World Natural and World Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region
Situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the oldest Slav monastery (St Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. After those of the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow, this is considered to be the most important collection of icons in the world.
Ohrid – the old city of light:
Ohrid, with its natural, cultural, spiritual and historical features, is the most developed tourist and cultural center, not only in Macedonia, but in the Balkans and wider in Europe. These values had been recognized by the world, thus Ohrid and Ohrid Lake, many years ago were inscribed on the UNESCO list as a rare cultural and natural heritage. A true rarity is the claim by the world scientific community that in Ohrid there is a 7000 of continuous live and the remains of civilizations are noticeable in over 250 archaeological sites discovered so far.
Today Ohrid is a developed tourist center, worldwide known and cosmopolitan city too.
Outstanding Universal Value
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 1980. In 1979, the Committee decided to inscribe the Ohrid Lake on the World Heritage List under natural criteria (iii). In 1980, this property was extended to include the cultural and historical area, and cultural criteria (i)(iii)(iv) were added.
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. Special emphasis regarding Ohrid’s old urban architecture must be given to the town’s masonry heritage. In particular, Ohrid’s traditional local influence can be seen among its well-preserved late-Ottoman urban residential architecture dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The limited space for construction activities has led to the formation of a very narrow network of streets.
Although the town of Struga is located along the shores of Lake Ohrid, town life is concentrated along the banks of the Crn Drim River, which flows out of the lake. The existence of Struga is connected with several fishermen settlements on wooden piles situated along the lake shore. A great number of archaeological sites testify to origins from the Neolithic period, the Bronze Age, the Macedonian Hellenistic period, the Roman and the early Middle Age period.
The convergence of well-conserved natural values with the quality and diversity of its cultural, material and spiritual heritage makes this region truly unique.