-Titoist Partisans was able to liberate the city. After the war ended, Macedonia, for the first time, established its own state and Bitola became a city of the former.

There are indeed a lot of twist and turns in Bitola History. If you are eyeing for more facts in the European continent, you may look into several travel guides like Skopie History and Thessaloniki History.

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