LOG IN HERE
Username
Password

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?

New Europe

Day Twenty-nine: Ohrid to Prilep

Ohrid, Macedonia 
click to enlarge 
file size
Life on the streets of Ohrid, ancient town and centre of Macedonian tourism.
Michael Palin - New EuropeEast from Ohrid the road swoops up and over a landscape of high passes and thickly forested slopes which broadens into a wider rolling plain. A town appears, dominated by weirdly eroded rocks, the white scar of a marble quarry and a monumental, derelict fortress built by King Marko, a Serbian who became Macedonia's last king before the Ottoman invasions.

This is Prilep, a modest town, currently in the throes of a beer festival and preparing itself for tomorrow's Festival of Saint Mary, or as she translates rather spectacularly in Macedonian, Saint Bogorodica. The centrepiece of the religious celebrations is not in the town itself but in a monastery 6 miles away, tucked so snugly into the smoothed and sculpted rocks that you have to get right up close before you believe in it.

There is a dirt road, but on holy days ninety per cent of the worshippers take the old cobbled path and a two-hour walk from the road below.

We're met at the fine, frescoed gatehouse of Treskavec monastery by the only monk in residence here, Brother Kalist, a tall, straight-backed, gentle man in a black robe, circular black velvet cap and with a long, curly beard streaked with grey. Once an economist in Macedonia's capital Skopje, he's now training for the priesthood.

The grounds of the monastery are already filling up with people who will spend the night here before tomorrow's festival, but Brother Kalist, despite being continually buttonholed about this and that, takes time to show us around.

There have been establishments of various kinds up here in the shelter of the mountain since pre-Roman times. Recent archaeological work has uncovered remains of a temple to Apollo and fragments of sculpted toga-wearing figures can be seen, incorporated into much later walls.
Ohrid, Macedonia 
click to enlarge 
file size
Life on the streets of Ohrid, ancient town and centre of Macedonian tourism.
Choose another day from New Europe

PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: New Europe
  • Chapter: Day Twenty-nine: Ohrid to Prilep
  • Country/sea: Macedonia
  • Place: Prilep
  • Book page no: 69

Bookmarks will keep your place in one or more series. But you'll need to register and/or log in.

RELATED LINKS

  • All vehicles
  • Day 2 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 5 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 3 
  • Pole to Pole

  • Sightseeing
  • Day 5 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 18 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 16 
  • Pole to Pole

RELATED PHOTOS

ROUTE MAPS