southernmost city of Macedonia, 2,019 feet (615 metres) in altitude on the Dragor River and at the western edge of the Bitola Plain, a few miles from the Greek frontier. Near the Greek-founded settlement Heraclea Lyncestis, later a Roman city, it was invaded by Slavic tribes in the 5th and 6th centuries, and thereafter declined. The Monastery of Obitelj (still visible) played an important role in the community until the city was taken by the Turks and became a thriving cosmopolitan city of commercial and military importance. There were 60 mosques in the city, of which 12 remain. In the Balkan Wars (1912-13) Bitola was taken by the Serbs, cutting off the city from a 500-year Muslim history. World War II brought a further decline in economic activity and in population; its Jewish community was wiped out.
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