Open post Eleni Karinte House in Bitola, Macedonia

Eleni Karinte – The Great Love of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

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.

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.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Museum Bitola Macedonia

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.

  – – – – –

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.

Eleni Karinte - The Great love of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

The house of Karinte family on the Main street – Shirok sokak in Bitola


Open post Catholic Church - Sacred Heart of Jesus Bitola

Catholic Church

The Catholic Church “Sacred Heart of Jesus” is located in Bitola city center on the main street Shirok Sokak.
In the middle of XIX century in Bitola were opened numerous consular offices and many foreign officials, merchants and members of their families, came in the city. The increased number of Catholic believers, required constant presence of priest, who would take care of the spiritual needs of the population, spiritual and school education of children and other believers.

This situation contributed in 1848 to be appointed permanent pastor whose stay in Bitola was quite short.

French Lazarists played the most important role in the establishment of the first Catholic Parish in Bitola in 1856. Founder of the Parish was Father Jean-Joseph Lepavek who after his arrival took full care of the spiritual life of the believers. He in 1857 from the “valy” of Bitola – Redzep Pasha bought the hotel Locanda, which was located on Main Street “Shirok Sokak”, and was built for the Turkish army.

Joseph Lepavek made a small chapel where on Easter 1857 he served the first Divine Liturgy, and the chapel was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Catholic mission had great support from the French Consulate which on different ways supported its work. With the strengthening of the Parish for the needs of their faithful, the Catholic Church was built, together with other facilities.
In the next period were opened within the Parish school and boarding.
In 1870 year on the present location on Main Street (Shirok Sokak) was built a new Catholic church. This church built in Baroque style in 1900 was burned in a fire.

The Main street Rue Hamidie Shirok Sokak Bitola with Catholic church 1907

The Main street Rue Hamidie Shirok Sokak Bitola with Catholic church 1907

The Main street Rue Hamidie Shirok Sokak Bitola with Catholic church 1907

The Main street Rue Hamidie Shirok Sokak Bitola with Catholic church 1907

The Main street Shirok Sokak, Bitola 1908

The Main street Shirok Sokak Bitola 1908

On its place in 1909 today’s Catholic Church was built in the Gothic French style.
Architectural plan for the construction of the Catholic Church was designed by French architect, but realized by the Macedonian masters.
The interior of the church consists of three altars, a large number of icons and statues of different sizes, baptistery and benches for worshipers.

Shirok Sokak Bitola with Catholic church in 1916

Shirok Sokak Bitola with Catholic church in 1916
The main altar of wood in Gothic German style was made in Munich, Germany. The other two smaller altars are made in French Gothic style. The new altar and the wellspring made the walnut in 1975, and it was made by one of the most famous Macedonian engravers George Karadzov (Ѓорѓи Караџов).
The most dominant of all the statues is the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is located in the center of the altar.
The church tower was built between 1938 – 1940, and was a gift from Slovenian believers.
Today the Catholic Church, continues to serve the believers in the Bitola region, proudly standing also as one of the main city tourist attractions in Bitola.

Catholic Church Bitola - interior

Shirok sokak Bitola with Catholic church

Open post Yeni Mosque Bitola (Јени џамија)

Yeni Mosque Bitola

Yeni Mosque in Bitola is located in the city center on the right side of the River Dragor near the Clock Tower. It was built by Kadi Mahmud Effendi in 1558-59, and in Bitola is known as Yeni (Turkish for  – New) Mosque.

The base of the mosque is square, covered with a dome. Next to the mosque is a minaret, which reaches a height of over 40 m.

Yeni Mosque with Clock Tower and Pekmez Bazaar during the First World War

Yeni Mosque with Clock Tower and Pekmez Bazaar during the First World War

Until recently the premises of the mosque were used as art gallery, and later started archaeological research that showed that the mosque was built on the foundations of the old church of St. George, which existed at that place.

Today the archaeological surveys are completed, and Yeni Mosque is expected to be adapted again into an art gallery, but this time with a glass floor, through which could be seen the remains of the church St. George.

Yeni Mosque Bitola - Dome

Yeni Mosque Bitola

Open post Saint Dimitrij church in Bitola

St. Dimitrij Church in Bitola

The church St. Dimitrij in Bitola was built in 1830, replacing the former old burnt chapel from 1726.

Built with special permission of the Turkish authorities, the church supposed to be modest and nondescript building, lower than the surrounding mosques.

Therefore, it was dug into the ground and is was built in just four months with donations from Bitola Christians.

The interior of the church is richly played with fascinating galleries in the second floor, Carved throne, carved iconostasis and pulpit.
The Iconostasis originates from the middle of the XIX century and was made in shallow carving, later cast and gilded. The belfry originates from 1936 and was the work of Alexander Deroko (Александар Дероко).
Today the church St. Dimitrij is the central church in Bitola, and it hosts the largest number of weddings, christenings and is the central place for all major Christian holidays.

Saint Dimitrij Church in Bitola, Macedonia

Saint Dimitrij Church in Bitola, Macedonia

Saint Dimitrij Church in Bitola, Macedonia

Saint Dimitrij Church in Bitola, Macedonia

Saint Dimitrij Church in Bitola, Macedonia

Iconostasis - Saint Dimitrij Church in Bitola (Св. Димитрија Битола)

Open post Isak Mosque in Bitola

Isak Mosque

Isak Mosque is largest and main mosque in Bitola, situated along the north bank of the Dragor River.
Built in 1506, the whole mosque complex was ideally situated between the government buildings, covered bazaar Bezisten and the Big Bridge to the other side of the river connecting it with the main street Sirok Sokak.

Isak Mosque – Bitola 1848 – Painting by Edward Lear

Isak Mosque - Bitola 1848 - Painting by Edward Lear

View toward Isak Mosque H.Catenacci Bitola 1878

View toward Isak Mosque H.Catenacci Monastir (Bitola) 1878

Jewish bazaar in Bitola with Isak Mosque 1915

Jewish bazaar in Bitola with Isak Mosque 1915

Panorama of Bitola with Isak Mosque 1916

Panorama of Bitola with Isak Mosque 1916

Popularly known as Ishakkiye, this monumental mosque was named after its founder, Judge Ishak Çelebi ibn Isa, son of Isa Fakıh.
After being a judge in Salonica for many years, Ishak Çelebi was appointed to the Kadi’s bench in Manastır (Bitola) where he moved with his family.

Today Isak mosque is a monument of culture of first category in Republic of Macedonia, which with its spectacular size and 50 meter high minaret dominates the area and can be seen from many sides of the city.

The complete mosque was recently restored by the Turkish International Agency for Cooperation and Development – TIKA.

Isak Mosque - Bitola, Macedonia

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