Samuel’s Fortress

Samuel’s Fortress (Macedonian: Самуилова тврдина)  is a fortress in the old town of Ohrid. It was the capital of the Macedonia during the rule of Tsar Samuel at the turn of the 10th century. Today, this historical monument is a major tourist attraction and was heavily restored in 2003 with the addition of entirely new battlements where none had survived.

According to recent excavations by Macedonian archaeologists, it was contended that this fortress was built on the place of an earlier fortification, dated to the 4th century BC, which was probably built by King Phillip II of Macedon.

In Byzantine times, Ohrid was a large, important city and cultural center. For a short time in the early 11th century, it was also the capital of a Slavic empire ruled by Car Samuil. His fortress, situated on the hill in the center of modern  Ohrid, crowns the city. Samuel’s fortress consumes the city’s skyline, and was once one of the most impregnable strongholds in the Balkans, with walls 3 km (1.8 m) long and 16 m (52 ft) high. Today, 18 towers and four gates still remain from the original structure. With its strategic location overlooking the town and the lake, it provides an ideal place for taking in the whole panorama of Ohrid and its surroundings.