The Icon Gallery-Ohrid is a part of the Ni Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments and Museum-Ohrid In which permanent exhibition exposed the most significant samples of icons, a total of 37, of which 6 double-sided or bilateral. Chronological belonging of the artworks is from the middle of the 11th until the middle of the 19th century.
Ohrid icon collection, next to the Sinai collection from the monastery of St. Catherine, the collection from Mt. Athos and Russian icons, is one of the most valuable and most significant collections of icons in the world. Most of them have been painted in the Ohrid painting workshops, and some of the icons in the past centuries, as gifts for the Ohrid churches, were brought from Constantinople or Salonika and are characterized by an exceptional colorist solutions, grace and beauty of the painting.
The high artistic quality, the historical and cultural meaning, as well as the high degree of preservation of the icons of this collection, in particular the most valuable and most beautiful samples from the 11th to the 14th century, which represent a real masterpieces of the Byzantine panel painting, contributed they, both with some samples from the post Byzantine period and the period of the Revival, to be exhibited in the permanent exhibition that is considered one of the very few such collections in the world. Ohrid icons represent significant testimonials about the significance and role of the city of Ohrid as religious, cultural and artistic center within the Byzantine Empire, the Serbian medieval state and the Ottoman Empire, as well as its relations with other developed cultural and artistic centers in the first row of the Constantinople and Salonika.
Through the icons of this collection one can follow the development of the icon painting in the period of nearly one thousand years, from the middle of the 11th until the mid-nineteenth century, and different time epochs have left their chronological and stylistic features on some of them.
For the first time, the icons from the Ohrid collection were exhibited in the outer narthex of the church of the Holy Virgin Peribleptos in 1961 on the occasion of the 12th Byzantologist’s Congress that took place in Ohrid.
In the period between 1981 and 1983, the building located in the courtyard of the church, opposite its entrance, was reconstructed and revitalized into a modern gallery of icons where the collection is located still today, enabling in this way the most beautiful icons from this collection to be available to all medieval art lovers and numerous explorers and scientists.
In 2000, on the occasion of the great jubilee of Christianity, the Icon Gallery-Ohrid was readapted with a new concept of the exhibition and modernization of the spatial, security and microclimate conditions.
Most of the icons and other objects of the collection (especially those of the permanent exhibition and all others that have been displayed in various occasions) are restored in accordance with the principles and rules for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage.
Besides the permanent exhibition in the Icon Gallery-Ohrid, a large number of icons from the collection as well as some other items from it have been exhibited so far at numerous temporary exhibitions in the country and abroad.