Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday, June 13th, Lake Ohrid, Macedonia


Lake Ohrid is one of the deepest and oldest lakes in the world.  It's also one of the cleanest and clearest.  Completely refreshed every seven years, it has springs bringing water through limestone layers from the nearby mountains, and rivers emptying it in the same volume, at the same pace.  With a comfortable water temperature, especially in the summer, it serves as the perfect beachside vacation for thousands of tourists escaping the crowds.

Along the coast our ferry took us this morning, we passed a pile dwelling settlement established in 1200 BC named the Bay of Bones.  Named because a cache of animal bones were found near large carbon-dated underwater poles, the settlement has been reconstructed, and an accompanying museum and roman fortification nearby adds to the important set of resources.

Our next stop was the Monastery of Saint Naum, one of the two most well-known figures in Macedonia.  Naum and St Clemons, students of Saints Cyril and Methodius, were responsible during the period of 863 to 910 for the development of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets, which were instrumental in bringing the Bible and a civil code to the Slavic peoples of this region.

Just prior to a great lunch at the mouth of the springs which feed Lake Ohrid, we were rowed around the nearby lagoons and their islands.  It was such a serene aquatic journey, gliding slowly over the clear green, blue, and white depths.

Returning across the Lake to the City of Ohrid,  we took a taxi to the top of the hill where  Samuel's Fortress overlooks the town.  Afterward, we hiked down to another beautiful ancient church next door to the Ohrid Icon Gallery, where our guide, Elena, helped us understand the evolution of icons in Macedonia, and the early appearance of rennaisance art techniques in the area icons.

Then to a restored ancient amphitheater, and on down the hill to the Church of Saint Sophia, an 1100 AD Archbishopric, converted by the Ottomans to a mosque in the 1400s, and now used as a museum and concert hall.  The church contains some of the most vivid frescoes we've ever seen, and some thanks goes to funding from our U.S. State Department in the last few years.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on:
Tuesday, June 13th, Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

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