Heraclea Lyncestis, ancient city near Bitola

heraclea lyncestis bitola macedonia

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea is mentioned by most of the ancient writers: Polybius, Strabo, Caesar and others.,  in all itinerariums (Itinerarium Antonini and others.) in Tabula Peutingeriana as a station on the road Heraclea – Stobi.

heraclea panorama with two rainbows

  • Open hours: Every day 08.00 – 16.00
  • On Monday there are no guided tours

Heraclea is mentioned in historical sources as a city that was established by Philip II of Macedon, around the middle of the IV century BC. In its intention to extend the Macedonian state, Philip II in the border areas erected fortified cities, which served as the cornerstone of war and cultural expansion.

Theater - Heraclea Lyncestis, ancient city near Bitola

Two centuries later, exactly in year 168 BC, Heraclea falls under the authority of the Roman Empire.

Heraclea during Roman rule has developed as the center of the fertile province and place of junction of Via Egnatia with the road that led from north – Stobi, across Stibera.

A significant economic boom, Heraclea experienced especially in the beginning of the second century to the middle of the III century AD, during the joint rule of Septimie Sever and Caracalla, when it bears the name Heraclea Septimia Aurelio.

According to an honorary inscription, found in the ancient settlement, Heraclea was governed on Greek-Macedonian way.

In the early Byzantine time Heraclea became the seat of a bishopric, and center place of the new Christian faith.

Small Basilika - Heraclea Lyncestis, ancient city near Bitola

Heraclea is mentioned in the fifth century in connection with the invasion of eastern Goths in lllyric. In year 479, Theodoric with his Goths comes in lllyric, destroys Stobi and again is in Heraclea. According to the statements, Theodoric left the town alone because the bishop from Heraclea has sent him gifts. Later he still robbed and burned the town, and went through the road Via Egnatia to ancient Lychnidos (present Ohrid).

Finally, according to a record from, the acts of the Council of Constantinople in 553, for the first time is mentioned Heraclea, with the epithet Pelagoniae. Among the participants of the council mentioned is Bishop of Heraclea Benigus. Name Pelagoniae only was used as evidence that in Heraclea is built residential area on the southern outskirts of Bitola today.
During its thousand years of existence and unfettered development, Heraclea passed, Macedonian, Roman and Byzantine era of the ancient civilization.

Baptistery - Heraclea Lyncestis, ancient city near Bitola

Episcopal residence - Heraclea Lyncestis, ancient city near Bitola

The City of Heraclea, like any ancient city, was protected with city walls and towers from various barbaric attacks.