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Ohrid's Old Town | Ohrid, Macedonia

10017 Views 39 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  RuGeTo
Ohrid's old town is the real highlight of Macedonia, an area of steep cobblestone streets, old houses, churches, gardens, fortresses and roman amphitheaters, all excellently preserved and open for you to explore. It is one of those amazing towns that, besides a few cars here and there, seems to exist almost outside of time and truly requires a full day to explore. During my first jaunt into the old town, I just did a quick tour and thought I had seen it all, but then I returned and just let myself wander. I ended up spending the whole day walking around and was amply rewarded with solitary churches, mosaics, and a bit of coffee with a couple of old Macedonian men.If you like churches, Ohrid's old town has plenty, but there are a couple not to be missed. The Church of St. Sophia, has immaculately preserved frescoes from the 11th century. St. Clement's Church is worth a stop due to its unique fresco of the Last Supper that features Jesus and the disciples eating outside in contrast to traditional depiction. You could spend days examining Ohrid's churches, but when you get right down to it, there is only one you need to see, and that is the Church of St. Jovan. While the church itself, dating back to the 13th century, is not terribly spectacular, its magnificent location is, to be cliche, breathtaking. Built on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the shores of Lake Ohrid, St. Jovan's location couldn't be anymore perfect. With spectacular views out over the lake and towards the mountains of Albania, it's no wonder the Macedonians chose this as a spot to celebrate God, because if there was ever a sight to make you believe in an all-powerful being, this might be it. If you can't make it to Macedonia just yet, rent the film Before The Rain (the only film you ever need to watch about Macedonia), and you'll get a few good glimpses.Moving up the hill from St. Jovan, back into the surrounding woods, you will eventually stumble upon the ruins of Plaosnik, an early Christian basilica featuring lovely mosaics. Continuing on, along a path further into the woods, you will find Tsar Samoil's Fortress, which dates from the 10th century. While the inside of the fort is nothing too spectacular, the 3km long walls are, and you can walk the length of most of it. The wall walk provides the best views available of the town of Ohrid and the surrounding area. On a sunny day, the green mountains and the sparkle of Lake Ohrid are magnificent.Heading back into the old town the best thing to do is just wander, check out the unique architecture, have a cup of coffee, chat up some Macedonians who will most likely be puzzled by your presence and just waste away the day. The few museums available have limited English and might not be of great interest, but the city itself is better than any museum.

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