In Ohrid, North Macedonia, the Marinov family has been fashioning utilitarian and decorative objects out of copper and brass for one hundred years.
Shawn and I happened upon the third and fourth-generation artists’ small studio one afternoon, while exploring Ohrid’s UNESCO-registered Old Town, which is replete with hundreds of Eastern Orthodox churches. The Marinov shop is filled with handmade warrior’s masks and shields – said to be designed with motifs from the Ancient Kingdom of Macedonia. They also sell jewelry and home accessories.
Ever a young boy at heart, Shawn was instantly drawn to the warrior’s masks. Had our luggage not been already overflowing, I think he just might have left Ohrid with one.
Where in the World?
- The Marinov shop is located at Kosta Abrash 44 in Ohrid’s Old Town, not far from the lakeside.
- Are you looking for accommodation in the heart of Ohrid’s Old Town? Shawn and I spent two weeks at the Svetlana Guesthouse (affiliate link), run by friendly and thoughtful Svetlana, along with her extended family. The location was fantastic, as it was about 100 meters to Ohrid’s Ancient Theater, and roughly 200 meters from Samoil’s Fortress. We loved having our own balcony, as well as access to a communal kitchen when we wanted to cook. Svetlana, her children, and grandchildren made our stay in Ohrid extra special – even inviting us to share an Eastern Orthodox Easter lunch with them.
- Ohrid’s official website offers additional information about the city.
- This link contains an index of all my posts from North Macedonia.
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.
25 thoughts on “A Mask-Maker in Ohrid, North Macedonia”
That whole Macedonia/FYROM is all rather confusing and petty but it must be important to Greece I guess!
I almost bought a helmet like that in Athens one time but then realised that I wouldn’t get it on to the airline as hand luggage. Oh, and the price was a factor as well!
Andrew, I agree that the naming controversy is confusing. I did some reading on the topic and chatted with locals in both countries while we were in the region, and still wasn’t able to form an opinion. There is certainly passion about the issue on both sides.
I suppose that if you’d tried to have worn the mask, that would’ve aroused just a bit of suspicion. :) Do you recall how much the masks were in Athens? I think they were about 50 Euros in Macedonia.
I think it was about 50 Euros but it wasn’t authentic like yours!
Fascinating ancient art/craft…
Annette, I agree. It’s incredible that this family’s been doing this sort of work for at least a century.
These masks are beautiful. A couple down the street collect masks from around the world. I wonder if they’ve seen these? (I’ll show them.)
Juliann, Andrew (above) mentioned that he’d seen some masks similar to these in Athens, but just not as authentically made. I’m wondering if the Marinov family might ship to the U.S.? Their website that I linked to is in Macedonian, but I translated it with Google Translator.
Thanks for sharing the link with your friends. How many masks would you say that they have in their collection? Must be great fun to look at and try on!
Those are some fabulous masks. Too bad it is hard to get things like that home when you are visiting. What a great place to visit.
Darlene, they sure are neat, aren’t they? Though I previously would’ve lamented that I couldn’t bring home such trinkets, I’m now happy that I can remember them through the photos I take. I must confess that I usually have a weakness for small charms for my charm bracelet though. :)
We thought so too, Mark! We were hoping to return to the shop and see a mask possibly being made, but unfortunately ran out of time. I’m curious how long the process takes.
It is nice to see traditional art/crafts carried on. The masks being more decorative than functional is probably a good thing. :)
Ron, I agree with you on both points. :) Being in this part of the world sure has made me curious to learn more about the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia.
Tricia, for sure your husband Shawn looks like a proud gladiator!!!!
Indeed, his childlike spirit came alive when the shopkeeper said he could try a mask on. :)
Cool thing to pass down between the generations!
I agree, Jennifer! Would make for a unique family portrait opportunity too. :)
Tricia, The masks are gorgeous – and Shawn is the perfect gladiator! There was a shop down the street from our apartment in Athens that sold very similar merchandise, and now I’m wondering if they may have come from the Marinov family. All the best, Terri
Terri, wow, you two sure have had a lot of apartments around the world! In how many cities would you estimate you’ve called home? :)
Tricia, James and I had a good laugh over that question – because we didn’t know the answer. So over a glass (or 2) of wine we determined the answer is “well over 50” :) Whew! ~Terri
Such adventurers you are. Love it! :)
Amazing and wonderful that somebody can make a living out of this in this day and age, Tricia. :)
I agree, Jo. Here’s hoping that the family will be able to keep up the tradition. The town in which they live (Ohrid) is a historic and atmospheric spot that’s popular with travelers, given its beautiful lake and churches. As a result, I think there are a good amount of tourists regularly coming through and discovering the Marinov shop.