Orthodox Easter is observed over a 4-day period in Macedonia. Friday, April 13, is Good Friday and Monday, April 16, is a holiday for Easter Sunday. With a 4-day holiday it was the perfect time to see more of Macedonia. We hired a cat sitter, rented a car, and on Friday we drove to Ohrid. Ohrid is about 3-1/2 hours southwest of Skopje. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was for rain the entire weekend. About halfway, we stopped at "Мекиците од Стража" roadside cafe that serves all manner of fried or baked breads, called pies, stuffed with cheese, meat, or spinach made from a recipe developed in 1942. The pies are many layers of pastry shaped into a rope and coiled into a circle.
The town of Ohrid is described as the "Jerusalem of the Balkans" and pilgrims and vacationers from everywhere visit Ohrid during Easter. Both the town and the lake are under UNESCO protection. The lake is one of the oldest in the world and the deepest lake in the Balkans. The town has roots back to Neolithic times and claims that it is the oldest continuous settlement of humans going back 7,000 years. The lake sits on the Macedonia-Albania border.
When we arrived in Ohrid, we quickly realized that we weren't going to be able to locate our hotel easily. We were staying at the Grebnos Stone House Apartments within the walls of the old city. We called our host and he took a taxi to our location in the new town and directed us back to the apartment.
|View of Ohrid's Old City on the Distant Hills|
|Bell tower of Sveti Bogorodica Perivleptos in the distance|
We dined at Damar Restaurant across from the church of St. Sophia. We were lured inside by the signs for lamb in a stove pot and pork cooked in honey. Both were delicious. After dinner we strolled down to the port and new town area. Ohrid Lake, the jewel of Macedonia, looked more like an Alaskan lake rather than a Balkan lake. It was so cloudy that the distant shore was not visible making the lake look more like an unbounded ocean.
Dan with his stealth camera did take some photos, unobserved, during the service.
|Good Friday Evening inside Sv Bogorodica Kamenska|
We returned to the church on Saturday to take photos of the now empty church. The flowers decorating the table and the church column were beginning to wilt, but the interior was still beautiful and obviously well loved. The carpets and flooring were still covered with plastic sheeting to protect them from the extra foot traffic and wet shoes.
|Wood-carved Iconostasis and Easter Gifts from Worshipers|
|The Table Symbolizing the Tomb of Christ|
|19th C Frescos in Sveti Bogorodica Kamenska|