Lake Ohrid straddles the mountainous border between southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania. It is one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes and was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979.
Samuil’s is a fortress in the old town of Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia. It was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire during the rule of Samuil in the middle-ages. Today, this historical monument (renovated in 2003), with its spectacular views, is a major tourist attraction.
According to recent excavations by Macedonian archaeologists, it was alleged that this fortress was built on the place of an earlier fortification, dated to 4th century B.C., which was probably built by king Phillip II of Macedon (Alexander the Great’s Dad).
Ohrid, both old and new town, are pleasant spots to spend a few days. After a long walk down the eastern side of the lake we came back to town to enjoy pizza and beer overlooking a beautiful frescoed church. In the evening we watched the sun set over the Albania mountains from Church St. John of Kaneo.
Ohrid is a pretty popular tourist spot for people who live in the Balkans – our two landlords were both thrilled that we went there – but we also saw (and heard) a group of English tourists spending a few days walking around the Old Town, our biggest encounter yet with English speaking tourists. Small hotels with lake views are available for good prices and there’s plenty to do in and around the lake – see our friend Julian’s blog on The Bay of Bones.
Ultimately, Ohrid is a pretty unique place: where else can you try your hand at the Cyrllic alphabet as you sip beer and eat good pizza while watching kids play soccer against the side of a 13th century church. And all against the backdrop of one of the world’s most beautiful lakes.