This is not a story,
But a reality, an eternal one, and one which so far no one has managed to retell. Probably no one hasn’t even tried. There are several places in this world which simply cannot be retold. When standing in front of their monuments, the remains of the civilization of old, and the temples where you forget your identity, the only thing your intellect allows you is respect and contemplation, thinking of the things that are yet to be discovered and explored. Here in Ohrid the smartest and the wisest and the most powerful people throughout the centuries had only one goal – to leave at least their mark. Ohrid simply couldn’t be conquered, but it would immediately become the seat of the most powerful men and it would continue to live its life where the conqueror entering the city wouldn’t charge in, but bow to the city.
The shores of Lake Ohrid have been inhabited since prehistoric times. Archaeological findings speak of settlements form the Neolithic period (the early Stone Age) 6.000 years B.C. A Neolithic settlements rich in archaeological material have been discovered dating from this period in the level part of Ohrid in its northern suburb of Dolno Trnovo.The archeological excavations dating May 2006 (by the archeologist Pasko Kuzman) certify that there were prehistoric pile dwellings on the lake coast in the center of Ohrid. According to the archeological excavations of a pile dwelling discovered between the tourist school and the ‘Ohridati’ settlement, and according to the archeologist Pasko Kuzman, this prahistoric settlement existed 5000 years B.C., implying that it is as ancient as 7000 years. According to historical sources, the earliest known inhabitants of the Ohrid Lake region were Brigians and Ohrygians and Enhelians, the latter dominating for a long time. They, according to Herodotus and Apollodorus, were not Illyrians but were their closest neighbours. Later on are mentioned Desaretes in this area and of the town of Lychinidos as the capital of Desaretia.
Archaeological explorations of the site Suva Chesma (necropolis Trebenishta) near the village Gorenci, Ohrid, 1953/1954 (archaeologists: Vasil Lahtov from the National Museum – Ohrid and Joze Kastelic from Ljubljana, Slovenia). Searching for valuable golden and bronze archaeological finds (golden masks, gloves, bronze craters etc, matching those discovered by the Bulgarians in 1918 and those discovered by the Serbs in the period between 1930 and 1934. This time 23 so-called poor graves were discovered with modest grave goods, but still with archaeological importance: bronze double needles, bronze arched fibulae, bronze bracelets etc. The necropolis Trebenihsta dates from the 7th – 4th c. B.C., with emphasis on the 6th – 5th c. B.C. (the period when the golden masks and the other valuable finds were discovered).
Archaeological explorations of the site Trebenishko Kale (east of the village Trebenishta) 1953/1954 (archaeologist Vasil Lahtov). Graves from the Macedonian-Hellenic necropolis have been discovered with the following goods: golden earrings – “golabici”, golden earrings with Negroid heads, ceramic dishes etc. These finds date from the period between 3rd and 2nd c. B.C.
Archaeological excavations of the site Crvenica – Prentov Most near the village Openica (15 km on the northeast of Ohrid) 1957 – 1959 (archaeologist Vasil Lahtov). Macedonian-Hellenic necropolis (3rd – 2nd c. B.C.) and early medieval necropolis (11th – 12th c.) Finds from the Macedonian-Hellenic period: golden earrings with Negroid heads, pendants etc.
The people of the Ohrid possess a special artistic spirit, and numerous crafts have been practised here for centuries. Today these traditional skills are still performed in much the original manner.
Woodcarving dates back to the 13th century. Despite the absence of a formal school at present, master woodcarvers are still working and passing their skills to young apprentices.
In their shops in Ohrid and Struga, you can watch the masters creating beautiful works of filigree jewellery. In Resen you can observe potters using traditional methods, such as the spinning wheel. You can also visit the workshops of coppersmiths and shoemakers and watch how their skillful hands shape their products.
The world renown Ohrid pearl is created from the scales of the little fish "Plasica". The methods are secret family traditions passed down from one generation to another. Ohrid pearl necklaces, earrings, and broaches are popular souvenirs.
You may also visit the studios of contemporary artists, who in parallel to the traditional arts, add to the already rich artistic expression of the region. For additional information please contact our travel agent.
We would like to draw your attention to one of Macedonian's greatest truths, the truth of Ohrid, an immortal town, a magical hill whose primordial pulsation links ancient and modern times forever. Ohrid has been a living town for two thousand and four hundred years. It is the legitimate descendant of the shining Lychida, a town whose achievements were woven into the tapestry of a powerful ancient civilization.
The town of Ohrid is indeed the cultural history of the Republic of Macedonia in miniature. As an Episcopal center in ancient times, and likewise through the widely renowned Ohrid archbishopric, the town has likewise through the centuries represented the entire ecclesiastical history of Macedonia. It bears the name "The Balkan Jerusalem". Trough the activity of St. Clement of Ohrid, the first pan - Slavonic university in Europe was situated here.
Ohrid was the most important official capital of the first Slav Macedonian state, of Samuel's empire. And Ohrid was the center of Macedonia's nineteenth century revival.
Today Ohrid is a cultural, spiritual and tourist center of Macedonia. And finally, as the crowning glory of its values, Ohrid and Lake Ohrid have been named a world cultural and natural heritage listed city under the protection of UNESCO since 1980.
From prehistoric and classical times (when Ohrid was known as Lychnidos, the 'City of Light'), the Lake Ohrid region has been an important centre of culture and learning. The land itself with its tranquil deep and ancient lake and scenic mountainscapes provides a glorious backdrop for Ohrid's breathtaking array of religious and secular works of art and architecture. The major centre of southern Slav learning was established here in the 10th century, and since that time countless frescos, mosaics, and icons have been created. Over the centuries an enormous and colourful heritage of beautiful architecture, magnificent artefacts, culture, crafts and traditions has evolved. Combined with its scenic lake and mountainscape, interesting town and village architecture, climate, local hospitality, and delicious fresh food, a visit to the Ohrid area will prove deeply rewarding.
A stroll around the old town,"'Varos", and port is a great delight. You can see the colourful market, walk down cobblestone lanes past small shops and boutiques to the quayside for superb views of the lake and mountains, up to the fortress past ancient houses to an even more sensational panoramic view, or along the lakeside to Kaneo where the church of St. John juts out into the lake in one of the most romantic settings imaginable.
Ohrid's surroundings are just as fascinating. Take a boat trip to the monastery of St. Naum, and see the magical springs of the Black Drim River as they flow into the lake. Hike through the mountains to visit an ancient cave church or a traditional village like Velestovo or Elshani where time seems to have stood still for centuries. Wherever you go, you will notice the clarity of the light, the purity of the air, and the warmth of the hospitality.