King Samoil Fortress, Ohrid

King Samoil Fortress, Ohrid (must see)

Ohrid fortress, popularly known as Tsar Samoil Fortress, is a restored medieval stronghold that occupies the top of Ohrid hill. The hill rises 328 feet above the waters of Lake Ohrid, giving the fort a commanding view over the lake, the city and surrounding countryside. The ramparts extend for two miles, varying in height from ten to 53 feet.

The fortress was built upon the ruins of an earlier fort built in the 4th century BC by none other than Philip II, King of Macedonia and father of Alexander the Great. King Samoil built his medieval style fortress on the remains of Philip's creation in the late 10th century AD.

Ohrid, known in ancient times as "Lychnidos", has been ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Slavs and Ottomans. They destroyed and rebuilt the fortress in turn several times. The fortress has served as a defensive asset and also as a residence. The citadel center is divided by a wall into two parts. The Emperor lived in one and soldiers in the other.

The wall surrounding this space has a row of towers. The main entrance is flanked by two semicircular keep-like defensive towers. The remaining part of the fort is wrapped by a defensive wall around a residential area for courtiers' families. In this second area is an ancient cemetery, the ruins of a donjon and a cistern.

Until the arrival of the Ottomans in 1395, the city was completely enclosed within the walls. Only the Upper and Lower Gates provided access to the town. After the Turkish involvement the town expanded beyond the walls. Christians were kept in the walled up hill section. The Ottoman quarter was outside on lower, more open ground.

In the year 2000 conservation and restoration efforts were started on the fort. The walls and towers of the citadel were repaired and preserved. From the archeological complex of Plaosnik there is a wooded path to the citadel. Admission is free.

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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King Samoil Fortress on Map

Sight Name: King Samoil Fortress
Sight Location: Ohrid, Macedonia (See walking tours in Ohrid)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
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 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
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