Ohrid - The Unesco protected city, the pearl of the Balkans

The city of the immortal Ohrid is the sublime lakeside point that for many represents the culmination of the Macedonian experience, a kingdom of light and water, a repository of ancient ruins from Macedonia’s earlier kingdoms. Ohrid’s major attractions are all located within a remarkably concentrated and eminently walkable area, among and above the narrow streets of the Old Town lined with restaurants and cafés perfectly suited for relaxing in the cool summer evenings. Ohrid’s many café bars and nightclubs also make for a vibrant nightlife. As for the lake itself, it is so large and so deep that one might mistake it for a small sea. Full range of water sports, fishing andboating is available, and numerous churches alongside Ohrid’s lake shores make for fascinating side trips and walks. The wooded ridge above the lake’s eastern shore is largely taken up by the National Park of Galichica, an unspoiled wilderness ideally suitable for nature enthusiasts. The uniqueness of Lake Ohrid and the city’s historical architecture has been attested by UNESCO, honoring it with an official designation as one of the few places on the cultural institution’s list “World Inheritance”.

History and Culture

Archaeological finds indicate that Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in all of Europe. The Lake itself is over three million years old. Ohrid town is first mentioned in Greek documents from 353 B.C, when it was known as Lychnidos or “the city of light.” Only much later in 879 A.D, was it renamed Ohrid. The name probably derives from the Macedonian phrase “Vo Hrid” – roughly meaning “the town on the hill.” Apart from its ancient theater (which is still in use today), the ancient Lychnidos boasted a classical agora, gymnasium, civil basilicas and temples to the Gods of Greek Antiquity. When under Roman rule it developed more of the typical Roman architectural traits, and became an important transit point on the Via Egnatia trade route that bisected the Balkans. The town as we know it today was built mostly between the 7th and the 19th century. During the Byzantine period, Ohrid became a significant cultural and economic center serving as an Episcopal center of the Orthodox Church and as the site of the first Slavic university run by St. Clement and St. Naum at the end of the 9th century. At the beginning of the 11th century, Ohrid briefly became the capital of Macedonia’s greatest medieval ruler, Samuel, whose fortress still presides over the city today. During Ottoman times Ohrid remained the seat of the autocephalous Ohrid archiepiscopacy until 1726. During its Byzantine apogee, the town was renowned for its 365 churches and monasteries. These and a large number of sacral edifices have been preserved and make up a large part of Ohrid’s rich medieval past. Today, one of the city’s museums has a collection of more than 800 Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons, most of which were painted between 11th and 14th century. Art historians consider this collection as one of the most important in the world, along with those of the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow and Mt. Athos in Greece.

Monastery "St. Naum"

As with most Byzantine churches, St. Naum was chosen primarily for its location – on a high, rocky outcropping over the lake, above deep forests and life-giving springs of the river Crn Drim. The monastic complex and church of St. Naum...

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Museum on water "Bay of bones"

Ohrid was enriched with another cultural and historical landmark as well as with a tourist attraction - Museum on Water - an exceptional archaeological complex, which is one of a kind in the region. On the southern coast of Gradiste...

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Church "St. Johan at Kaneo"

One of the most magnificent churches in all of Macedonia stands right above a small fishing settlement, on a cliff rising up from Lake Ohrid; St. Jovan Kaneo is a combination of Byzantine and Armenian...

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Church "St. Sophia"

The church of St. Sofia is one of the largest medieval churches on this territory. For a long time it was the cathedral church ("Great Church") of the Ohrid Archiepiscopate whose ecclesiastical authority covered the territories up...

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Ancient Theatre

The builders of Ohrid’s ancient theater have estimated very precisely where to put the building - in the center of the elevated old town. The open theater holds a perfect location, as the two hills (Gorni Saraj and Deboj) keep it protected from...

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Travel with a bus

If you considering to go with a bus you have a dozen of buses between Ohrid and Skopje.Time travel is 3 hours.Price for one way ticket is 500 denars/8 EUR and two way tickets is 700 denars/ 11.3 EUR.

Time of departure from Skopje: 05:30, 06:00, 08:00,10:00,11:00,13:00,14:00,14:45,15:30,16:00,16:30,18:30,19:30.

Note: If you considering travelling on weekend and holidays please contact the bus station for any changes of the lines.

Travel by train

There is no train line to the city.

Travel with taxi

If you are not comfortable to travel by train or bus, you can always get a taxi.The price for one way is more or less 4920denars /80 EUR.

We recommended:

ABC Logistica
Mob: +389 78 504 500
Tel: +389 2 6143 900

Go with a car or rent a car

If you'd like to explore the land during your travel to you can go with a car or rent a car. Distance between Skopje and Ohrid is 174 km.

For rent a car we recommended:

ABC Logistica
Mob: +389 78 504 500
Tel: +389 2 6143 900

MIDA Rent-a-car
Office 2 (Airport Alexander the Great)
Tel/Fax + 389 22 56 10 10
24 hour service phones
Mob.1: 070 256 433
Mob.2: 071 223 042
Mob.3: 070 366 958