Ohrid, the Balkan Jerusalem
There is a legend saying that Ohrid has 365 churches and monasteries — each day of the year you can visit a new one and admire its beauty. I have not checked if the legend is really true, but I know it justifies the nickname Ohrid has — the Balkan Jerusalem.
Located on the banks of the divine Ohrid Lake, the small city of Ohrid finds its place under the glorious mountains surrounding the area. It’s a small-scale city with less than 50,000 inhabitants, but thousands of travelers and tourists from all over the world roam the steep and narrow streets all year round.
It’s a perfect place for a family vacation as there is no big-city noise or crowds, only fresh air and nature with many opportunities for adventure and activities.
One of the favourite spots to visit is surely Samuil’s Fortress, which crowns modern-day Ohrid. Archeological research says that the fortress dates back to the 4th century BC, during the time when this was the capital of Samuil’s empire. From the 3-kilometer-long walls of the fortress, a splendid view overlooks Ohrid’s city and lake, all with surrounding mountain peaks.
The main reason why many love to visit this small city is of course its eponymous lake. It is the largest natural lake in the Balkans and one of the oldest lakes in Europe. It is considered to be 4 million years old, and is home to some unique endemic species that have gone extinct in other regions of the world, but which flourish in this natural reservoir.
The main attraction of the lake is the St. Jovan at Kaneo Church, the only church in this region built with Armenian influence. It is believed to have been the main church of a monastery which was destroyed by the Ottomans.
Because of its unique natural and cultural characteristics, the city of Ohrid and its lake have been declared a World Heritage Site under the protection of UNESCO.
And one final word — Ohrid pearls are a most representative souvenir and gift from the region, so stock up on those!
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This story was originally published on www.easternchronicles.com.
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