St Naum Monastery in Macedonia is 30km from the town of Ohrid and can be easily reached by bus. Buses leave roughly every 2 hours starting at 6:15am up until 6:30pm. The bus costs 110 Denar which is about $2.25 USD or 1.80 Euros and is located on the Main road through town close to the Green Market.
I was staying at a Guest House close to the bus stop so I went over about 6am to wait for the bus. It had been raining that morning but the rain had stopped however it was still a little cool out. One of the local taxi drivers approached and told me he could drive me there for 5 Euros so I went ahead and took him up on the deal.
The drive is pretty nice and takes you through some small villages and also by the Museum on the Water. As I told you in an earlier post the Museum is a reconstruction of a Bronze Age Settlement and also a reconstruction of a Roman military fortress.
St Naum is only about 1km from the Albanian border and sits on the Southern shores of Lake Ohrid. Most of the old Monastery now is a hotel but that is not what draws the tourists. It was originally built by St Naum of Ohrid a student of St Cyril and Methodius. St Naum founded the Monastery in the year 905. St Naum is venerated in the Orthodox Church and is buried in the Church at the Monastery.
The following is taken from the website Ohrid at your fingertips:
“Towards the end of his life St. Naum of Ohrid built the monastery St. Archangel where he was buried in 910. The church of Naum was similar to the monastery of Clement, St. Pantheleimon, and was built in a trefoil shape.
In the course of the archaeological excavations carried out after the Second World War, only the foundations and part of the walls of that church were discovered. It is unknown when the church was ruined, but the assumption is that it happened before the arrival of the Turks.”
Once you get to the Monastery you have to park in a small parking lot and walk about 1km down a road to the Monastery. The road is lined with people selling various items along with food stands a coffee places.
The location sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Ohrid and Pogradek Albania can be seen from Monastery. Approaching the Monastery you walk through a gate adjacent to the hotel and enter a small garden. Through another set of large wooden doors is the Church. Throughout the church area are peacocks. They are on the roofs and in the gardens.
One of the peacocks really got me fascinated. I watched as a group of people entered and he flew down from the roof of the Church and spread his feathers. He then proceeded to turn and strut in front of the tourists while cameras clicked and people posed next to him for their photo.
He would then turn and let others get a good shot of him. After about five minutes he flew back to the roof. Soon another group came in and he did the same thing.
I saw him do this for four different groups that entered the Church compound, each time posing, turning so everyone could get a good look then flying back to the roof. The other peacocks all walked around the area and didn’t seem to mind being around people too much. I guess they are used to it.
Entry into the Church costs 100 Denar and that is the only cost for the Monastery. The Church is very small with a small room off to the right where St Naum is buried. The gentleman manning the entry booth asked where I was from and promptly poured me a shot of Brandy, telling me it was made at the Monastery. These people love their Brandy. He then told me the Monastery is not really in operation anymore but run by the Orthodox Church and has one Monk at the location that handles religious duties.
The Church is well worth the visit and the view from the Monastery is beautiful. Get there early before the crowds and tour buses show up.
I left planning on catching a bus back to Ohrid but after waiting around for a little while the taxi driver that dropped me off showed up and offered to take me back. We left and the next thing I saw was him turning right to Albania. Now I didn’t have my passport, having opted to leave it in my room. He is assuring me Albanians love Americans and there is nothing to worry about.
While I am freaking out he pulls up to the border makes a U-turn and parks. Then he tells me he is making a short stop to give the border guards cigarettes and coffee. A few minutes later and we are back on the road to Ohrid. Over all it was a pretty good way to spend the morning.