Monday, June 27, 2016

Questionnaire on Lake Ohrid

What comes to one’s mind when Lake Ohrid is mention? Koran fish, lakeside, boats, swimming, nature? Maybe all of that!

A trial questionnaire was implemented in the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid Region (LOR) in the framework of the project, in order  to gain an understanding of people’s views on the region. The questionnaire, designed by ICCROM, an advisory body to UNESCO, gathered a preliminary set of data through interviewing people living and working in, or visiting, the area. 

The journalist talking to a local in Hudenisht
It was implemented by an Albanian journalist, Mr Genci Angjellari, contracted by IUCN, for an intense five-day campaign. Some 116 people—78 locals and 38 visitors—were interviewed in various locations along the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid including the city of Pogradec and the villages of Lin, Tushemisht, Hudenisht, Verdove, Starove and Drilon.

The questionnaire began by asking questions on the values and attributes of LOR today, gaining an understanding of the public’s current relationship and connections with their heritage, and, indirectly, the level of satisfaction with the current situation. Later sections, on tourism and visitor experience, aimed to gain insight into the impact of tourism on the intangible values and traditional lifestyles in LOR.

Activities associated with LOR
Initial results revealed a local population that has travelled extensively in the lake area and enjoyed many of its heritage places and experiences. Some ten percent of local residents benefit in one way or another from business and employment opportunities connected with tourism. Visitors to LOR seem to be largely domestic and, together with local residents, they identified a range of positive experiences related to the cultural and natural landscape. Future services for visitors would need to be developed in a way that provides both traditional hospitality, both in hotels and through the promotion of more locally based initiatives, such as home stays.
Culinary and agriculture in LOR 

The data gathered were processed by the ICCROM team and preliminary findings were shared at the May Promoting Heritage workshop, which equipped participants with genuine knowledge of the communities living in or visiting the area and their views about LOR. The results of this modest campaign demonstrate the importance of more substantial public consultation in the future and for extension to the Macedonian side of the lake, to inform decision making for managing LOR’s heritage and promoting it as a tourism destination.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Activities on Lake Ohrid Day (21 June)

21st June is Lake Ohrid Day. This decision was taken 16 years ago on February 2000 by the Joint Lake Ohrid Management Board.

This is a day when all the communities living on the shores of Lake Ohrid Region should just remind the outstanding values of Lake Ohrid. They should teach to their children to love and protect this natural treasure. On this occasion, every year three municipalities around Lake Ohrid, (Ohrid, Pogradec and Struga) organize many festive activities. 
This year the day was celebrated in Ohrid City, where a number of cultural and sportive activities  were organized by the Ohrid Municipality. Part of these activities, was the  opening of an exhibition with children's paintings inspired by Lake Ohrid. At the end of this activity, in symbolic way, the Mayor of Ohrid Mr Nikola Bakracheski and the Mayor of Pogradec Mr Eduart Kapri signed a document expressing the commitment of their municipalities to save and protect the world's unique ecosystem of Lake Ohrid. They put the document in a bottle which was taken to the Lake by a canoe boat. This symbolic day engage not only local government but also the community and helps at raising awareness about protecting Lake Ohrid.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Final Management Planning Workshop for the Lake Ohrid region

View from Lin peninsula, Albania (UNESCO)
The Fifth 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 Udënisht, Pogradec area, Albania, on 22 and 23 June 2016.
The workshop will focus on governance systems and more specifically on the identification of mechanisms for the involvement and the coordination of various activities between different partners and stakeholders. Additionally the workshop aims to identify priority themes, targets and actions concerning sustainable development options in the Lake Ohrid region in Albania.
Last of a series of five, this Fifth Management Planning Workshop will be the opportunity to review the outcomes of the Fourth Management Planning Workshop (12-13 May 2016, Tushemisht) along with the conclusions of the Third meeting of the Technical Working Group (19 May 2016, Tirana). These Management Planning Workshops have greatly contributed to the capacity building of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region”.Funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Albania, the project is going towards its final year of implementation.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The 56th Ohrid Summer Festival (12 July -20 August)

The Ohrid Summer Festival is the biggest cultural event in FYR of Macedonia. The 56th Ohrid Summer Festival this year opens in July 12 with a Gala Concert and it will last until 20 August 2016. The festival will offer classical and opera concerts, theatre and dance staged at venues all over the city.

The new Director of this Festival, Oliver Arsovski, once a musician himself who performed in this festival before, considered the Ohrid Summer Festival as one of the most prestigious cultural events not only in Ohrid and Macedonia, but also elsewhere in the region and beyond.
"For years the Ohrid Summer Festival, has established top artistic standards. In addition to the traditional festival program, more attention will be paid this year to its off­-program, including jazz weekends, ballet performances, concerts by famous musicians, etc." said Oliver Arsovski, the Director of Festival. 

These events would be organized when Ohrid is going to be packed with tourists.
This tradition originates from the city of Ohrid – the spiritual capital of Macedonia, the antique city with its magically blue lake, a city with a cultural history marked with values of the ancient civilization, –the city that represents the whole Macedonian cultural and spiritual history.

The first time Ohrid Summer festival was held on 1961 on August 4th in the beautiful cathedral church St. Sophia where the opera singer Ana Lipsha Tofovic marked the beginning of a festival, which later obtained the name Ohrid Summer Festival.
In the first years of the festival, the direct connection of St. Sophia with the vocal music prevailed. In couple of years of self-discovery and outlining its own physiognomy, Ohrid Summer firmly established itself as one of the pivots of the Macedonian cultural tradition.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ohrid Lake featured in well-known Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera

Ohrid Lake divides Albania from Macedonia; it's just smaller than Garda lake, Italy...

It is a lake of 4 million years age, an area slightly smaller than Garda Lake (Italy) with a unique ecosystem in Europe, which has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also a pond where you overlook the historical and political rivals of the past - Albania and Macedonia - as it is now considered by both a treasure to be preserved. This is the Lake Ohrid, located on the border between the two Balkan states. The Lake Ohrid is about four hours drive from Tirana, a great refuge from the hot summer since the average temperature here does not exceed 27 degrees.

Since ancient times, the region is known to be a place for holidays and relaxation rather than a strategic position to advance in the wars or dominate others.

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.