Bitola known also by several alternative names) is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the Medžitlija-Níki border crossing with Greece. It is an important junction connecting the south of the Adriatic Sea with the Aegean Sea and Central Europe. It has been known since the Ottoman period as "the city of the consuls", since many European countries have consulates in Bitola. According to some sources, Bitola is the second or thirdlargest town in the country, competing with Kumanovo. Bitola is also the seat of the Bitola Municipality.
According to Adrian Room, the name Bitola is derived from the old Slavic word Obitel (monastery or abode), since the city was formerly noted for its monastery. When the meaning of the name was no longer understood, it lost its prefix "o". The name Bitola is mentioned in the Bitola inscription, related to the old city fortress built in 1015. Modern Slavic variants include the Macedonian Bitola (Битола), the Serbian Bitolj (Битољ) and Bulgarian Bitolya (Битоля). In Byzantine times, the name was hellenized to Voutélion (Βουτέλιον) or Vitólia (Βιτώλια), hence the names Butella by William of Tyre, Butili by the Arab geographer al-Idrisi. The Aromanian name Bituli is also derived from the Slavic name.
Bitola is located in the southwestern part of Macedonia. The Dragor River flows through the city. Bitola lies at an elevation of 615 meters above sea level, at the foot of Baba Mountain. Its magnificent Pelister mountain (2601 m) is a national park with exquisite flora and fauna, among which the rarest species of pine, known as Macedonian pine or pinus peuce, as well as a well-known ski resort.