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Debarca is a municipality located in western North Macedonia, north of Ohrid and south of Kičevo. The rural municipality has over 5,000 residents spread across 30 villages.

The village of Velmej, seen from the Church of St George


Debarca Municipality roughly corresponds to the historical region of Debarca which was very involved in the past struggles for independence, both during Ottoman rule and later during the World Wars. Today, the region is quite depopulated; nearly 13,000 people lived in Debarca in the 1950s.

The ethnic affiliation of the residents is now and has historically been ethnic Macedonian and Orthodox Christian.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Ohrid's international airport is located in the village of Orovnik in Debarca Municipality.

Get around[edit]


Early Christian church ruins and the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary at Zlesti Monastery

The main sights of interest in Debarca are churches and monasteries.

  • 1 Church of Saint Nicholas (Црква „Св. Никола“) (village of Velmej). The main church of Velmej was mostly built in the 18th century, with portions dating from the 13th century. The entrance to the church yard, also containing the village cemetery, is through its bell tower. Most of the interior is covered in frescoes.
  • 2 Church of Saint George (Црква „Св. Ѓорѓи“) (village of Velmej). This church sits above Velmej on a spot providing panoramic views of the village and surroundings.
  • 3 Church of the Holy Mother of God (Црква „Св. Богородица Пречиста Ќелија“) (village of Velmej). A small one-nave medieval church, most likely built in the 14th century. Its frescoes date from the later 16th century.
  • 4 Church of Saint George (Црква „Св. Ѓорѓи“) (village of Zlesti). The Church of Saint George is Zlesti's main village church, containing its cemetery. It was built in the 1890s mainly of stone, perched on a short steep hill above Zlesti.
  • 5 Zlesti Monastery (Злестински манастир) (village of Zlesti). A monastery was established in the early 2000s around the site of the ruins of an early Christian church which today mostly consists of walls and foundations. The monastery's main church, dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, was completed in 2009.
  • 6 Church of Saint Athanasius (Црква „Св. Атанасиј“) (village of Lešani). A newer church on a hill above the village with a large cross built next to it, visible throughout Lešani.
  • 7 Lešani Monastery (Лешански манастир) (village of Lešani). This medieval monastery consists of a small church built in 1452, a 1911-built extension church right beside it, and a newer church. It is the only monastery in North Macedonia dedicated to "All Saints" (Сите Светители). The original church was built of stone and limestone and is surrounded by older walls and foundations.




Go next[edit]

  • Ohrid, the major city of the area and North Macedonia's best attraction
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