WHS: Heritage Of The Ohrid Region, Macedonia

From Berat in Albania, we drove into Macedonia around the northern edge of Lake Ohrid and down to the resort town of Ohrid itself, which is an excellent way to enjoy the scenery of today’s featured World Heritage Site:

Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region

St. Sophia, Ohrid, Macedonia


The Lake Ohrid region, a mixed World Heritage property covering 83,350 ha, was inscribed for its natural values in 1979 and for its cultural values a year later. Lake Ohrid is a superlative natural phenomenon, providing refuge for numerous endemic and relict freshwater species of flora and fauna dating from the tertiary period. As a deep and ancient lake of tectonic origin, Lake Ohrid has existed continuously for approximately two to three million years. Its oligotrophic waters conserve over 200 species of plants and animals unique to the lake, including algae, turbellarian flatworms, snails, crustaceans and 17 endemic species of fish including two species of trout, as well as a rich birdlife.

Situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mostly between the 7th and 19th centuries, Ohrid is home to the oldest Slav monastery (dedicated to St. Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons of worldwide fame dating from the 11th century to the end of the 14th century. Ohrid’s architecture represents the best preserved and most complete ensemble of ancient urban architecture of this part of Europe. Slav culture spread from Ohrid to other parts of Europe. Seven basilicas have thus far been discovered in archaeological excavations in the old part of Ohrid. These basilicas were built during the 4th, 5th and beginning of the 6th centuries and contain architectural and decorative characteristics that indisputably point to a strong ascent and glory of Lychnidos, the former name of the town. The structure of the city nucleus is also enriched by a large number of archaeological sites, with an emphasis on early Christian basilicas, which are also known for their mosaic floors…

This side of the picture is in Macedonia, and the other side of the lake is in Albania which has an extension to this property on its Tentative List as well.

The church in the foreground is Saint Sophia which has just celebrated 1000 years of being a church, and then a mosque, and then a church again — of the many many churches and basilicas in Ohrid, we’d put that one second on the list to visit…

… but only because we agree with TripAdvisor that St. Jovan Kaneo, the Church of St. John The Theologian, is definitely the #1 place to visit in Ohrid for your Instas:

St. Jovan Kaneo, Ohrid, Macedonia

Naturally we were there on an overcast day so the lighting is pedestrian at best, but on sunny days or even better summer sunsets, this church out on the headlands is definitely the spot for some glorious photography.

St. Jovan Kaneo, Ohrid, Macedonia


p dir=”ltr”>
Lake Ohrid is the major resort destination in Macedonia, so if you’re going to Macedonia at all there’s a pretty good likelihood you’ll be planning to visit here anyways, and we definitely encourage you to add a little extra to check out the history!

About Author


I go places.

Leave a Reply