Tuesday, August 11, 2009

day 65, from Macedonia to Albania

We are now flying over Ohrid, a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia.

Did you know that Ohrid is notable for having once had 365 churches, one for each day of the year, and is referred to as the Macedonian Jerusalem??

The city is so rich in picturesque houses and monuments, and that lake looks really inviting guys....

In 1980, Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were accepted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe.
Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the old
est Slav monastery (St Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11 th to the end of the 14th century.
The monastery is believed to have been built when Saint Clement arrived in Ohrid, at the request of Boris I of Bulgaria and restored an old church. Sources say that Saint Clement was not satisfied with the size of the church and therefore built a new one over it and assigned Saint Panteleimon as its patron saint.

Saint Clement used his newly created monastery as a liturgical building and a place for teaching his disciples his variation of the Glagolitic alphabet, known as the Cyrillic alphabet. Clement personally built a crypt inside the monastery in which he was buried after his death in 916, his tomb still exists today.
After those of the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow, this is considered
to be the most important collection of icons in the world.

No stop over guys?

Okay, we will move on then to Butrint in Albania.....

Butrint is an ancient Greek city and an archeological site in Sarandë District of Albania.
It is located on a hill overlooking the Vivari Channel.

Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country with an archaeological sequence that runs from the Bronze Age to the 19th century.

A number of major monuments are still extant, the city walls, Great basilica, theatre, Venetian castles and the finest building on the site is the Early Christian Baptistry, one of the most important and best preserved paleo-Christian monuments in the whole Adriatic region.

By the 5th century AD Christianity was flourishing at Butrint and the city had its own bishop. The Baptistery and the Great Basilica were constructed in the early 6th century. The Baptistery was discovered in 1928 by the Italian Archaeological mission. It is the second largest baptistery in the Eastern Roman Empire, the largest being that of Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.

Every aspect of the architecture and decoration of the Baptistery is symbolic of the baptismal rite, with the fountain on the far side of the Baptistery representing the fountain of eternal life.
The intricate brightly coloured mosaic has representations of land (animals), air (birds), and water (fish), symbolizing aspects of Christian salvation.

The main entrance has two large peacocks in a vine growing from a great vase. The peacocks symbolise paradise and immortality, and the vase and grapes, the Eucharist and the blood of Christ.

In addition to the archaeological remains the site is robed in natural woodland with a complex ecosystem that depends on the nearby presence of the freshwater Lake Butrint and Vivari Channel which drains the Lake into the Ionian Sea.

It is this combination of historic monuments and natural environment that makes Butrint such a unique place, a 'landscape with monuments' .

The Butrint National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is no longer on the endangered list.

Nobody wants to stop....I am surprised......aaah, all of us want to ensure that we complete this journey around the world in 80 days.......ok....let's move on.....

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