Bitola Old Bazaar market is located north from downtown. This part of the city kept many houses with traditional Turkish architecture and numerous monuments, mosques and baths, from the Ottoman era. Although with time the bazaar diminished, it still retained its original trade activity.

Old Bazaar is located on the north bank of the Dragor river that passes through Bitola. It is across the southern part of the city center which is built in the XIX century and with typical central European architecture. Bazaar features a mix of streets with short houses that are clearly identifiable in the urban landscape of Bitola. Bazaar was once much larger, but was demolished to make way for modern buildings.

Old Bazaar in 1914

Bitola became a real city after the Ottoman conquest in XIV century. Then, a large number of Turkish population moved in Bitola. Turkisn people especially traded wool and leather. Most of the public buildings in the bazaar were built in the XV and XVI century by local dignitaries.

According to a Venetian merchant who passed through the city in 1591, the bazaar already had the Bezisten (closed arcade market) and Caravan-Saray. Ottoman traveler from the XVII century, Evliya Çelebi, talks about 3,000 houses, 900 shops, 40 tea-houses, Bezisten (arcade) closed with iron gates and numerous other public buildings. At that time, Bitola had arout 70 mosques.

The trade activity of the city was much reduced by the Second Austrian-Turkish war from 1683 to 1689. Trade declines sharply. In the beginning of the XIX century, Bitola again finds its place as a major trade center. The involvement of foreign trade powers and regional politics, provide opening of new markets, so Bazaar little by little loses its status as a nerve center of the city because of the expense of the new sections built to the south.

In the height of its activity, Bazaar numbered 30 various markets, Ovci pazar (Sheep market), Drven pazar (Timber market), Mast pazar (Fat market), Ziten pazar (Grain market), At pazar (Horse market), Stocen pazar (Cattle market), Pekmez pazar (Jam pazar), Tus Market and many more. In the XIX century in the bazaar existed more than 140 trades in over 900 stores.

Today the bazaar is affected by the poor economic climate and numerous closed stores. Municipality and Museum, began action to renovate the Bazaar in 2009, which should last about ten years. Two marble fountains have been already restored by the museum.