Ohrid – “Jerusalem” of the Balkans

Ohrid is a city settled in the Republic of Macedonia. It is the largest city on Lake Ohrid (42,033), settled in its northeast coast and the eighth-largest city in the country. There is a very interesting fact related to this city.  Ohrid once had 365 churches, one church for each day of the year (it was called Jerusalem of the Balkans).

The city is known for its vivid houses and monuments, and tourism is predominant. It is located southwest of Skopje (the capital of the country). In 1979 and in 1980, Ohrid city and Lake Ohrid were accepted as Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Ohrid is one of only 28 sites that are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage that are, at the same time, cultural and natural sites.

History of Ohrid

It’s being mentioned in the third century BC for the first time (under the name Lihnidos). It was the center of Christianity spread among Slovenian people in the ninth century. The history of Ohrid is very turbulent. It was a very rich and above all very important city for spreading religion and development of literacy for this part of Europe. It was invaded many times by different conquerors throughout the history. In the 18th century it was a very important emporium. The city of Ohrid has always been one very important part of this part of the world.

Sights

There is a story that this town once had 365 churches inside its borders (The story was supported by spectators in the seventeenth century). There was a church for every day of the year. Today, this number is not so big but there are still many churches in the city.

Some of them are Church of St. Sophia, then Church of St Panteleimon, Church of St. Clement, and many others. One great thing to visit is Icon Gallery in Ohrid, then Monastery of St. Naum, Church of St. Petka, Church of St. Stefan, etc. Traces of the early Christian period basilicas can be seen in some parts (Basilica of St. Erazmo, 4th century). Ancient theater of Ohrid is also one of the places you shouldn’t miss out once you visit Ohrid. In Church of St. Vraci you will see frescoes from the 14th century. Then, inevitable museum of Archeology-Robevi family house should be seen as well as many other places.

The architecture is a mixture of Christian churches and impressive Ottoman houses.

Ohrid wasn’t only a holy center of the region, but also the source of knowledge and pan-Slavic literacy. The restored Monastery at Plaoshnik was actually one of the oldest Universities in the western world (before the 10th century).

Sports and Fun

If you are a fan of football, GFK Ohrid Lihnidos is a football team from this city. You can visit their stadium called SRC Biljanini Izvori.

The Ohrid Swimming Marathon is an international swimming competition. It always takes place in the waters of Lake Ohrid. The swimmers are supposed to swim 30 km from the monastery of St.Naum to the Ohrid harbor.

From July to August you can enjoy Ohrid Summer Festival, festival of theater and music. At the end of August there is an Ohrid Choir Festival, an international festival. At the beginning of July The Balkan Festival of Folk Songs and Dances is being held. All these events are held annually. Then you can visit and enjoy ethnic music festival- Balkan music square festival. In Ohrid it’s all about music. Every year musicians from all parts of Balkan Peninsula come here to enjoy and celebrate music.

Travel gudie

Bus

If you whant to go with a bus you have a many lines between Ohrid and Skopje. Price for one way ticket is 8 EUR.

Plane – St Paul the Apostle (IATA: OHD)

Because it is a small airport and it sees at most a few flights per day check with your airline for most current information.

Train

Unfortunately there is no train line to the city.

Taxi

Price for one way is approximately 80 EUR (4920 denars), but make sure to agree on a price before you get in the taxi.

Lake Ohrid

Lake Ohrid is settled in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia and eastern part of Albania. It is one of the biggest lakes in Europe (358 km²) and also one of the deepest (289 m) and the oldest. When we mention the city of Ohrid we have to mention Lake Ohrid as well. This lake represents the merge of history and beauty. It is very important in preserving different species and that’s why it’s under the protection of UNESCO. If you come to Ohrid, try not to miss out the Lake and enjoy its beauty.

Lake Ohrid

Cuisine

Ohrid has got such a great food that I wouldn’t even know where to start. You can forget about fast food here because it would be a complete nonsense to eat it and to skip all the delicious and tasty traditional meals.

Gjomleze is a traditional pie you shouldn’t by all means skip. It’s a pie made of baked crusts with the addition of cheese or something else (originally, it’s only made of flour, water and salt, all other ingredients are actually modification of gjomleze). It’s baked in a special way in an open fire. You can buy this on the street and in the restaurant. This is a real specialty in Ohrid.

Stew with bamia, (a vegetable plant similar to pepper that is very healthy because it improves the immune system and helps in regulating sugar level in organism), the so called turlitava, is great. Turlitava is a meal made of pork, beef, eggplant, onion, carrots, garlic, potato, bamia and different spices.

Different pies, salads, cheese and garlic grease, are just some of the dish you’ll enjoy in Ohrid.

Since there is a lake nearby, different fish specialties are very popular. They are prepared in a specificl, Ohrid manner and are inevitable part of domestic dairy here.

No matter what you choose to eat in Ohrid you will most certainly enjoy.

This is a place of rich culture, good food and music. If you don’t know how to set a perfect holiday, come to Ohrid, you won’t slip up.

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