Founded in 1014 by Slavs, Bitola is a pleasant town with an interesting clock tower (the town symbol), an old bazaar (Stara Carsija) that is very small compared to the great bazaar in Skopje, and numerous examples of Turkish architecture, including several mosques. A wide European-style pedestrian street crosses the city (Marshal Tito Street); it's a nice place to walk, enjoy coffee at one of several cafes and people-watch.
More impressive are the ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis, founded in the fourth century BC by Philip II of Macedonia (located just outside of town). Heraclea was an important city on the Via Egnatia, the historical overland route connecting Rome to Constantinople. Excavations include baths, a theater and two early-Christian basilicas that offer stunning mosaics depicting plants and animals in striking, intricate detail (100 MKD admission; 500 MKD to take photographs).
Also nearby is Pelister National Park, which has a small ski resort, and Lake Prespa, which offers scenic water and orchard views from its eastern shore. 140 mi/220 km by road south of Skopje.
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