Early medieval culture in Ohrid – History of Ohrid
During the excavation of the early Christian basilica at the locality Plaosnik (Imaret), remnants of secular Slavic architecture were found. It is believed that this building dates from the earliest period after the migration of the Slavs on the Balkans.
In the middle of the 6th decade of 20th century, during the examination of Clement’s church of St. Pantheleimon at Plaosnik (Imaret), it was found that the church was established on the remnants of an early Christian trefoil basilica. In Clement’s life the church was built onto towards the west. According to Theopilact of Ohrid’s “Life of St. Clement”, Clement himself built his tomb. It is presumed that the church St. Pantheleimon was refurbished and decorated with frescoes in XIII century. Some further construction works were carried out until XV century, when the church was destroyed and converted into a mosque.
On the site of the classical theater, in the layers of the medieval horizons, a large number of ceramic pots have been found. Their distinctive shape and ornaments obviously indicate that one of the main crafts of Slavs was pottery.
On the line starting from Gorna Porta (the Upper Gate), the excavations revealed the existence of a road. On its Northwest side the remnants of the original gate and curbstone were discovered. The road stretched in the northeast-southwest direction and towards the classical theater. It had as much as 7.4 meters in length, and the curbstone 0.45 m. All examinations indicate that it was used even in the late Middle Ages.
On a number of archaeological sites in the old part of the town several water reservoirs, underground pipelines, and large number of drains were found. This confirms the well-known thesis according to which Ohrid was a real center in the Middle Ages, developed according to the example of the series of famous centers.
During the Turkish rule in Ohrid, many of the Christian churches were converted into mosques. It is estimated that these churches were demolished in the course of XV century. In that period Clement’s church, St. Pantheleimon was destroyed and on its ruins a mosque was erected. This mosque, known as Imaret Mosque, was endowed to the sultan Sinan Celebi. The cathedral church of St. Sofia shared the same destiny, whereas the churches St. Dimitry, St. Nicolas and St. Nedela (Holy Sunday) were completely demolished. The assumption is that the church of St. Dimitry was located on the square in the immediate vicinity of the Lake, and the church of St. Nedela in the vicinity of Ali Pasha Mosque. Ali Pasha Mosque was built in XVI century and also served as a Muslim religious secondary school. The ruined Aji Khasam Mosque located near the town square, dates from XV century. Necropola were found in the vicinity of both mosques, indicating the existence of medieval Christian sacred objects.
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