The ancient town of Ohrid in Northern Macedonia is one of the oldest in Europe, Ohrid and its eponymous lake are UNESCO Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites, renowned for their exquisite beauty. At just about every turn, there are sweeping views over medieval cobble stoned streets to the translucent waters below.
But Orhid is also known for its wealth of historical monuments Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman roots and a scholarly legacy (the first Slavic university was established here in the 9th century by Saints Kliment and Naum) and there are hundreds of other churches that once dotted the hillsides, supposedly one for every day of the year. There is also a Hellenistic theatre (200 BC), archaeology from the early Christian period (4th – 6th century), numerous Byzantine monuments with more than 2,500 square metres of frescoes, Bulgarian Emperor’s Samuil’s fortress (10th century), one of the world’s most important collections of icons with more than 800 artefacts, and fine architectural remnants from the Ottoman period.
All these great monuments were soaring buildings of their day, structures that involved immense building expertise and expense. But they have stood the test of time and as the city reinvents itself, their permanence is a reassuring reminder that while this city has changed hands more times than one can count, its beauty and its culture endure. Ohrid is a veritable visual and cultural feast and probably one the few ‘undiscovered’ gems remaining in Europe today.
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