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5. Macedonia 1

Church St. John Kaneo

   Ohrid is located in the south west part of Macedonia, on the shores of the Ohrid Lake, one of the oldest lakes in the world, on an elevation of 695m, above the sea level. The city has around 50.000 inhabitants and the majority are Christian Orthodox. In the antiquity known as Lychnidos, or “The City of Light”, Ohrid is a never ending story that has begun in the prehistory and lasts through many periods up to the present.


Tzar Samoil fortress

Many civilizations left their traces on the soil of this magnificent city. After the Slavic colonization, the city will get Slavic features and today, the official name of the city derives from the Slavic words “vo hrid”, meaning “on a hill”, since the old town of Ohrid stands on a hill. Ohrid is the center of spiritual culture, the city of 365 churches, it is our Jerusalem on the Balkans, the leading center of Slavic cultural and literary activity whose patron is St Clement, the creator of the Cyrillic alphabet who founded the first Slavic University in the 9th century. Today, Ohrid is a major tourist center in the Republic of Macedonia. Due to the universal, cultural, historical and natural value and significance, the city in 1980 and the Ohrid Lake in 1979 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 cultural as well as natural sites.


Museum on water on the shores of Ohrid lake


Ohrid Lake is one of the most important natural aquariums in the world. It was formed some 4 milion years ago, which makes it one of the oldest tectonic lakes in the world, along with Baikal in Russia, Tanganyka in Africa and Titicaca in South Amerika. The lake succeeded to preserve unique and endemic flora and fauna and as one of the rare preserved ancient lakes in Europe will receive the epithet “natural museum of living fossils”. It is located in the southwestern part of Macedonia on an altitude of 695meters above the sea level, surrounded by mountains over 2000 meters high. The lake is having a surface of 358 square kilometers and two-thirds of the lake surface area belongs to Macedonia and one-third to Albania. Ohrid Lake is the deepest lake on the Balkan Peninsula and the maximum depth was 286m but recently was discovered a point which is 310m below surface. It has a crystal clean water and during the sunny days is transparent even to the depth of 23m. Due to its depth, the lake never freezes even in winter when the temperature is minus zero. The lake counts 17 kinds of fish. The most familiar and the most commercial are the endemic Ohrid trout, the eel , the carp and the especially interesting small fish called “plashica”, whose scales are used for making a special emulsion during the process of making the famous Ohrid pearl by the two


The Ohrid pearl

families who know the secret. In the flora mainly dominate different species of algae and tall plants. The lake gets most of the water from the neighboring Prespa Lake, which is on higher altitude for 150m. The water sink beneath the karst massif of the Galichica Mountain and appears in the lake through the springs near St Naum. This area is protected by the National Park of Galichica and the visitors can discover the rare beauty and this Paradise on the Earth by the small rowing boats that will take you to the springs. Exploring the 87km shoreline of the Lake, the beautiful landscape, the undiscovered secrets and mysteries of the lake waters, the spectacular cave churches, the opportunities to swim, dive, sail or just enjoy, is something you must do. Due to all these natural values, Ohrid Lake was listed among the UNECO’s World Heritage List in 1979. The importance of the lake was emphasized when NASA decided to name one of the Titan’s lakes after Lake of Ohrid.

National park Galichica

National park Galithica