Church of St. Sophia, Ohrid

Church of St. Sophia, Ohrid (must see)

The Cathedral of Saint Sophia was built in Ohrid in the 9th century by Boris II. It was rebuilt in the 11th century and provided with a domed basilica by Archbishop Leo of Ohrid. A Great Feast mural adorns the nave.

In the recess of the apse the Virgin Enthroned holds her son in a protective mandorla. Christ prepares bread and wine below. On the walls behind the altar platform (the "bema") is a sequence of scenes from the lives of Abraham, Saint Basil the Great and Saint John Chrysostum. Above the alcove where sacerdotales are kept are scenes of martyrdoms.

The church was dedicated to Holy Wisdom ("Hagia Sofia"). It was built on the foundation of an early Christian basilica of the 5th century. In the 15th century the church was converted to a mosque. The precious frescoes were white-washed. During their regime, the Ottomans caused a lot of damage to the church.

After the Balkan Wars of 1912, Saint Sophia was returned to her role as an Orthodox Church and a conservation project was initiated. The frescoes were cleaned and rejuvenated and the church once again expressed the Byzantine world of the 11th century.

Every year the one-month Ohrid Summer Festival is opened by an operatic concert at Saint Sophia's. The first concert was in August, 1961. Inside the church, Macedonian opera star Ana Lipsha Tofovic and pianist Ladislav Peridic gave a bravura performance. It was a first for Ohrid and a first for the church.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Ohrid. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Church of St. Sophia on Map

Sight Name: Church of St. Sophia
Sight Location: Ohrid, Macedonia (See walking tours in Ohrid)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Ohrid, Macedonia

Create Your Own Walk in Ohrid

Create Your Own Walk in Ohrid

Creating your own self-guided walk in Ohrid is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Ohrid's Historical Churches

Ohrid's Historical Churches

According to the legend based on the observations of 15th-century Ottoman traveler Evlia Celebia, the town of Ohrid used to have within its boundaries 365 chapels – one for every day of the year. At some point during Medieval times, Ohrid was even dubbed Slavic Jerusalem. Today, although the number of churches is considerably smaller, the architectural and historical value of those that remain...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Ohrid Introduction Walking Tour

Ohrid Introduction Walking Tour

Ohrid was called "Lychnidos", meaning "City of Light." By the late 9th century, the town was referred to as "Ohrid." This is Slavic, meaning "on a hill." With its 365 churches, it was known as "Jerusalem of the Balkans."

Legend says King Cadmus, banished from Thebes, founded the town on a hill overlooking the lucid waters of Lake Ohrid. That may...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles