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According to the 2002 census, Bitola is the second-largest city in the country.
The name Bitola is mentioned in the Bitola inscription, related to the old city fortress built in 1015.
During the 4th and 6th centuries, the names of other bishops from Heraclea were recorded.
The city was sacked by Ostrogothic forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 and, despite a large gift to him from the city's bishop, it was sacked again in 479.
In Byzantine times, the name was Hellenized to Voutélion (Βουτέλιον) or Vitólia (Βιτώλια), hence the names Butella used by William of Tyre and Butili by the Arab geographer al-Idrisi.
During the ruling of Radomir Gavril(1014–1015) Bitola is mentioned under the name of Buteliu. The Greek name for the city (Monastíri, Μοναστήρι), also meaning "monastery", is a calque of the Slavic name.
A golden earring dating from the 4th century BC is depicted on the obverse of the Macedonian 10 denar banknote, issued in 1996.
- City of Hercules upon the Land of the Lynx) was an important settlement from the Hellenistic period till the early Middle Ages.
It has been known since the Ottoman period as "The City of The Consuls", since many European countries had consulates in Bitola.The Romans conquered this part of Macedon in 148 BC and destroyed the political power of the city.However, its prosperity continued mainly due to the Roman Via Egnatia road which passed near the city.In the 6th and 7th centuries, the region around Bitola experienced a demographic shift as more and more Slavic tribes settled in the area.In place of the deserted theater, several houses were built during that time.