Only a few decades ago if you walked from the Wood Market (Drven Pazar) to the Horse Market (At Pazar), the narrow stone paved streets would lead you through 30 markets.
Each of them echoed with a special sound. The coldness of the stone clanged with the warm voices of the masters – jokers and their helpers – witty. The older and younger, advices and instructions.
Every stone of those stone-paved streets, thousands of times a day feels the foreign steps, hurrying to steal a bigger part of the day. The horses trot, the camels and the wooden carts, loaded with the most beautiful products from Vienna, Paris, Istanbul, the Far East, with their cracking cuts through the air, so pleasant…
As one of the most important manufacturing centres in Macedonia, and in the larger region too, during the 19th century, over 140 types of crafts and professions existed and flourished in Bitola. All of them were located in 30 different markets, different alleys, grouped in different craftsmen associations, with their own administrative bodies. At Pazar (Horse Market), Ovci Pazar (Sheep Market), Zitni Pazar (Grain Market), Mas Pazar (Cream Market), Pekmez Pazar (Jam Market), Drven Pazar (Wood Market) and many more will welcome you with a wide open arms. You will be called by the tavern and restaurant owners, to get some rest and to get some food. The boza – vendors and the salep – vendors will sweeten you, and you will be welcomed by the markets and tradesmen.
The Old Bazaar, with approximately 900 stores, was the vein of the city where everything was created and everything was sold. There you could fill the life of Bitola. Numerous craftsmen and professions dictated the tempo of life, of all the population of the city, as well as of the surrounding places.
The hammer strikes, the machine sounds, the glow of gold and silver thread that shines from the shop – windows, tempts with their beauty.
The market days were noisy, filled with trade’s sophistry and buyer’s disapprovals. But anyway they all ended in a common pleasure. The wooden stores with a wooden window – shutters, burned down in fires, were rebuilt and changed with new ones, firmer, and closed with metal window-shutters. The closing of the shutters was a moment of temporary calmness and preparation for the next day.
And while the tailors, shoe-makers, goldsmiths and others manufacturers are leaving on a deserved rest, through the bazaar you could hear the sound of the musicians and the peace that slowly prevailed late in the night was disturbed by the bread – makers, tavern – owners and others, with the scent of freshly baked bread and food were awaking the new day.
And a new day, the same, but different than the previous one.
The window-shutters still exist, but they are not hiding former craft – shops, they keep the contemporary equipped stores. With their sound they bring the morning, and with their sound they announce the evening. They awake the curiosity and they look for the noise of those that remained the last.
The bell – makers, the hat-makers, the slipper – makers, the broom – makers across from the candle – makers, “locum – makers”, and others. The last ones as a symbol of the material and spiritual unbreakable connection between life and death.