1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Monastir

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MONASTIR, or Bitolia, the second city of Macedonia, and the capital of the vilayet of Monastir in European Turkey, on the railway, 400 m. W. of Constantinople. Pop. (1905), about 60,000. Monastir is situated at an altitude of 2019 ft. on the eastern versant of the richly wooded mountains which culminate in the Peristeri (8300 ft.) and sever Lake Prespa from the valley of the Kara-Su or Tzerna. A tributary of this river, the Drahor or Drahor, traverses Monastir through a rocky channel which is rarely filled except after a thaw or heavy rain. The city possesses many mosques, churches and schools, baths and a military hospital. It is the seat of numerous consulates, an American Protestant mission, and a Lazarist mission. The annual value of its trade is about £400,000. Grain, flour, cloth, hides and bones are exported, and a large amount of gold and silver ornaments is manufactured, though this industry tends to decline.

The military advantages of its position at the meeting-place of roads from Salonica, Durazzo, Uskub, and Adrianople led the Turks, about 1820, to make Monastir the headquarters of an army corps. Since then the general and commercial importance of the city has greatly increased, and in 1898 it was made the see of a Bulgarian bishop. The ancient diocese of its Greek archbishop is known as Pelagonia, from the old name of the Kara-Su Plain. Monastir itself has been identified with the ancient Heraclea Lyncestis on the Via Egnatia; its modern name is derived from the monastery of Bukova ("the beeches") near the southern outskirts of the city.