Tsar Samoil fortress in Ohrid

Tsar Samoil fortress in Ohrid is considered one of the largest preserved fortifications in Macedonia.

The fortress was first mentioned by the historian Titus Livy in the 3rd century BC, as a fortress of the city Lychnidos. A bigger more detailed description dates from the 5th century when the fortress was defended from tribal attacks during the Great Migration period.

The fortified city of Ohrid in 479 AD rejected the siege of the Gothic king Theodoric the Great.

The fortress was used in the Roman and Byzantine periods when it was extended and enlarged.

Slavs entered in Ohrid without any major demolition, but Ohrid as the capital of the Samuil’s empire had recovered and strong walls.


The present form of the fortress dates from Tsar Samuil’s time, even though there is some data that the fortress was destructed and repairs were made by the Turks and the Byzantines.

During Tsar Samoil’s time, Ohrid became a medieval metropolis. Until the late 14th and early 15th century, the population lived within the city walls.

The city of Ohrid expanded during Ottoman rule, with the arrival of colonists from Asia Minor in the 15th century.

The last ruler of the Fortress was Dzeladin Bey.

Today the Samoil Fortress is one of the most visited tourist sites in Ohrid, providing a breathtaking view of the city of Ohrid and Ohrid Lake.