Clock Tower of Bitola

Bitola, North Macedonia

The Clock Tower of Bitola, known as Saat Kula, is one of the landmarks of the Macedonian city of Bitola. The original clock tower was first built in 1664 by Mahmut Bey when the city was part of the Ottoman Empire and known as Manastır. Legend has it that the Turks collected 60,000 eggs from the surrounding villages and mixed the shells into the construction mortar. The Ottomans rebuilt the tower in the 1830s, in the same period when the Orthodox Church of St. Demetrius was being built.

The clock tower is 33 meters high, with sides of per 5.8 m. On all four sides are entrenched special metal plates mounted to the hands and inscribed with Roman numbers from one to twelve. During the Turkish era, the numbers used were Eastern Arabic numerals. On the uppermost part is a small dome, which offers a beautiful panorama of the city and the wider environment. In more recent times restoration was conducted on the tower, which has not changed its original appearance.

The clock tower was constructed with massive stone blocks. The main and also most decorative part of the clock tower is the part where you set the clock. The entrance to the clock tower encircled by large marble blocks is located on the north side and about a hundred stairs leads to the clock, to its peak of approximately 32 m. These steps lead to the top where in the past the big metal bells stood indicating the time. In 1927 its first clock mechanism was developed by the German company Konfage. People that were required to ring the bells were replaced with so called sajdzhii (clock keepers) who were responsible for maintaining the clock and the clock mechanism. At first there was white clock face with black numbers and hands, and was smaller than the present. This clock mechanism was replaced in 1936. 15 new bells (weighing 900 kg) were placed in the tower as a sign of gratitude for the construction of the Memorial Cemetery of German soldiers killed in the First World War.

In 1962 the mechanism was restored, and in 1970 a keyboard mechanism was installed to play new songs. The clock tower is one of the 180 towers in the world which has embedded such a mechanism.

In 2015, an old Turkish inscription dedicated to the tower, long thought lost, was rediscovered and reassembled at the nearby Gazi Hajdar Kadi Mosque. It was crafted by the renowned Ottoman calligrapher Kazasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi, whose work includes the giant medallions on the cornices of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

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    User Reviews

    Stefan Todorovic (4 months ago)
    Good place to hang out with and family alike. Pretty chill and urban
    Anton Potočnik (4 months ago)
    Great monument with rich history. You get a sense of the age of the city.
    Nikolina Dragovic (10 months ago)
    Beautiful
    Mr_Kiko (11 months ago)
    Fun
    Cody Campbell (11 months ago)
    Pretty sick, i all it 'coock' tower
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