Explore Macedonia's churches and monasteries, a total of 992, featuring 150,000sq.m of fresco paintings, 23,000 icons, 240 iconostases, and other church items carved in wood.
"The phenomenon called Macedonian monasteries is the most expressive synonym of Macedonia, the sound of our blood circulation, because there has yet been no better name to summarize Macedonia than the institution of the monastery," a prominent Macedonian poet has said. The lives of monks and nuns, their prayers, and their exploits are interwoven not only with the Macedonian culture and education, but also with the very soil of this country. One cannot leave Lake Ohrid without a lifelong impression of the unique harmony between the country's nature and spirit. Amen, amen I say to you that man would deify himself and that the creation would be sanctified. This lake had been the cradle of hesychism before Mount Athos developed into heaven on earth and it maintained its bond with this spiritual center of Orthodoxy. This place -- as many others in Macedonia -- bears witness to the continuing efforts for the sanctification of this unique God-given Earth and to the potential of the man within, whom God has made immortal.
With the arrival of educationalists Clement and Naum in Macedonia, Ohrid became a cultural, spiritual, and educational centre not only of Macedonia, but of the entire Slavic world, as well.
St. Sofija Church
This church was built during the time of Archbishop Leo (1037-56). It is a triple-flight basilica church with transept and is a monumental piece of church architecture, beautified with impressive frescoes.
St. Pantelejmon – Imaret Church
Initially built in the 10th century, this church was converted into a mosque later, in the 15th century. The mosque was rebuilt as a church again in the 16th-17th century. The tomb of St. Clement can be found there and it is the tomb that St. Clement designated for himself and where he was buried in 916 AD.
St. Naum Church
The church was built by Naum in the 10th century, but after his death it was dedicated to Ss. Arhangel and Mihail. The church was demolished during the Ottoman rule, but the present church was built upon the old foundations in the 16th century.
St. Bogorodica-Perivleptos/St. Clement Church
The initial church was built in the 10th century, but when the Ottomans came, it was converted into a mosque. During the time of Archbishop Prohor in the 14th century, when the Ohrid Archiepiscopate became financially more powerful, the church was rebuilt and the prominent fresco painters Mihailo and Evtihij were taken on to do the frescoes in the church. The present church abounds with frescoes dating from the 13th-14th century, as well as other church items.
St. Nikola Bolnicki Church
According to an inscription found on the south inner wall, this church was built by an unknown mason in 1313. It is a single-flight church with frescoes dating from 1336-46. The frescoes portray Archbishop Nikola, Serbian King Dusan, and his Queen Elena, as well as their sons Uros, Sava , and Simeon.
St. Bogorodica Bolnicka Church
This church was built right by the old city wall of the Lower Gate, leading to Lake Ohrid. So far, no written historical data about the construction of this church have been found. Still, according to some scientific researches, it is believed to have been built in the 14th century. There are a few layers of fresco painting in the church, indicating it was painted in different periods. Toady, one can see authentic frescoes from the 16th century. The upper layer of fresco paintings, made in 1834, was preserved and can be seen in the premises of the church.
St. Bogorodica Zahumska Church
The church is located at the Zaum site, on the eastern side of Lake Ohrid , in the immediate vicinity of the fishing village of Trpejca. It was dedicated to St. Bogorodica (Holy Mother) Zahumska (from Zaum). According to a preserved inscription found on the western gate, the church was constructed and painted in 1361.
St. Mali Vraci Church
This church is located in close proximity to St. Constantine and Elena in Ohrid. There is no accurate data indicating the exact time of its construction, but according to certain analyses of the fresco paintings, the church supposedly dates from the 14th century. The church was abandoned for a while, so the frescoes suffered partial damage. The present church boasts a large collection of icons dating from the 17th century and later.
St. Bogorodica (Holy Mother) Celnica Church
This church is located southeast of the St. Mali Vraci Church. The exact time of its construction is unknown, but according to research done on the remains of the fresco paintings found on the southern and northern walls, the church was most probably painted in the 14th century. By the end of the 19th century, well-known fresco painter Dico Zografski decorated the church. Kole Momirov also painted some of the frescoes in 1901.
St. Dimitrija Church
This small church is situated next to the exit of the double-rotunda St. Bogorodica-Perivleptos/St. Clement Church on the way leading to the Upper Gate. In architectural terms, the church resembles the other small churches in Ohrid, such as St. Mali Vraci and small St. Clement. According to the preserved fresco paintings, it is certain that this church, as well as these other small churches, date from the 4th century.
St. Bogorodica Kamensko Church
This church was built in the old part of the town around the 17th century. An inscription found on the southern side of the altar indicates that the church became much respected and was expanded in 1832. Well-known icon-painter Dico Zografski from Tresonce village painted the frescoes in 1863. According to an inscription, Stefan Trimce Rekali paid for the carved iconostasis to be gilded in 1867.
St. Erasmus Ohridski Cave Church
Among the numerous cave churches situated around Lake Ohrid , this cave church was readapted into monks' cells and is still used for the same purpose. It is dedicated to Episcope Erasmus. According to its painted portraits, the church dates from the 14th century.
St. Stefan Cave Church
This church is just 4-5km away from the town of Ohrid , located on the hill on the left side of the road to St. Naum. There is no data indicating the precise time of its construction, but its fresco fragments have shown that it probably dates from the 14th century, when the monastic life in Ohrid was quite active.
St. Spas Church -- Leskoec village
This small church, located in Leskoec village, northeast of Ohrid, is dedicated to St. Spas. During the church's renovation, an inscription carved in stone, indicating that the church was built and painted in 1462, was found above the western entry.
All Saints Church -- Lesani village
This single-flight church was made of soft lime in 1452. The church interior is beautifully decorated by an unknown painter, but the artist most probably belonged to a group of talented icon painters who worked in Ohrid and its vicinity in this period.
St. Constantine and Elena Church
Located on a central spot in the old part of the town, this church dates from the 15th century. A recently discovered inscription on the southern entrance of the church indicates that it was built and painted in 1477 and mentions Partenie Jeromonah as a patron.
St. Bogorodica (Holy Mother) Pestanska Church
Secluded in rocks, this church is located 16km away from the town, on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in Pestani village. The exact construction date is unknown. This church is highly respected by the local population, which organizes various gatherings in the church yard.
St. Bogorodica Ascension Church -- Velestovo village
Located on the picturesque slopes of Mt. Galicica in the village of Velestovo, this small church is dedicated to the Holy Mother of God. An inscription dating from 1444 points out that among the patrons of this church were priest Gjorgjija, Stanica, and his brother Mihi. Another inscription found on the western entrance indicates Ohrid Archbishop Nikola as the patron of the church's fresco paintings.