The pharmacy of Ahil Chalovski "At the Fish Markets"
During the Ottoman rule, the entire healthcare system in the Balkans was in extremely poor condition. There was a total chaos in the activity of preparation and sale of medicines. Everyone produced and sold what they wanted and many abuses were committed. In the cities, shops, called “Ahtarnici”, were opened in which various medicinal herbs, ointments, powders, etc. were prepared and sold, which were a kind of forerunners of modern pharmacies in the Balkans.
With the penetration of cultural ideas from the West, this activity gradually began to be regulated, so these ahtarnici shops were slowly replaced by pharmacies that acted as small health facilities in which the first medical practices and laboratories were organized.
The first pharmacies in the Balkans were opened in 1840 in Bitola and Thessaloniki and were owned by foreign pharmacists. Some of the medicines in that period were prepared locally, but the import from the developed European countries, especially from England, also started. In Bitola, which at that time was an important administrative and military center, the pharmacy activity developed and already in 1914 the city had 14 pharmacies, including that of Ahil Chalovski.
Ahil Dimitrijevikj – Chalovski was born in Bitola in 1887. After graduating from high school, he continued his education at the Department of Pharmacy at the American University of Beirut. After passing before an examination commission by professors at the Medical Faculty in Constantinople, on September 7, 1910 he acquired the right to the title of pharmacist and the same year he opened his pharmacy in Bitola.
His brother Petar Chalovski also worked as a pharmacist assistant at Ahil Chalovski’s pharmacy, while Dr. Drakopulos, a military doctor and a volunteer in the Serbian army born in Smyrna, and Dr. Prodrom Papa Simeon, performed examinations.
In 1916, during World War I, Ahil was interned in Bulgaria. The pharmacy continued working under the management of Petar Chalovski. He did not have the necessary qualifications, but due to the poor health of the population in Bitola at that time he was allowed to continue running the pharmacy. With the end of World War I in 1920, Peter had his work permit revoked and the pharmacy closed until 1921 when Ahil returned from Bulgaria.
In 1926 the pharmacy was moved “to another building in the same street, across the bridge over the river Dragor”, the same location where Ahil worked until his retirement and where the pharmacy known as Ahilea was opened until recently.