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Old Bazaar

Old Bazaar

The Old Bazaar in Skopje is the largest bazaar in the Balkans outside Istanbul. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Vardar River, stretching from the Stone Bridge to the Bit-Pazar and the Skopje Fortress, and is a protected national landmark.

The earliest known sources that describe the existence of a merchant quarter on the bazaar's territory date back to the 12th century. During Ottoman rule of Skopje, the Old Bazaar developed rapidly to become city's main centre of commerce. The Ottoman history of the bazaar is evidenced by roughly thirty mosques, numerous caravanserais and hans, among other buildings and monuments.

Ottoman architecture is predominant in the Old Bazaar, although remains of Byzantine architecture are evident as well, while recent reconstructions have led to the application of elements specific to modern architecture. Many of the historic buildings of the bazaar have been transformed into museums and galleries. It is, however, still home to several active mosques, türbes, two churches and a clock tower, that, together with the buildings of the Museum of Macedonia and the Museum of Modern Art, form the core of the modern bazaar.