Prayer high in the rocks
Modlitba vysoko ve skalách
Ohrid Lake, lying between southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania, is one of Europe's deepest and oldest lakes, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem that is of worldwide importance, with more than 200 endemic species. The importance of the lake was further emphasized when it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979 and when, in 2010, NASA decided to name one of Titan's lakes (Titan is a moon of Saturn) after Lake Ohrid (Ohrid Lacus).
Ohrid Lake represents a real pearl of natural beauty. This relict phenomenon attracts people of all profession and interests, tourists and scientists, artists and people seeking spiritual and religious experience, sportsmen and adventurists. And geocachers, of course!
Tranquility and peace on the Ohrid Lake
On the Macedonian lakeside are situated two towns, Ohrid and Struga, and numerous villages. Tourist guides mostly promote the eastern side of the Ohrid Lake, from the town of Ohrid to Sveti Naum on the Albanian border. Yes, this part of Ohrid Lake is spectacular and breathtaking. However, the western side of Ohrid Lake, starting from the city of Struga along the western lake coast to the village Radozhda, offers many things to see and experience too. Natural beauties, splendid views, sacral objects, good food and crystal water. The same as on the eastern side, but still different. Explore it, I am sure you will not be sorry…
This cache will lead you to the last village on the Macedonian side of the Ohrid lake, Radozhda (Radožda). The rare coastal jewel of Macedonia - Radozhda is a place that leaves people breathless, returns the calmness and the ability to become one with the nature. Unlike some highly commercialised villages on the eastern side, Radozda is mentioned only in the more intimate circles of friends who jealously guard this untouched piece of paradise in Macedonia.
The village Radozhda is situated about 10 km south of the town Struga, at about 725 m above sea level. On the eastern side spreads Ohrid lake, while on the west side rises Jablanica Masiff. The village was founded over ten centuries ago, but written evidence can be found from documents of the “Dushan Charter” from 1342 to 1345.
Ohrid Lake and Radozhda
If you ask people from Radozhda about the name of their village, you will hear many theories, but here is their favorite one: the name comes from the local dialect that means - birth. And not by accident! If you are an “early bird”, on the opposite side where you see Ohrid in the distance, in the early morning hours when the first sun rays begin to appear just over Galichica Massif, the lake receives a magical golden-yellow color in which glory new day is born.
The Radozhda village is famous by its 7 churches. For Easter the villagers gather and go to all of seven churches, the women trade dyed eggs, the villages light candles and they pray to God. On 2 August the village celebrates St. Iliya day (“Ilinden”). For the feast of the Assumption of Mary on 28 August the whole village waits for guests from all over the Struga and Ohrid areas. This is the biggest holy day in Radozhda.
On the way to the cave church
The most famous church in Radozhda is the cave church of Sveti Arhangel Mihail (Saint Archangel Michael). The Church Saint Archangel Michael was built in the 13th century in a natural cave in the Jablanica mountain. It was dedicated to the military commander of the Bodiless Army - the Archangel Michael. Most of the frescoes date from the 14th century with one preserved from the 13th century. The cave church was repainted in the 14th thus removing many of the old frescoes. The top layer of painting in the church was the last accomplishment of the Ohrid Fine Art School from the 14th century.
The cave church
What else one can do in Radozhda? Parts of the old Roman road Via Egnatia are thought to be located just outside of Radozhda. The road is located about 2 km outside of the center of Radozhda. After the restaurant Dva Biseri below the Cave Church of Archangel Michael turn right and uphill at the first shop, or ask the villagers. There are few restaurants in Radozhda which offer delicious food and drinks. One of their specialties is fresh Ohrid trout, or the eel (but its preparation takes some 4-5 hours, for which is necessary to make an order and then spend the time in sightseeing).
A night over Radozhda
The cache (a small glass juice jar) is hidden on the way up to the cave church. Before you start climbing the stairs, ask in the restaurant “Dva Bisera” (Two pearls) for the key of the church (it might be closed in the time of your visit).
Sources: Wikipedia, other internet sources. Photos: Internet and original (by Galejnik)