Ohrid - Ancient City In Macedonia

The Eastern Orthodox Church of Saint Clement and Saint Panteleimon monastery in Ohrid, Macedonia
The Eastern Orthodox Church of Saint Clement and Saint Panteleimon monastery in Ohrid, Macedonia

5. Description and History

Ohrid was an ancient city that is now the modern capital city of the Ohrid Municipality in the country of Macedonia. Ohrid is currently the eight largest city in Macedonia in terms of population. Ohrid has been one of the most continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a history that starts with an ancient Greek tribe, the Dassaretae and the Enchelei, who were an lllyrian tribe. One of the earliest known fortification's was found since an excavation of Samuil's fortress when it was discovered it was built on top of an earlier fortress that dated to the 4th Century B.C. at the time of the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon (880-146). The cities ancient name is Lychnidos, which is what it was called by the ancient Greeks and the Romans after they conquered Macedonia and Greece in 146 B.C.

There is evidence that archaeologists have found that the city was an early adopter of Christianity, and bishops from Lychniods took part in some of their ecumenical councils here. In the early 7th Century, the city was colonized by the Berzti, a Slavic tribe, but in 867 the Bulgars conquered the city and it became part of the Bulgarian Empire (681-1018). The city's current name of Ohrid is known to have appeared for the first time shortly afterwords in 879. The city was the capital of the Bulgarian Empire from 990 to 1015 until the Byzantine Empire (330-1453) reconquered the city. The Byzantines had a grip on the city for the most part until the 13th and 14th Centuries when the city switched hands between the Byzantines, the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396/1422), the Serbian Empire (1346-71), the Despotate of Epirus (1205-1479) and various local Albanian rulers until the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923) captured it in 1395. The city remained under control of the Ottoman Empire until 1912 when the Kingdom of Serbia (1882-1918) took the city. During World War 1 (1914-18), the Kingdom of Bulgaria (1908-46) took the city from Serbia and occupied it from 1915 until the end of the war. During the interwar years Ohrid was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918-45) and during World War II (1939-45) the city was once again occupied by Bulgaria from 1941 until 1944. Following World War II the city was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1945-92) until Macedonia broke off from Yugoslavia and declared independence in 1991.

4. Tourism

The city of Ohrid is home to many ancient churches. These were mostly built by the Bulgarian and Byzantine Empires and are many centuries old. The city is also home to the Monastery of Saint Naum which was built in 905 and has also doubled as a Greek school since the 16th Century. The city is also home to a religious icon gallery, which houses some of the world's most important and significant Byzantine art. The city also houses ancient basilicas, including the Saint Erasmus basilica which houses graves that date back to the 6th Century. The Robevi family house, which was built in 1824 is a historic building in the city that also houses a small museum of archaeology. Samuel's Fortress which was built at the end of the 10th Century by Emperor Samuel of Bulgaria (who died in 1014), and is a major tourist attraction. The city also houses the Vila Biljana, which is a complex of state villas which houses the president and prime minister of Macedonia, among others. The Ancient Theater of Ohrid, which was built in 200 BC is also located in the city, and is the only Hellenistic period theater located in what is now the nation of Macedonia.

3. Uniqueness

Due to its history and the presence of so many historical monuments and structures, in 1979 Ohrid was designated as a Cultural World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNECSO). A year later, Lake Ohrid was also made a Natural World Heritage Site. This make the city of Ohrid one of only 28 places in the world that are both a Cultural and Natural UNESCO World Heritage site. The city of Ohrid is also unique in that it is the home to two patron saints of the Catholic Church, Saint Naum (ca.830-910) and Saint Clement of Ohrid (830-40 to 916). Both men are considered to be one of the seven Apostles of the First Bulgarian Empire and are associated with the creation of the Cyrillic script and the Glagolitic alphabet.

2. Natural Surroundings, Sights, and Sounds

The city is home to the GFK Ohrid Lihnidos men's football club, which plays in the fourth tier of the Macedonian Football League, and the ŽFK Biljanini Izvori women's football club, which plays in the women's premier league of the Macedonian Football League. Both team play in the SRC Biljanini Izvori stadium, which also hosts various musical concerts from time to time. Since 1992 the city has also been home to a international open water swimming competition, the Ohrid Swimming Marathon, which takes place in Ohrid Lake. Speaking of Ohrid Lake it is one of the deepest lakes in all of Europe and is home to more then 200 different endemic species in its waters. Due to the lake's pristine environment, as well as the historic sites around the area, the lake is a prime destination for tourists to take in the beautiful scenery of the area. The city is also home to several music, theater and dance festivals in July and August, such as the Ohrid Summer Festival, Ohrid Choir Festival, the Balkan Festival of Folk Songs and Dances, the Balkan Music Square Festival and Ohrid Fest.

1. Threats and Conservation Efforts

The city of Ohrid spends a great deal of time and effort dealing with the conservation and restoration necessary for the upkeep of the large array of ancient buildings, monuments, and artwork that the city houses. It does so along with protecting the many endemic and unique species of plants and animals that reside in and around Lake Ohrid. Some of the major threats that could threaten these wonders are an increasing population, pollution, tourism pressures, uncoordinated urban development, and a lack of adequate funding to repair monuments and buildings.


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