Clock Tower - Bitola

According to the available data, the existence of a clock tower in Bitola was mentioned for the first time in 1664, but there is no more detailed information about its location or appearance. In the published articles of several travel writers who stayed in Bitola in the XVII and XVIII century, there were no records of the existence of a clock tower, unlike the records of mosques and their minarets which were often mentioned. Thus, in the absence of more precise information, it is considered that today’s Clock Tower was built at the same time as the nearby church of St. Demetrius around 1830.

Реката Драгор и Саат-кулата на цртеж од патеписецот Едвард Лир - 1848 год
The Dragor River and the Clock Tower - drawing by Edward Lear - 1848

The position of the Clock Tower is not accidental. It was located in the central part of the city, as a link between Shirok Sokak and part of the markets that existed at that time. The Clock Tower was located in the heart of Pekmez Market, a place where various oriental desserts such as baklava, kadaif, pekmez, lokum, jam, honey, etc. were sold, but which was also a place of entertainment and where the most beautiful patisseries, cafes and teahouses in the city were.

Саат-кула со Пекмез пазар
The Clock Tower with "Pekmez" bazaar

According to a legend, the Ottoman authorities collected approximately 60,000 eggs from the surrounding villages, which were used in the mortar during the construction of the Clock Tower, which they thought would make the walls much stronger. The Clock Tower was purposefully built with a single function: measuring and showing the time, which until the moment of setting the first clock mechanism with a dial, was marked in the traditional way, by striking the bell placed at the top of the tower.

Until 1912 the time had been marked “a la turca”, i.e. the hours had been counted from the moment of sunset. After 1912, modern time counting was introduced.

Панорама на Битола со Саат-кулата во 1937 г
Panorama of Bitola with the Clock Tower in 1937

The first dial and clock mechanism were manufactured by the German company “Konfage” and were installed in 1927, and later in 1936 the current mechanism was installed as a gift from Germany, as a sign of gratitude to the city of Bitola, for the construction of the Memorial Cemetery of German soldiers killed in World War I.

The musical mechanism was restored in 1962 by the same German company, and in 1970 a new keyboard was installed that allowed other compositions to be played in addition to those recorded on special tapes.

During the renovation in 2009, the clock mechanism itself was renovated, with the help of German experts. With the reparation of the mechanism, some of the songs were lost, and only the song “Bitola my hometown” remained to be played.

  • How to get there

    The building is located in the city center and is well accessible from all sides.

  • Parking

    There is parking for ordinary vehicles in the vicinity of the building.

  • Wheelchair accessibility:

    Yes, from outside the facility

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