Stara Čaršija

North Macedonia

Bitola's Stara Čaršija boasted about 3000 clustered artisans' shops in Ottoman times; today, only about 70 different trades are conducted, but it's still an interesting place to wander – particularly as it's got a much more lived-in feel to it than the Čaršija in Skopje. Here, you'll see locals zipping about buying provisions, clothes and so on; one of the most interesting sections of the bazaar is the food market in the eastern corner.

The market is wonderful for self-caterers and anybody interested in Macedonian cuisine. Mountain herbs and mushrooms plucked from Pelister are piled high here, as are fat olives and pyramids of paprika. Dried peppers are strung from stalls like licks of fire, and traders urge browsers to sample seasonal highlights such as cherries and tomatoes in summer.

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