Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ohrid, Old Town Walk.

Because the sun continued to shine, we were able to experience the Lonely Planet walking tour to see the major sites of Ohrid's Old Town. 

 Starting at the Upper Gate, we climbed down a small hill to see the 2,000-plus-year-old classical amphitheater.  Originally built for theater, the Romans turned it into a gladiator ring {dislike!}, but it is now back to hosting non-death-resulting summer performances.

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{Sorry the photo doesn't exactly capture the amphitheater; I'm just really a lover of mountains.}

From the theater, we headed over to Sveta Bogorodica Perivlepta.  Built in 1295 and ranking among the most outstanding achievements of mediaeval architecture, the church is home to an icon gallery {that we didn't make it in time to see} and some majorly gorgeous frescos.

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It also offered a view of the Ohrid Fortress of Tzar Samuel {or Car Samoil's Castle}.
Once serving as a function of defense against enemies and as an inhabited area, it now just acts as an item of magnificent beauty.

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Continuing our walk, we strolled through the cobblestoned old town until we arrived at the fortress.

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 From the top of the castle walls, the lake shines like a blue jewel, like a piece of the sky. And the whole city of Ohrid is visible.

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Climbing the narrow stone steps down from the top of the walls, we realized we were actually locked-in to the fortress.

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Don't worry! After a completely unnecessary panic, we escaped/the workers unlocked the gate for us, and we continued our stroll down a wooded path to Saint Clement's Church of Saint Panteleimon,  a church sitting on a cliff looking over Lake Ohrid. Beautiful inside and out.

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Because of the sun and rain combo, a bright, full rainbow dramatically and beautifully cut across the sky bridging city and water -- a perfect escort for our trip back down.

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Following the rainbow, we continued downward to the 11th century, Sveta Sofija Cathedral, said by Lonely Planet to be modelled after Constantinople's St. Sophia.  The church offers views of more frescos, Ottoman-era architecture, and old ruins, but also provides some amazing acoustics making it a great place for a concert.

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And it was here, across from a beautiful cathedral underneath a rainbow that Susan and I decided it was time for a cold beer on a patio to celebrate {my} life.    

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And yes, we ordered some fried cheese as well.

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