Our Story

Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest and deepest lake in Europe. It is shared between Albania and North Macedonia and is part of World Heritage List, protected by UNESCO. This page aims to protect this property through different projects. The first project was "Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region", co-funded by European Union and Albanian Ministry of Environment and implemented by UNESCO.
The actual project is titted: Evidence based campaign on protecting Lake Ohrid", implemented by DMO ALBANIA and supported by Co-Plan, through scheme: Financial Support to third parties in the framework of EU-Funded project: ENV.Net Factoring the environment portfolio for WB and Turkey in the EU Policy Agenda, financed by European UNION.
Showing posts with label Lake Ohrid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lake Ohrid. Show all posts

Monday, May 8, 2017

A guide to Saint Naum, Macedonia

Visit to Saint Naum Monastery is without a doubt great experience. It's a place where you can fully spend your day and enjoy many attractions... In addition to many fun activities and enjoying beautiful surroundings, the monastery complex is a wonderful place for relaxation, enjoyment and resting.
A blog by Traveling is Awesome
One of the nicest monastery complex in the region. It has been very crowded, even in the morning on the first day of the year. Lots of people come to visit this place through the year, because of it`s beauty and cultural heritage. Built by the St. Naum of Ohrid himself, it was established in the Bulgarian Empire in year 905. St. Naum is also buried in the church.
The Monastery of Saint Naum is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in the Republic of Macedonia, named after the medieval Saint Naum who founded it. It is situated along Lake Ohrid, 29 kilometres south of the city of Ohrid. The Lake Ohrid area, including St. Naum, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Macedonia.
From the center of Ohrid to St. Naum monastery is a short drive, about 45 minutes on narrow country road by car.  Parking is charged for the day and not to expensive.
When you enter monastery complex first you came across a park which has small shops that sell many local products like: honey, brandy, Christian icons, hand-made jewelry and famous local lake jewelry pearls and much more...Continuing our tour and walking to the monastery we came to the small bridge over the river Crn Drim (Black Drim), from where you have two amazing post card views. 
Set amidst lush verdure where the River Crn Drim tumbles into the lake, the monastery of St. Naum is a refuge of tranquility at the very southwestern corner of the Macedonian Republic. The area around St. Naum monastery is among the most beautiful along the shore of Lake Ohrid. Just before merging with the Lake Ohrid, River Crn Drim widens in a small lake. Still inside the Saint Naum Monastery complex, colorful covered motor boats sit waiting to whisk visitors over the lake to see the springs of St. Naum. The water here is fed by Lake Prespa and is astoundingly clear – at some points it is 3.5m deep and still you can see the bottom as if it were swimming right before your eyes.
The main reason to take the boat trip (other than for a bit of picturesque relaxation bobbing on the lake) is to witness the springs bubbling up from the lake bed. Because of the water clarity it's extremely easy to see. In some places calcification causes the rocks to turn white – it's quite a sight. At the end of the lake is a small chapel.
The charge for this trip is per boat, so if you wait for more people the price per person will become cheaper.

Little about the history...

The old church was built on a rock above the Lake with a wonderful view of Lake Ohrid and the surrounding mountains. Later on the church was completed with lodgings and a bell tower finishing the final look of the current monastery. The monastery lodging compartments are now adapted into a hotel. A traditional restaurant is also found on the location. Tourists from all around the world that visit Macedonia, pick this destination every year.

The original church was dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The church was built on this site in the 10th century as a memorial of the Slavonic educator Saint Naum of Ohrid, the disciple of Cyril and Methodius and the associate of Clement of Ohrid. The names of St. Naum and St. Clement are praised because of their creation of the Cyrillic alphabet. St. Naum was also buried in the church in the year of 910. St. Naum's monasteries of the Holy Archangels together with Clement’s monastery of St. Pantheleimon in Ohrid are the earliest known Slavonic monuments in the region of Ohrid. This represents another important religious, cultural and tour attraction in this part of Macedonia.
As with most Byzantine churches, St. Naum was chosen primarily for its location – on a high, rocky outcropping over the lake, above deep forests and life-giving springs of the river Crn Drim.
The monastery has been renewed and enlarged several times over the centuries. While most of its iconostases and frescoes date from the 16th and 17th century, earlier etchings in the Byzantine Greek vernacular also remain. But numerous orthographical mistakes indicate that they were written by Slavic-speaking local monks. Other inscriptions in the church make up some of the oldest epigraphic evidence of Slavic literacy. The icons of St. Naum are some of the best religious painting achievements in the Balkans. They date from the first half of the 18th century. The wood-carved iconostasis itself was made in 1711 by an unknown artisan.
A peculiar element of St. Naum is located not on the inside of the church but on the outside: the preponderance of multi-colored peacocks strutting around and luxuriating in the grass. They are so gracious and friendly, not scared of people at all. Posing for picture or climbing all over the place, they are like home pets.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Archaeological Underwater World of Lake Ohrid Region, Albanian Side

The Lake Ohrid region has a very rich underwater archaeology, which has not been fully explored. The negative aspect of this lack of exploring is that people living beside the lake and the Albanians in general are not aware of the amazing heritage the region possesses. On the bright sight, this has contributed for the underwater world to remaining untouched, not ruined or robbed.

Scientifically and archaeologically Lake Ohrid is part of a geographic region that includes Lake Maliq (today the fields of Maliq) and the Large and Small Prespa lakes. This region has great underwater potential that is being explored by the Institute of Archaeology, particularly in the last decade.
 Adrian Anastasi is the head of the Underwater Archaeology Sector in Albania’s Institute of Archaeology and has directed all the underwater scientific projects in the region, during the last years. He created his team of young passionate specialists, trained and certified internationally. Together they are exploring, digging and studying the precious archaeological objects in the lakes and seas of Albania, in the framework of the project The archaeological map of Albanian shores, approved by the Institute and the National Council of Archaeology in the Ministry of Culture.
Starting from the period 2005–2007, Mr Anastasi and his team started the first exploration of the waters of Lake Ohrid on the Albanian side. The first topographical and geo-archaeological explorations began in the area from Pogradec to Hudenisht, and from Buqeze to Lin close to the border with Macedonia. What they found was amazing. Anastasi stated that there are “Five potentially rich underwater areas—recorded as Lin1, 2 and 3, and Hudenisht 1 and 2”. The team studied the findings and classified them as a prehistoric cultural heritage of great importance, not only for Albania but for the Balkans and beyond.
Sites Lin 1 and 3 date to the Neolithic era and Hudenisht 1 and 2 to the Bronze and early Iron ages, while Lin 2 is classified as heritage from the modern period, though nevertheless of special importance because a wooden mooring stands still in good condition, the remains of a small port, set in a stone basement. This may have served as a place to anchor small ships and characteristic wooden boats, dating back some three centuries.
Another important goal of the scientific work was the identification and mapping of the coordinates of this rich heritage area in order to protect it from the plans of local urban development and prevent damage and theft of archaeological objects. All the findings from the Lake Ohrid underwater area are reported to the Institute of Monuments in Tirana, the National Council of Archaeology, Regional Directorate of Korca under the Ministry of Culture and the Directorate of Border Police, Pogradec. Anastasi says that every exploration has been done with special attention paid to the UNESCO standards of the Paris Convention, November 2001. 
For the moment the team has drafted a map of the sites and compiled a range of documents, including graphics, videos and photographs. They have also extracted some small objects from the sites for further study, placing them for the moment in the Archaeological Museum at Durres. The findings were presented at the conference Days of Albanology, held at the National History Museum, Tirana, in December 2015 and published in the yearly bulletin 2015–2016 of the Institute of Archaeology. There are some findings also from explorations undertaken in the Prespa lakes, which are integrated with those from Lake Ohrid in order to gain a broader view of the relationships that existed among the old settlements, including also with other areas such as Maliq, Dunavec and Sovjan, Korca.
The main obstacle to further exploration and studies is financial support from the respective ministries, local governments and interested organisations, which can help greatly for this heritage to be explored and become known to the public of the region and the wider world.
Anastasi concluded that there is great potential to turn the region into a cultural tourism area, especially the protected site of Lin 3, where some additional ideas include: underwater digging and exploration, and opening of a National Museum. Also a diving centre could be opened, dedicated to people who love to explore underwater cultural heritage.

Bota nënujore e rajonit të liqenit të Ohrit, pjesa shqiptare

Liqeni i Ohrit është shumë i pasur me arkeologjinë nënujore, e cila nuk është eksploruar plotësisht. Aspekti negativ i kësaj mungese eksplorimi është se njerëzit që jetojnë pranë liqenit dhe shqiptarët në përgjithësi nuk janë në dijeni të trashëgimisë së jashtëzakonshme që rajoni ka. Ana e mirë e kësaj mosnjohje është se bota nënujore fatmirësisht ka mbetur e paprekur, nuk është shkatërruar dhe vjedhur.
Liqeni i Ohrit në këndvështrimin shkencor dhe në një klasifikim arkeologjik është pjesë e rajonit gjeografik ku përfshihet, ish Liqeni i Maliqit, (sot fusha e Maliqit) dhe Liqenet e Prespës së Madhe dhe asaj të Vogël. Ai ka një potencial të madh arkeologjik nënujor, i cili po zbulohet dhe studiohet nga Instituti i Arkeologjisë, sidomos në dhjetëvjeçarin e fundit. Ardian Anastasi është drejtuesi i arkeologjisë nënujore në Institutin e vetëm të Arkeologjisë në Shqipëri dhe gjatë gjithë këtyre viteve, me pasion ka drejtuar të gjitha projektet kërkimore shkencore të zhvilluara në këtë liqen.
Ai ka krijuar dhe drejton që prej një dekade, ekipin e tij të kërkimeve arkeologjike nënujore, të trajnuar dhe të çertifikuar ndërkombëtarisht, të cilët zbulojnë, gërmojnë dhe studiojnë pasuritë e vyera arkeologjike nënujore në liqenet dhe detet që lagin brigjet shqiptare në kuadër të projektit kombëtar “Harta Arkeologjike Nënujore e Bregdetit Shqiptar”, të miratuar nga Instituti i Arkeologjisë dhe Këshilli Kombëtar i Arkeologjisë në Ministrinë e Kulturës.
Në vitet 2005-2007 Anastasi dhe ekipi i tij nisi eksplorimet e tija të para nënujore në Liqenin e Ohrit, pjesën shqiptare. Nga studimet paraprake topografike dhe gjeoarkeologjike u vendos që kërkimet të zhvilloheshin dhe të privilegjonin zonat në sekuencën Pogradec – Hudënisht – Buqezë – Lin – kufiri me FYROM. Ajo çka ai zbuloi në këtë rajon ishte e jashtëzakonshme. “U zbuluan pesë zona me potencial shumë të lartë arkeologjik, të cilat u klasifikuan me emërtimet Lin 1, 2 dhe 3 si dhe Hudënisht 1 dhe 2” - thote Anastasi.
Ekipi i drejtuar prej tij, i klasifikoi këto zbulime si trashëgimi kulturore prehistorike të një rëndësie të veçantë, jo vetëm për vendin tonë, por të një niveli Ballkanik dhe më gjërë.
Vendbanimet palafite prehistorike të Neolitit i përkasin sitet arkeologjike Lin 1 dhe 3, ato të Bronzit të mesëm dhe fillimit të periudhës së Hekurit i përkasin sitet arkeologjike Hudënisht 1 dhe 2, ndërsa siti Lin 2 klasifikohet i periudhës moderne, por që ka një rëndësi të veçantë, pasi është dëshmia e vetme deri më tani, e një skele me këmbë druri të përforcuara me një bazament të madh gurësh. Ajo ka shërbyer për qëndrimin e anijeve të vogla dhe barkave karakteristike të drurit dhe mundet ti ketë fillesat e saj ndoshta edhe tre shekuj më pare.
Një qëllim i rëndësishëm i punës shkencore ishte identifikimi i koordinatave të zonës së trashëgimisë me qëllim mbrojtjen paraprake, si nga planet zhvillimore urbanistike të pushtetit lokal, ashtu edhe nga dëmtimet apo grabitjet klandestine të këtyre sitve arkeologjike. Për të gjitha këto është vënë në dijeni Instituti i Monumenteve në Tiranë, Këshilli Kombëtar i Arkeologjisë, Drejtoria Rajonale e Korçës në varësi nga Ministrisë së Kulturës, si dhe Drejtoria e Policisë Kufitare e Pogradecit.
Anastasi shton se vëmendje të veçantë i është kushtuar aplikimit të standarteve UNESCO për këto site, të cilat janë përcaktuar në Konventën UNESCO të Parisit, Nëntor 2001 dhe që orjentojnë dhe privilegjojnë studimet dhe diagnostikimet të cilat nuk dëmtojnë apo shqetësojnë sitin arkeologjik nënujor. Ekipi ka realizuar planimetritë e këtyre siteve, ka kryer dokumentime të veçanta grafike dhe video-fotografike si dhe ka mare disa kampione enësh për studim, të cilat ndodhen në Muzeun Arkeologjik të Durrësit.
E gjithë kjo punë dhe rëndësia e saj, është prezantuar në konferencën kombëtare “Ditët e Albanologjisë dhjetor 2015” në Muzeun Hitorik Kombëtar në Tiranë si dhe në prezantimet e institutit të arkeologjisë në analizat e punës së fund vitit 2015-16. Këto zbulime janë integruar edhe me rezultatet e kërkimeve tona ne Liqenet e Prespës së Madhe dhe asaj të Vogël, për të krijuar një opinion më të zgjeruar shkencor mbi marrëdhëniet që kanë pasur me njëri-tjetrin keto vendbanime, përfshirë edhe ato të Maliqit, Dunavecit dhe Sovjanit të Korçës.
Për të çuar përpara këto studime, ide dhe bashkëpunime del e nevojshme edhe mbështetja financiare nga ana e ministrive përkatëse, pushtetit vendor pse jo dhe nga organizmat e interesuar që kjo trashëgimi të eksploroihet dhe të bëhet e njohur për publikun e rajonit dhe më gjerë.
Anastasi thotë se zona ka një potencial shumë të madh turistik për ta kthyer rajonin rreth liqenit të Ohrit, në pjesën shqiptare, veçanërisht zonën Lin 3 si një zonë ideale ku mund të zhvillohen eksporime nënujore dhe hapja e një Muzeu Kombëtar. Po kështu mund të hapet dhe një qendër zhytjeje, që t’i kushtohet njerëzve që duan të eksplorojnë trashëgiminë kulturore nënujore.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Snail of Ohrid

Gocea ohridana is a snail found in only one location in the world—Lake Ohrid.

The whole population lives under stones in an area not bigger than 10 km2 at a depth of down to 3 m. Globally classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the main threats this snail faces include deforestation of the neighbouring areas that lead to erosion and an increased sediment load, stressing its ability to filter water.

Pollution from sewage from the settlements around the lake and agriculture in the Prespa Lakes basin, which drains into Lake Ohrid through underground connections, is another major threat to this species. The good news, however, is that the Macedonian part of Lake Ohrid is protected as a World Heritage Site.

The Albanian side is currently under national protection, while an international effort is under way to extend the existing World Heritage Property to cover the whole region of the lake.
Story by: Altina Ismaili and IUCN

Gocea ohridana është një kërmill që gjendet vetëm në një vend të botës, në Liqenin e Ohrit. Gjithë popullsia e tyre jeton nën gurë në një zonë jo më të madhe se 10 km2 ne një thellësi deri në 3 m. Globalisht klasifikohet si mjaft e rrezikuar në listën e kuqe të IUCN për speciet e kërcënuara. Kërcënimi më i madh me të cilën përballet ky kërmill është shpyllëzimi në zonat e afërta, që cojnë në erozion dhe një rritje të ngarkesës së sendimenteve që pengojnë aftësinë e tij për ta filtruar ujin.

Ndotja nga ujërat e zeza që derdhen në liqen është një tjetër kërcënim për këto specie.
Lajmi i mirë është se sidoqoftë pjesa maqedonase e liqenit është e mbrojtur si trashëgimi botërore. Pjesa shqiptare është aktualisht nën mbrojtje kombëtar ndërsa një përpjekje ndërkombëtare po realizohet për ta shtrirë pasurinë aktuale botërore dhe për ta mbuluar gjithë rajonin e liqenit.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Why you should visit Ohrid in winter

When tourists are gone and winter is in the air, Ohrid becomes again the picturesque lakeside town that has enchanted visitors since the Byzantine Empire.
Actually, it is one of the 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are on both the Cultural and the Natural lists.
But I can’t help thinking about the time when I was on the other side of the lake, on the Albanian shore

The two experiences could not be more different: the touristy, postcard-perfect Macedonian outline of the Ottoman houses and the rough, neglected jumble of concrete on the Albanian side.
Anyone who has visited both sides of Ohrid Lake knows that these two landscapes are not a just lake, but a whole world apart.

By Giulia Blocal
The Ottoman houses on the shore of the lake are veiled in the morning mist, as if they were white ghosts against a blanket of white. This enveloping whiteness hovers over the wooden boats scattered around the lake and swallows the crown of houses ranged around it. Nevertheless, I know how beautiful the view is, having seen countless postcard-perfect pictures of this UNESCO-listed lake, which is one of the oldest in the world.
Ohrid in winter
When tourists are gone and winter is in the air, Ohrid becomes again the picturesque lakeside town that has enchanted visitors since the Byzantine Empire.The pale light of the sun reflects on deserted cobbled streets, and this glowing fog melts in time with the footfalls of the few people wandering around. The ancient stones drenched with rain emanate a wet, winterish smell, which –here and there- is abruptly interrupted by the warm smell of oven-baked bureks. 
The churches are scented with incense. Ohrid is well-known for its churches, which were 365 originally –one for each day of the year- a feature which won it the epithet of ‘the Jerusalem of the Balkans‘.
Ohrid’s churches, as well as its architecture, span more than two millennia, but this is just one of the reasons why this enchanting city is recognized by UNESCO. Actually, it is one of the 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are on both the Cultural and the Natural lists.

I didn’t stumble upon any celebrations inside Ohrid’s churches. Rather, I always found a profound silence only occasionally interrupted by footsteps tiptoeing on the marble floorings: a solemn atmosphere I bet you can only find during this time of the year, when the town becomes quiet and idyllic again.

Unlike with my usual ‘travel-style’, I visited a lot of churches when in Ohrid, starting off with an ambitious plan in the early morning, but then slowly adopting a more Balkan approach as the day passed by. 
This implied Turkish coffees, Skopsko beers, some meaty snacks and the ubiquitous Ohrid trout, which is the protagonist of the traditional cuisine of the area and the only thing that the Macedonian shore has in common with the Albanian side across the lake.The area is also well-known for its centuries-old tradition of wine making. Macedonians love to drink, and Ohrid’s porches overlooking the lake are the perfect place to do it. During the summer, all these lakeside cafés are bustling, but now the paved promenade is empty and everything looks more authentic.

Even the accordion player at a fancy restaurant goes for Tose Proeski’s very Macedonian songs rather than the international repertoire of the summer. When the music stops, the only sound I can hear is the rhythmic percussion of waves on sand.
As I watch them coming and going, I can’t help thinking about the time when I was on the other side of the lake, on the Albanian shore. The two experiences could not be more different: the touristy, postcard-perfect Macedonian outline of the Ottoman houses and the rough, neglected jumble of concrete on the Albanian side.
Anyone who has visited both sides of Ohrid Lake knows that these two landscapes are not a just lake, but a whole world apart.

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