Bezisten - Covered Bazaar in Bitola
It was built in the 15th century by the Begler Bey of Rumelia, the Grand Vizier and famous founder Kara Dautpasha Uzuncharshili.
With its numerous domes which make it look like a fortress, three inner alleys and four large metal gates, it is one of the largest covered markets in the region. In the period from the construction until the XIX century, it was often upgraded and partitioned with shops selling textiles and precious fabrics. It was also a kind of vault where the tax money from the whole Rumelia Province was kept in separate parts before being taken to the royal treasury.
Today, the Bezisten is organized as a modern sales area with numerous shops selling various goods. However, despite all the internal transformations, the external appearance of the Bezisten remained almost unchanged.
Although the Bezisten is a place for trade, for shopping, for material survival, which is in fact one of the elements for the survival of a city, it is also a kind of reminder or comparison with the big Istanbul markets.
It is a building that is not often found in the Balkans.
It was built with a purely architectural expression, the long, straight movement through an arched corridor was avoided, and the skilled architect deliberately chose several interior corridors, through which he wanted to replicate the bazaar with its numerous alleys.
In this way, he very skillfully and wisely avoided the monotony of moving and shopping along a long corridor, creating in the curiosity of the buyers – in a sense – what was in this or that corridor, what products were sold in the shops that were not visible at the entrance of the building. This provoked curiosity is a real marketing psychological propaganda that encourages the buyer to research, to perceive, to search, to get a greater desire to buy and bargain.
This architectural psychological moment is used five centuries later, today almost all shopping malls have the elements of the Bezisten – not long rectilinear shopping corridors but a detour – left, right, with new corridors. The Bezisten has been a harbinger of modern urban shopping and even airport arches for centuries. In a way, through the Bezisten, as it was built in Bitola, we can follow the history and development of architecture in modern metropolises.
Located in the center of the city, it was actually the center of the Bitola Bazaar – its various entrances were in fact a kind of connection with all sides of the huge and rich Bitola Bazaar.
The uniqueness of this building is the dome lighting which not only provided bright light but also meant avoiding shadows or dark corners in which well-exposed goods could not be seen.