Mustafa Kemal Ataturk the father of modern Turkey, studied in Monastir (Bitola) Military High School from 1896 untill 1899.
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.
Memorial room of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Bitola museum
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.
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.
The house of Karinte family on the Main street – Shirok sokak in Bitola