Monday, May 30, 2016

Breathtaking Balkans: The Best of Ohrid, Macedonia

On the shores of one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes, you will find a confluence that defines the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: cobblestoned paths lined with ornate churches lead to lakeside beaches and cafes that fill with sunbathers each summer. Legend has it that at one point, Ohrid, the largest town on the eponymous lake that forms Macedonia’s southwest border with Albania, was home to 365 churches: one for every day of the year.

While the many churches and monasteries that dot the lakeshore boast some of the best examples of Macedonian Orthodox iconography—and the seat of the religion has rested here since 2005—Ohrid and the surrounding region have plenty to offer believers and non-believers alike. For adventure enthusiasts, the town sits between three of Macedonia’s national parks where one can find great hiking, biking, rock climbing and paragliding. For the oenophiles, Ohrid is an easy day trip to many of the 84 wineries that make up Macedonia’s up-and-coming wine industry. To discover these wineries, and get an insider’s take on any activity, look up local tour operator Time for Macedonia can help organize activities to suit anyone’s interests around Ohrid and beyond.

For those looking to party as the locals do, visit during the annual Ohrid Summer Festival, which takes place from July 12 to August 20 this summer and will be capped off with a Prodigy concert that is expected to draw 15,000 visitors to the region. One can happily spend a weekend at the summer beach parties on Gradiste Beach or Plaza Orevce, but check out our other recommendations for a two-day stop in Macedonia’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site that are good for spring and fall as well.

Read the full article here:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Biodiversity is the foundation of life- International day of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the foundation of life. This was the message delivered this year on International Day for Biological Diversity, marked around the world every 22 May.
The theme for this year was “Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods”. "Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it supports are the foundations for life on Earth and the livelihoods and well-being of people everywhere", United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on the International Day for Biological Diversity.
“On this International Day for Biodiversity, I urge all Governments and stakeholders to preserve and sustainably manage the variety of life on Earth for the benefit of current and future generations,” he said.
This year’s campaign draws attention to the critical role played by biodiversity in underpinning people’s livelihoods and sustainable development in all economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism. The central message being that by halting biodiversity loss we are investing in people, their lives and their well-being.
Lake Ohrid by @SlavicaPanova
The same message is raised for Our Lake Ohrid, which harbors an outstanding degree of endemic biodiversity. Harboring about 1,500 species, and more than 300 endemic species, Lake Ohrid is probably by far the most diverse lake in the world taking surface area into account. 

The focus of this year campaign is also on migratory animals, who are too often threatened by man-made activities such as the loss, degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats, barriers to their movement, poisoning and unsustainable hunting and trapping. This is particularly alarming, as these species perform vital ecosystem services.

This is why stakeholders on Lake Ohrid region need to work together to safeguard the conservation and sustainable use of this natural and cultural heritage. 


Monday, May 16, 2016

Awarding Ceremony on #OurLakeOhrid Social Media Competition

A small awarding ceremony was organized at the Palace of Culture, in Pogradec on 10 May 2016, to announce 10 winners of #OurLakeOhrid Social Media Photo Competition.

Ten winners are: Adnan Beci; Teodora Krasimirova Koleva; Betim Berisha; Elena Nikolovska; Ardian Fezollari; Slavica Panova; Marijana Pipe Pipileva; Stefanija Vidovski; Nikola Naumoski; Marko Blazevski

The social media competition had a wide coverage with participants mainly from Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and other countries, people who visited Lake Ohrid and shared their memories, stories emotions. Three of winners made their journey to attend the ceremony in Pogradec. Organizers used this opportunity to share the news, and the location of Palace of Culture at the heart of the city of Pogradec was chosen to give more visibility to the project.

The Photo &Story Contest on Lake Ohrid, was launched on Instagram and on Facebook page and lasted from 7 March to 7 April 2016. The aim of this photo contest was to raise awareness about the values and importance of trans-boundary Lake Ohrid among people from both sides of the Lake.

The social media competition was organized in the framework of the Project: "Towards strengthened governance of the shared trans-boundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region", which is supported by the European Union and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Albania.

UNESCO Project Officer of this project Mrs Alexandra Fiebig thanked all participants in this Social Media Competition and congratulated the winners on behalf of UNESCO.

Winners were given certificates and gift bags branded with Lake Ohrid Region (LOR) project logo. (each bag containing: a LOR coat, a LOR thermos cup, a LOR 8GB USB key, a LOR notebook and a pen).

Check top 10 photos here

"I am not here to talk as photographer, but as a citizen. We didn't run for the prize, but this is a chance to contribute somehow to our Lake Ohrid. We owe it to our Lake"-said one of the winners based on Pogradec, Mr Fezollari.

More than 450 photos were posted on Instagram and Facebook through this competition, and at the first stage there were 50 best photos voted from UNESCO and its advisory bodies, ICOMOS, IUCN, and ICCROM. At the final stage Albanian Government institutions as well we EU and other partners expressed their votes. The good number of submission showed a high interest from local communities, but also from tourists toward the values and beauties of Lake Ohrid.
Another competition will run at a later stage, and the panel of voters will include the top ten winners of this competition.

The #OurLakeOhrid social media competition was organized by UNESCO in cooperation with PR company in Tirana, Manderina Promotions.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fourth Management Planning Workshop of the Lake Ohrid region

The Fourth Management Planning Workshop, in the framework of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” will take place in Tushemisht, Albania, on 12 and 13 May 2016.

The workshop will be an opportunity to present the progress to date on the development of the management planning document required for the preparation of the extension file to the World Heritage property “Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region” (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) to the Albanian part of the Lake Ohrid. Through extensive group work, the workshop will have a thematic focus on a) the preparation of the Master Plan for the Municipality of Pogradec, b) the Lin Peninsula, c) the Drilon Springs, d) the Memelisht site and its surroundings, and e) the ecological and physical environment of Lake Ohrid region.

This management planning workshop series is part of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” funded European Union and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Albania).
More information about the Lake Ohrid region project can be found at:
Lake Ohrid, Pogradec, Albania (23/03/2016) / UNESCO


Promoting nature, culture and World Heritage in the Lake Ohrid region

Lake Ohrid Pogradec, Albania
The training course “Promoting nature, culture and World Heritage in the Lake Ohrid region” in the framework of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” takes place in Pogradec and Tushemisht, Albania, on 10 and 11 May 2016.

The training course aims to provide participants with the necessary tools and approaches available for the promotion and interpretation of assets of collective importance to humankind, whilst increasing appreciation of shared heritage values among existing and new audiences in a way that enhances the achievement of the shared management objectives for the heritage place. The training will also contribute indirectly to progress in the management planning process in view of the proposed Albanian extension to the World Heritage property “Natural and cultural heritage of the Ohrid region” (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) with ideas that will address the need to build unique narratives around a common identity for this potential mixed (nature/culture) transboundary World Heritage property. In accordance with the 2011 World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy, the training strives to achieve broader capacity building of heritage practitioners, institutions, organizations, communities and networks for heritage management and conservation in the Lake Ohrid region through people-centred changes.

The training will offer conceptual background, case studies and group exercises dedicated to the entire Lake Ohrid region and participants will be able to gain good understanding of the role of cultural and natural heritage in sustainable development, sustainable tourism, audience development, data gathering and strategic planning. It will have a focus on the particular demands of a mixed (natural and cultural) transboundary site.

This training course takes place as part of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region”, funded by European Union and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Albania).

More information about the Lake Ohrid region project can be found at: 

10 Winners of #OurLakeOhrid Social Media Contest announced

10 Winners of #OurLakeOhrid Social Media Contest announced. 
The Photo Contest was organized in the framework of the Project:Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region, founded by European Union and Albanian Government and is implementing by UNESCO. The aim of this project is to improve transboundary cooperation and management effectiveness for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage in the Lake Ohrid region.
#OurLakeOhrid Photo & Story Contest around the Lake Ohrid region and its heritage takes place on Instagram  and the Lake Ohrid Heritage Facebook page was open from 7 March to 7 April 2016. About 450 photos were posted on Facebook and Instagram. A jury from EU, UNESCO, IUCN, ICOMOS, selected 10 winning photos based on the terms and condition published in the page dedicated to this Photo Contest.

We are pleased to announce the top 10 Winners of #OurLakeOhrid photo Contest. Here are the 10 winning photos:

Silhouette by Adnan Beci (Instagram)
The village of Radozda, photo by Elena Nikolovska @redredvine
My Best Souvenir by Teodora Krasimirova Koleva

Sv stefan Ohrid by @MarijanaPipePipileva

Spring fairytale by Stefanija Vidovski  @svidovski

Autumn Drilon by Ardian Fezollari @ardianfezollari

Radozda Struga overlooking Lin, Albania a photo by Slavica Panova @slavicapanova

Sunrise Lake Ohrid by Betim Berisha @betimberisha

Snake in the Lake. photo by Marko Blazevski @blazevskimarko

Sunset by Nikola Naumoski @nikolanajk1
The 10 winning photos are posted with following accounts:
Adnan Beci (Instagram); My Best Souvenir (Instagram) Betim Berisha (Instagram) Ardian Fezollari (Instagram); @redredvine (Instagram); Slavica Panova (Facebook); Marijana Pipe Pipileva (Facebook); @Svidoski (Instagram); @nikolanajk1 (Instagram) ; @blazevskimarko (Instagram)

For the winners Unesco will provide a Certificate and also a Lake Ohrid region (LOR) gift bag (content of the bag: a LOR coat, a LOR thermos cup, a LOR 8GB USB key, a LOR notebook and a pen). Congratulation to the winners and to all contributors. It was a great help to promote together our transboundary Lake Ohrid.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Albania will host for the 4th year, The Environment Film Festival

Albania will host for the 4th year in a row, The Environment film Festival, which will take place from 22 May -5 June 2016. Ecology, culture, economy, migrations, wars and social issues, among many others, are the essence of why this festival is created by aiming to share and exchange common and future concerns.

The Festival is organized in 8 locations: Shkodra, Tirana, Vlora, Skrapar, Permet, Erseke, Gjirokaster and Valbona. More than 70 movies were received from more than 40 countries.

The competition will focus on these categories: Long Movies, (Movies of more than 20 min), Short Movies, (less than 20 min); EFTA lab; EFTA Young Talents. The detailed Programme about movies, the Jury and other information about the Festival is now published. (

EFFA is organized by the Albanian Ministry of Environment and the Delegation of the European Union to Albania, in collaboration with Embassies and NGOs’ partners in the country.

“Artists from Albania and the world bring to the Environmental Film Festival their focus towards the environment, merging political and social boundaries, as environment itself is” said Environment Minister Lefter Koka about this Festival.

Also the Head of EU Delegation in Tirana, Mrs Mrs Romana Vlahutin expressed her enthusiasm and support about this event. “The European Union takes a leading role globally in addressing environmental protection, action on climate change, energy efficiency, raising awareness and promoting public consultation. Here in Albania, in the Western Balkans and across the world, a safe environment can only improve our quality of life, our health, our productivity, and our economy. The Festival provides an excellent opportunity to witness global and local environment issues and to see and reflect how solutions are found and how challenges are managed.”, she said.

The Environmental Film Festival Albania holds and defends the idea that the right to environment is a right for everyone, a common good that has a great relevance and importance for our daily life and for the planet we live in.

For more information: