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OHRID - Jerusalem of the Balkans

Ohrid is known as the Jerusalem of the Balkans. A city with 365 churches in the XIX Century and more than 50 active churches today, Ohrid is built on the shores of one of the world’s most phenomenal natural beauties - Ohrid Lake.

Its archaeological museum hosts ethnological exhibitions and artefacts including a statue of the Goddess Isis.
Known as cultural, art and educational center its roots date from the XIV Century BC, in the area known as Desaretia. Originally known as Lichnidos (the City of light), the city was fought over by Romans, Ostrogots, Crusaders, and Byzantines, and many others.

In the IX and X Century AD Ohrid becomes a center of Slavic literacy, when St. Kliment of Ohrid organizes the First Panslavic University in Europe and creates the Cyrillic Alphabet. By the end of the X and beginning of the XI Century, Ohrid is the center of Samuel’s Empire. As an important Christian centre, it became a place where new styles of fresco and icon painting were found. The first Renaissance elements appeared in 1295, as well as sacred architecture (St. Kliment, St. Sofia, St. Jovan of Kaneo, etc.). In medieval times it was the Seat of Ohrid Archbishopric.

The lapidarium and cathedral church St. Sofia (Holy Wisdom, XI Century) and the Ancient Theatre (II Century BC), the gallery of Icons and the church of the Holy Mother of God Beautiful (St. Mary Perivleptos, XIII Century) all attest to Ohrid’s importance as a religious centre.

From its ancient walls, the Samuil fortress has a fantastic view of Ohrid Lake. Then descending to the Plaosnik (a crossroads of civilizations at the Ohrid hill), is the burial place of St. Kliment and the newly reconstructed church of St. Pantelejmon.

The Early Christian polyconchal basilica (V Century AD) with its breath-taking mosaics, and the Church of St. Jovan Kaneo (XIII Century),are additional reminders of Ohrid’s importance as a religious centre.


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