4. Your city!


Preserving heritage values

It might sound difficult and not understandable about how to preserve heritage values. The following example of a significant monument of Ohrid aims to introduce some essential aspects of preserving a building. Could the same be applied to an archaeological site or a natural site?

Holy Mother of God Peribleptos

Cultural and Architectural Heritage of the World

The church of Virgin Mary Perivleptos is dedicated to the Mother of God. It was erected in 1295, and the frescoes painted by Mihajlo and Evtihie represent the earliest example of Renaissance art in Europe. It is one of the very well-preserved churches of that time (13th century).

During the Ottoman Empire, the bones and relics of Saint Clement were transferred within this church. This why it is also called St. Clement. In 2002, they were transferred back to the original church of St. Clement at Plaoshnik.

Take a 360° virtual tour inside the church to understand the structural and architectural elements and interventions that helped the building remain in good shape and preserve its interior, mostly artistic, values.

Frescoes and artistic importance

The frescoes that Mihajlo and Evtihie painted have all the elements of Renaissance art except perspective. Do you know what that means? Take a look at the church’s frescoes and compare them with the Renaissance paintings (see below):

Giotto - Scrovegni - -36- - Lamentation (The Mourning of Christ) adj
The Lamentation
The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb
  • What is the main difference between the Peribleptos fresco paintings and that two Renaissance paintings? What does perspective mean in art?

The painting “Lamentation” seen above, is found at Scrovegni Chapel and dates to 1305, later than the building of the Holy Mother of God Peribleptos (1295) and the Saint Panteleimon Church (1164) at Gorno Nerezi. The interesting fact is that an earlier “Lamentation” fresco painting is found at the Saint Panteleimon Church of Nerezi:

Meister von Nerezi 001
Lamentation of Christ
  • Do you now understand the differences between the two “Lamentation” paintings?  Which one does better attribute the perspective?
  • What feelings do you observe at the figures in the first painting and what in the second one?

The figures painted by Michael and Evtihie in the Peribleptos church do not represent the traditional Byzantine way. In the traditional Byzantine way, the figures are skinny, emotionless and with their thoughts wandering somewhere. In this church, the figures are presented as healthy, chubby young men with red cheeks. Michael and Evtihie evolved traditional Byzantine art.

  • Did you notice this type of healthy figures in the Peribleptos church? If not, have another look inside the church.


Another important aspect of this church is that these two painters, Michael and Evtihie, left their signatures on their paintings, hidden through various symbolisms. One of them is the two holy warriors on the front columns, with their sword and the cloth. Can you identify other paintings inside the church that might hide such symbols? It is not totally researched what those could be…

Act like a “detective”. Ask an archaeologist about the actions you should follow to unravel these church’s hidden symbols.