Tuesday, 12 July, 2011
For a town I had never heard of until a few days ago, Bitola has quite a history. I mentioned in my last post about its role as a key battle front in World War 1. Apparently, there was also a military college here where Kemal Ataturk studied and there is a Kemal Ataturk museum in town. Some say Ataturk deserves a large part of the credit for the victory against the British and ANZAC forces at Gallipoli. And in ancient times, the site of Herculanea Lycensis was an important Roman town on the Via Egnatius, connecting the Adriatic to Byzantium (later Constantinople and now Istanbul). The site was originally founded by Phillip II of Macedon (Alexander’s father). Just a short boat ride across the Adriatic from the start of the Via Egnatius is Brindisi, leading to Rome by way of the Via Appia (parts of which I saw earlier on this trip. Today I visited the Herulanea Lycensis archaeological site (see pic of Byzantine floor mosaic with local flora/fauna) and had a stroll around Bitola. By the way the tempearture in Bitola reached high 30s today, but in winter it can drop to -30 deg C.