Ohrid is a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia. It has about 42,000 inhabitants, making it the seventh largest city in the country. The city is the seat of Ohrid Municipality. Ohrid is notable for having once had 365 churches, one for each day of the year and has been referred to as a "Jerusalem (of the Balkans)".
The city is rich in picturesque houses and monuments, and tourism is predominant. It is located southwest of Skopje, west of Resen and Bitola, close to the border with Albania. In 1979 and in 1980, Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were accepted as a Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In fact, Ohrid is one of only 28 sites that are part of UNESCO's World Heritage that are both Cultural and Natural sites.
Ohrid is located in the south-western part of Macedonia, on the banks of Lake Ohrid, at an elevation of 690 meters above sea level.
The earliest inhabitants of the widest Lake Ohrid region were tribes of Illyrian origin, the Dassaretae and Encheleans. According to recent excavations by Macedonian archaeologists it was a town way back at the time of king Phillip II of Macedon. They allege that Samuil's Fortress was built on the place of an earlier fortification, dated to 4th century B.C.
The South Slavs began to arrive in the area during the 6th century AD. Until the early 7th century it was colonized by the tribe of Berziti. The Bulgars conquered the city in 867. The name Ohrid first appeared in 879. Between 990 and 1015, Ohrid was the capital and stronghold of the Bulgarian Empire. From 990 to 1018 Ohrid was also the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. After the Byzantine reconquest of the city in 1018 by Basil II, the Bulgarian Patriarchate was downgraded to an Archbishopric and placed under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
The Christian population declined during the first centuries of Ottoman rule. In 1664 there were only 142 Christian houses. The situation changed in the 18th century when Ohrid emerged as an important trade center on a major trade route. At the end of this century it had around five thousand inhabitants.
There is a legend supported by observations by Ottoman traveler from 17th century Evliya Çelebi that there were 365 chapels within the town boundaries, one for every day of the year. Today this number is significantly smaller.
Church of St. Sophia
Church of St. Panteleimon
Church of St. John at Kaneo
Church of St. Clement
Church of St. George
Church of St. Zaum
Monastery of St. Naum
Church of St. Petka
Church of St. Stefan
Vestiges of basilicas from the early-Christian time, e.g. Basilica of St. Erazmo (4th century)