Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region World Heritage Site
Patrimoine naturel et culturel de la région d’Ohrid, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic Of
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Coordinates: 41°07′01″N 20°48′06″E / 41.11694°N 20.80167°E / 41.11694; 20.80167
Ohrid (Macedonian: Охрид [ˈɔxrit] (listen)) is a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia. It has about 42,000 inhabitants, making it the seventh largest city in the country. The city is the seat of Ohrid Municipality. Ohrid is notable for having once had 365 churches, one for each day of the year and has been referred to as a "Jerusalem". The city is rich in picturesque houses and monuments, and tourism is predominant. It is located southwest of Skopje, west of Resen and Bitola, close to the border with Albania
In 1980, Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were accepted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In Macedonian and the other South Slavic languages, the name of the city is Ohrid (Охрид). In Albanian, the city is known as Ohër or Ohri. Historical names include the Latin Lychnidus or the Greek names Lychnidos (Λύχνιδος), Ochrida (Οχρίδα, Ωχρίδα) and Achrida (Αχρίδα), the latter two of which are still in modern usage.
Ohrid is located in the south-western part of Macedonia, on the banks of Lake Ohrid, at an elevation of 690 meters above sea level.
The earliest inhabitants of the widest Lake Ohrid region were the Bryges and Encheleans. During the Roman conquests, towards the end of 3rd and the beginning of 2nd century BC, the Greek Dassaretae and the region Dassaretia were mentioned, as well as the town of Lychnidos. The existence of the ancient town of Lychnidos is linked to the Greek myth of the Phoenician prince Cadmus who, banished from Thebes, in Boetia, fled to the Enchelei and founded the town of Lychnidos on the shores of Lake Ohrid.
The Lake of Ohrid, the ancient Lacus Lychnitis, whose blue and exceedingly transparent waters in remote antiquity gave to the lake its Greek name; it was still called so occasionally in the Middle Ages. It was located along the Via Egnatia, which connected the Adriatic port Dyrrachion (present-day Durrës) with Byzantium. According to recent excavations by Macedonian archaeologists it was a town way back at the time of king Phillip II of Macedon. They allege that Samuil's Fortress was built on the place of an earlier fortification, dated to 4th century B.C. Archaeological excavations (e.g., the Polyconch Basilica from 5th century) prove early adoption of Christianity in the area. Bishops from Lychnidos participated in multiple ecumenical councils.
South Slavs were organized in smaller feudal states as of the 6th century. The South Slavic areas were called Sclaviniae, and were from times independent from the Byzantine Empire. The "Sclaviniae of Macedonia" (Sclavenias penes Macedoniam) was conquered in 785 by Constantine VI (r. 776–797).
The Bulgars conquered the city in 867. The name Ohrid first appeared in 879. Between 990 and 1015, Ohrid was the capital and stronghold of the Bulgarian Empire. From 990 to 1018 Ohrid was also the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. After the Byzantine conquest of the city in 1018, the Bulgarian Patriarchate was downgraded to an Archbishopric and placed under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
The higher clergy after 1018 was almost invariably Greek, including during the period of Ottoman domination, until the abolition of the archbishopric in 1767. At the beginning of the 16th century the archbishopric reached its peak subordinating the Sofia, Vidin, Vlach and Moldavian eparchies, part of the former Serbian Orthodox Peć Patriarchate (including Peć itself), and even the Orthodox districts of Italy (Apulia, Calabria and Sicily), Venice and Dalmatia.
As an episcopal city, Ohrid was an important cultural center. Almost all surviving churches were built by the Byzantines and by the Bulgarians, the rest of them date back to the short time of Serbian rule during the late Middle Ages.
In the middle of the 13th century Ohrid was one of the cities ruled by Paul Gropa, a member of the Albania noble Gropa family. The city was under the rule of the short-lived Principality of Prilep of Prince Marko (r. 1371 - 1395), a successor state of the Serbian Empire (1346–1371) where the father of , Župan Vukašin Mrnjavčević (co-ruler of King Stefan Uroš V) held the region. The principality and region came under Ottoman Turkish rule in 1395.
Bohemond and his Norman army took the city in 1083. In the 13th and 14th century the city changed hands between the Despotate of Epirus, the Bulgarian, the Byzantine and the Serbian Empires. At the end of the 14th century it was conquered by the Ottomans and remained under them until 1912. The Christian population declined during the first centuries of Ottoman rule. In 1664 there were only 142 Christian houses. The situation improved in the 18th century when Ohrid emerged as an important trade center on a major trade route. At the end of this century it had around five thousand inhabitants. Towards the end of the 18th century and in the early part of the 19th century, Ohrid region, like other parts of European Turkey, was a hotbed of unrest. In the 19th century the region of Ohrid became part of the Pashalik of Shkodra, ruled by the Bushati family. By the end of 19th century Ohrid had 2409 houses with 11900 inhabitants out of which 45% were Muslim while the rest was mainly Orthodox Christian. Before 1912, Ohrid (Ohri) was a township center bounded to Monastir sanjak in Monastir province (present-day Bitola).
There is a legend supported by observations by Ottoman traveler from 15th century, Evlia Celebia that there were 365 chapels within the town boundaries, one for every day of the year. Today this number is significantly smaller. However during the medieval times, Ohrid was called Slavic Jerusalem.
Besides being a holy center of the region, it is also the source of knowledge and pan-Slavic literacy. The restored Monastery at Plaošnik was actually one of the oldest Universities in the western world, dating before the 10th century.
There is a nearby airport, Ohrid Airport (now known as Apostle Paul Airport) that is open all year round.
Ohrid is twinned with:
View from the Lake
The Church of St. John at Kaneo high above the lake
Church of St. John at Kaneo
Monument of saints Cyril and Methodius
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