St. Demetrius (St. Dimitrij) Church in Bitola
St. Demetrius (St. Dimitrij) Church was built in 1830, on the site of a former old chapel that burned down in a fire. It was built with the special approval of the Ottoman authorities, from the voluntary contributions of the local merchants and crafts guilds from Bitola.
The church is built in the form of a three-nave basilica, with side galleries above the end naves. It is vaulted with a flat ceiling, which rests on two rows of symmetrically placed columns, whose wooden construction is covered with plaster, thus creating the illusion of a marble cladding. The capitals look like a truncated pyramid, set in a narrow part down.
The Church of St. Demetrius fits into the urban complex of the two mosques and the city Clock Tower, as a fourth element. It is on the south side and it is like a kind of architectural symbolism of light itself.
In its interior, the church has high and elegant pillars, a huge ceiling on which Jesus Christ is painted in a gilded medallion. It is a temple with impressive elements in painting and carving.
On the east, there is a grand iconostasis, one of the largest in the Balkans. The iconostasis is divided horizontally and vertically into three parts joined into one whole. Worked with impeccable precision, patience, and dedication, this artistically perfect church element proves the exceptional mastery of the woodcarving group which not only possessed great talent but also knowledge because the iconostasis of the church of St. Demetrius is a kind of Balkan baroque that shows that connection and touch with Europe were direct, creative and inspiring.
Due to its size of the interior, the size of the iconostasis, the secrets of the western entrance and the frescoes around the western entrance gate, as well as the various Roman tombstones in the churchyard, this religious building is an example of Christian architecture found in the most important Orthodox churches and city centers.
It is a kind of cathedral in which architecture, sculpture and painting are merged into a lavish and magnificent whole performed with a lot of talent and love.