During the Byzantine period, Ohrid flourished as a centre of Orthodox Christianity – a role that was consolidated throughout the middle ages. The church of St. Sophia, built in the 11th century on the site of an early Christian basilica, is Ohrid’s cathedral and home to fabulous medieval frescos that depict the 40 martyrs, as well as numerous Orthodox Patriarchs and Catholic Popes. Nearby, Saint Pantelejmon church and Plaoshnik monastery are revered as the site of an early Slavic university founded by Saint Klement, Macedonia’s patron saint and a staunch disciple of Saint Cyril, who famously codified the Cyrllic script.
Throughout Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980, you’ll find numerous small churches with historic, religious, or architectural importance, including the church of Saint Erazmo, a ruined structure with an interesting four leaf shape suggesting early contact with Syria and Mesopotamia. Beyond the city, you’ll find many other sites of interest: ancient villages, cave churches and monasteries, and beaches all lie within easy reach.