November 7, 2011
0030 MACEDONIA (Southeastern) - Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region - Saint Panteleimon Monastery (UNESCO WHS)
Historical and geographical region of Macedonia, is not a secret, includes the Republic of Macedonia and larger or smaller parts of Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo. Macedonia is... Macedonia, a distinct entity and not a province of another country. Even if over time its boundaries have changed considerably, as well as the ethnic composition (in the sixth century Slavs began to settle in the Balkans, and later, under Byzantine rule, but especially under the Ottomans, have occurred many population movements). Even if the current Macedonians have just as much connection with Alexander the Great as the French with Vercingetorix, Romanians with Decebal or Iranians with Xerxes. Its inhabitants self-identification, culturally and regionally, as Macedonians is sufficient. Have anything to do with the postcard all these things? Maybe or maybe not.
But Ohrid is certainly related. Located southwest of Skopje, close to the border with Albania, the city has a history of at least two-and-a-half millennia (at first it called Lychnidos, the name Ohrid appearing first mentioned in 879) and was even the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire between 990 and 1015 and also episcopal city. The Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi (from 15th century) has noticed that within the town boundaries was 365 chapels and churchs, one for every day of the year, for this reason the city being known as "The Balkan Jerusalem" or "Slavic Jerusalem" in the medieval times. Today this number is significantly smaller, but remaining churches, as well as its picturesque houses and monuments determined UNESCO to declare the city a World Heritage site in 1980, under the name Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region. Considering that Lake Ohrid has the same status since 1979, Ohrid is one of only 28 sites that are part of UNESCO's World Heritage that are both Cultural and Natural sites.
Saint Panteleimon monastery (erected on a hill which is now known as Plaošnik) is attributed to Clement of Ohrid, the most prominent disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius, patron of education and language for Slavic nations, and also the patron saint of the Republic of Macedonia, the city Ohrid and the Macedonian Orthodox Church. It seems that Clement himself designed and constructed the monastery (on the ruins of an old christian church from the fourth century), to use it then, along with Naum of Preslav, as a basis for teaching the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets to Christianized Slavs, thus making it the first and oldest discontinued university in Europe. Inside the monastery, Clement built a crypt in which he was buried in 916, and tomb still exists today. The monastery was fully reconstructed in 2002, using the same materials used to build the original church in order to preserve the original spirituality.
From what I know about Ana (the one who sent me this postcard), I think she deliberately chose stamps to fit with the subject of the postcards. I love these habits. Thank you from all my heart, Ana. The first stamp is from a set of 4 issued on March 3th 1999 under the name Cultural Heritage:
● The Annunciation - Post-Byzantine icon from Slepce Monastery by Demir Hisar (4 MKD)
● Group of Holy Men - Post-Byzantine icon 1862. St. Nicholas Church, Ohrid (8 MKD)
● Virgin Mary and Christ - Post-Byzantine icon from Slepce Monastery by Demir Hisar (18 MKD)
● Christ our Saviour - Byzantine icon 2nd half of 14th century, from Prilep Monastery, Zrze (30 MKD)
The second is a definitive one (12 MKD), issued on August 3th 2006 also under the name Cultural Heritage and illustrates a fragment of the fresco of the Matejče Monastery.
sender: Ana Racić (direct swap)
sent from Skopje (Macedonia), on 22.10.2011
photo: S. Kuzmanovski