Dzepane or “The Fortress above Bitola” (Turkish “cephane” – gun powder / ammunition depot; Macedonian: Џепане) is a monument of culture in Republic of Macedonia.
Built in 1876, it consists of four unique buildings, built from carved stone and surrounded with high stone wall.
The object is located in the former Bitola barracks area and is considered to be the supreme architectural accomplishment of the masons from Smilevo village.
According to one legend, when the Bitola Vali (Guvernor during Turkish time) offered money to the masons for their work, they replied:
“… it is already paid Vali, we do not take money for holy work”.
He didn’t realized what they were saying, but later he found out that the object was raised in a shape of a cross, as it is clearly visible from the opposite hill.
During Turkish rule near the object were located the great “Red” and “White” army barracks, (in today’s city park) which at certain moments were a base for at least 30,000 Turkish soldiers.
The Red Army barack with Dzepane in the background – Bitola ~ 1908
During the First World War, all of these military facilities were severely damaged, but unlike the Barracks, the Dzepane remained and was later renovated.
Dzepane damaged by granades during WW1 – 1917
This object was again used by YNA (Yugoslav National Army) and later ARM (Army of the Republic of Macedonia), and it was once again a warehouse for weapons, kept as military secret, protected by guards, barbed wire and steel gates.
Especially interesting are the large number of lightning rods surrounding this building, as a different kind of protection, now against natural influences.
Today, with the closure of the army barracks the building is empty and lately is a target of theft and destruction.
For the Deboj in Bitola there are no reliable historical data, but it is assumed that it was probably built in the XVII / XVIII century, when it served as a hammam. It is located in the Old Bazaar, near the Haydar Kadi Mosque.
This profane architecture is rich in architectural forms from the outside and plastic decoration that adorns numerous rooms inside.
Over the time the building was constantly damaged and repaired.
After the conservation and restoration the Deboj got its original appearance, with a beautiful façade, several small and two large domes that dominate over others.
Today the Deboj serves as closed bazaar, in which various different textile goods are sold.
Haydar Kadi Mosque in Bitola is located on the left side of Dragor River, near the former Sheep Market and still existing Deboj in Bitola. According to the preserved historical sources the mosque was built in 1561 – 62.
The project was made by the famous Turkish architect Sinan Mimar (Koca Mi’mâr Sinân Âğâ) and the building was funded by Haydar Kadi, who at the time was Kadi (Judge) in the Bitola (Monastir) region.
According to traveler writer Evliya Celebi in the seventeenth century, this mosque was considered one of the most beautifully decorated at the time. According some sources it was the only mosque in Bitola with two minarets.
The mosque was restored in 1890, and it is also known that before the visit of Sultan Reshad V in Bitola (Monastir) in 1911, many of the buildings in the city and all mosques were restored.
Haydar Kadi Mosque after the Balkan wars was no longer in use as a religious building and from then it was exposed to constant ruining.
Haydar Kadi Mosque is one of the most attractive monuments of Turkish construction in Bitola and it was recently renovated.
Bukovo Monastery – Holy Transfiguration of Christ (Буковски Манастир) is located in a beautiful mountain area near the villages Bukovo and Krstoar in Bitola region.
The monastery history is very scant, but there are some data that suggest that it was built on the foundations of an older church.
The monastery church was built in 1837, in 1845 the monastery had two monks and in 1865 there was only one abbot.
Today the monastery is maintained by the local population.
In the middle of the monastery is located the church and from the old monastic enclosure walls and the main gate, only small portion was preserved. The old monastery lodgings were built southwest of the church, and they were recently renovated.
Due to the proximity of city of Bitola, the clean air and water and the picturesque mountain scenery, the monastery today is one of the most visited sites for picnic near Bitola.
The monastery was one of the favorite locations of the diplomatic corps in Bitola during Ottoman Empire, particularly the Russian Consul Alexander Arkadievich Rostkovski, who was killed by a Turkish soldier in 1903, when he was returning from the monastery in his residence in Bitola.
How to get to Bukovo Monastery
Up to the monastery leads an asphalt road through the village Krstoar and “Krstoar Monastery” in length approximately 6 km (3.7 miles) from Bitola. Much of this road (4km) is paved and is in relatively good condition, up to Krstoar Monastery. The rest of the road with a length of 2 km is a dirt road, which is in relatively good condition.
Also the monastery can be reached by foot (~ 20 min) through Bukovo village up to which also leads an asphalt road.
Although there are lot of information about his success and behavior in the school, little is known about his private life in those days. According to one legend, the greatest love of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was from Bitola, and it was the beautiful girl Eleni Karinte.
Eleni was a Vlach and Christian girl from from a well known family with house on the Main Street – Shirok Sokak. Falling in love with a Turk (Muslim), was a big shame for her family, and according to the legend, she was sent to Lerin (Florina), where is lost every trace about her.
Many people call Eleni Karinte and Mustafa Kemal the “Balkan Romeo and Juliet”, and the house where she once lived, today is tourist attraction in Bitola. In the memorial room of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the Bitola Museum, on a special panel, is presented the letter which allegedly Eleni Karinte devoted to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Memorial room of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Bitola museum
English Translation of the letter
To Kemal Ataturk, somewhere and sometimes!
There have been so many years, and I still, every day, wait a word from you. If you ever receive this letter, remember me, and see the tears on the paper. The years pass by. I have heard so many things about you. Something is going on! If you read this letter while you are kissing another woman, tear it apart and ask her if she believes that some Eleni Karinte from Bitola, spent all her life for a man that she was with, only for one day?! But, if you love her, as much as I love you, don’t tell her anything, and let her be happy as you are! But, if you still remember the girl from the balcony, and you don’t love anybody else, know that I’m still waiting for you, and that I will be waiting for you, for the rest of my life! I know that you will be back, that you haven’t forgotten me! My father died! It’s been a year since the day he snapped me from you, locked me up at home, and didn’t let me out for a month. I haven’t cried because I knew that all the padlocks and prisons can’t change anything. The man that he wanted me to marry, I saw only once, and he asked me if I could love him. And I told him ”No, I love my first love!” And I never saw him again. My fathers never forgave me, and neither did I! I’m not young and beautiful, as I used to be… All life in one day!
Eternally loves you and will always wait for you,
Yours Eleni Karinte.
Macedonian Translation of the letter
До Кемал Ататурк, некаде и некогаш !
Поминаа толку години, а јас сеуште, секој ден, чекам абер од тебе. Ако некогаш го добиеш ова писмо, сети се и види ги солзите на хартијата. Годините си врват, овде сешто се зборува за тебе, нешто се случува. Ако го читаш писмово додека љубиш друга жена, искини го и прашај ја дали верува дека некоја си Елени Каринте од Битола, го потрошила цел живот за човек со кого била само еден ден ? А, ако ја љубиш неа, како што јас те љубам тебе, не и кажувај ништо, нека биде среќна како што си ти ! Ако пак сеуште ја паметиш девојката од балконот и не љубиш друга, знај дека те чекам и дека ќе те чекам цел живот ! Знам дека ќе се вратиш, дека не си ме заборавил. Татко ми умре. Има цела година од оној ден од кога ме грабна од тебе, ме заклучи дома и не ме пушти цел месец. Не плачев, знаев дека џабе му се сите катанци и затвори. Човекот со кој тој сакаше да се венчам го видов само еднаш и ме праша дали ќе можам да го љубам ? А јас му реков: “Не, јас си го љубам првото либе!” И повеќе не го видов. Татко ми никогаш не ми прости, а ни јас нему. Не сум веќе млада и убава како тогаш….. Цел живот во еден ден! Вечно ќе те сака и секогаш ќе те чека твојата Елени Каринте.
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Turkish Translation of the letter
Kemal Atatürk’e, herhangi bir zamanda ve yerde !
Çok seneler geçti, ben halen her gün içerisinde senden haber bekliyorum. Herhangi bir zamanda mektubumu alýrsan, beni hatýrla ve kaðýttaki gözyaþlarýmý görebileceksin. Yýllar ve olaylar geçiyor, seninle ilgili çok þeyler konuþuluyor. Mektubumu okurken, baþka kadýný seviyorsan, mektubumu kopar ve kendisine sor : inanabiliyor mu ki, Manastýr’lý bir Eleni Karinte, bir günlük tanýdýðý ve aþýk olduðu adama bütün ömrünü harcamýþtýr? Ve, benim seni sevdiðim kadar, o kadýný o kadar seviyorsan, kendisine hiç bir þey söyleme, senin kadar mutlu olmasýný diliyorum! Fakat, balkondaki kýzý hatýrlýyorsan, ve baþkasýný sevmiyorsan, seni beklediðimi ve ömrüm boyunca bekleyeceðimi bilmeni istiyorum! Döneceðini, beni unutmayacaðýný biliyorum. Babam vefat etti. Beni senden ayýrdýðýndan tüm bir yýl geçti, beni evde kapattý ve bir ay çýkmama izin vermedi. Aðlamadým, biliyordum ki tüm kilitleri ve hapisleri boþuna harcadý. Beni evlendirecekleri adamý sadece bir kez gördüm ve kendisi bana onu sevebileceðimi sordu. Ben de kendisine : “ Hayýr, ben sadece ilk aþkýmý seviyorum” dedim. Ve artýk kendisini görmedim. Babam beni hiç bir zaman afetmedi, ve ben de kendisine afetmedim. O zamanlardaki gibi artýk genç ve güzel deðilim… Tüm ömür bir gün içerisinde!
Ebediyen seni seven ve seni bekleyen, senin Eleni Karinte.
The house of Karinte family on the Main street – Shirok sokak in Bitola
The building in which today is located Stopanska Banka Bitola (Стопанска Банка Битола), according to its historical and architectural aesthetic values, is a monument of culture of Republic of Macedonia.
The building was built in the late 19th century as the Ottoman Bank, and as such was used until 1912. After the First World War it became Franco-Serbian bank, and during the Second World War Agricultural Bank.
The building during the First World War
After the liberation in the facility for a certain period of time was located the printing company “Kiro Dandaro”, and later in the facility was located “Stopanska Banka”, ie the building had the same function that it has today. Stylish object belongs to French secession facades which are richly decorated with images of ornaments stylized flora deployed on all parts of the facade. The facility is one of the most beautiful examples of architecture in Bitola city, where despite secessionist elements on the façade, also are present Renaissance and Baroque elements.
The building of the Metropolitan residence in Bitola, according to its historical and architectural aesthetic values, has the status of a cultural monument of Republic of Macedonia.
The building was built in the 80s of the 19th century, as Metropolitan residence.
After the Second World War and the liberation of Macedonia, the object becomes the seat of the Diocese of Prespa and Pelagonia (Преспанско Пелагониска Епархија) of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (Македонска Православна Црква). The object is one of the finest examples of neo-Baroque architecture in Macedonia, which is reflected in the conception and architectural forms of expression, especially highlighted in the poles, as a prototype found in the Greek ancient architecture.
Baroque decoration of its facades are reflected in the applications above the windows, some of which are triangular brought, the pillars and pilasters, and the capitals of the Corinthian style. The building is an important monument of culture of the Republic of Macedonia and is one of the most stylish items.
Oficerski or The House of Army (Офицерски дом) in Bitola, according to its historical and architectural aesthetic values, has the status of monument of culture in Republic of Macedonia.
The construction of the building started in 1909, by Abdul Kerim Pasha and in 1912 the building was covered. Its construction was completed after the First World War.
Board for the construction of the Officer Home in Bitola, photographed in front of the construction site in 1909
The architectural expression of the building is typical of the period of historicism in European architecture in terms of plan, decoration and composition tables, with the highlighted Oriental elements. The emergence of these elements in Bitola is normal, when it comes to objects built during the period of Turkish rule. Conceptually the object is built as a synthesis of palace and fortress. Elements of the palace are in the conception of space and masses, and the fortress is visible in the elements in monumental space and secondary decorative plastics derived in the form of cannon tubes. Officer’s house was location for Turkish, Serbian, Bulgarian, Yugoslav and Macedonian army.
Here once the door was opened only for generals and officers and this was the only preserved ballroom in Bitola.
Marshal Tito stayed here, Suleyman Demirel, chess player Karpov and others. Currently the object is not in use and is in bad condition.
The object of the Gymnasium “Josip Broz Tito” (Јосип Броз Тито) in Bitola, is a monument of culture of Republic of Macedonia.
The building was built in 1892 during Turkish rule as pro gymnasium “Ruzdie”, and from 1896 till 1912 it worked as a full High School – “Idadie”. After the Balkan Wars and First World War, depending on the political situation, it was a Serbian and Bulgarian gymnasium. But since 1936 under the leadership of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, the gymnasium became a nursery for new ideas to be implemented through an organized Communist youth SKOJ.
The most famous generation that studied at the today’s gymnasium Josip Broz Tito. Among the students were: Elpida Karamandi (Елпида Караманди), Stiv Naumov (Стив Наумов), Kole Cassule (Коле Чашуле), Vlado Maleski (Владо Малески), Borislav Traikovski (Борислав Траиковски), Gjorgi Caca (Ѓорѓи Цаца), Jovan Kalauzi (Јован Калаузи) …. (National heroes, some of the most famous Macedonian artists, writers…)
After the Second World War, on February 6, 1945, in the gymnasium for the first time in Macedonia begins teaching on Macedonian language.
In this facility were educated many national heroes: Stiv Naumov, Mirce Acev, Elpida Karamandi, Kuzman Josifovski Pitu, Borka Talevski, Rampo Levkov, and others who made significant contribution to the recent history of the Macedonian people. According to its architectural features, this building is one of the most beautiful examples in Bitola of 19th century architectural heritage.
Today in this high school study more than 800 students.