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Ohrid - Churches

As an ecclesiastical center throughout much of the Byzantine Empire, Ohrid is perhaps most famous for the number of monasteries and churches that are sprinkled around the town. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980 with the aim of preserving the flavor of the old town.

The church of St. John the Theologician - Kaneo is one of the more famous churches that is found in the area. Located a short walk outside of town along a forest pathway, the church sits on a spit of land jutting out into the lake. Built in the 13th century, it captures the stately isolation that many of the monks strove to find.


The Sveti Sophia church is located right in the heart of the old city and is one of the most important  remnants of Byzantine art from the middle ages. Interestingly, the church is not named after a particular saint, although there is a Saint Sophia. It is rather titles much in the same way as the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - named for the pursuit of wisdom. 

Inside, frescos from the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries have been preserved and restored, despite the fact that it was used as a mosque during the 600 year Ottoman rule.
There is a 'no photo' sign outside, but the university student who was both my ticket taker and guide through the church's history said it was ok to do so, as long as I didn't use a flash and wasn't going to sell the pictures.

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