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 second project: Evidence based campaign on protecting Lake Ohrid", was implemented by DMO ALBANIA, 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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Interview with Mayor of Pogradec, Mr Kapri about the Project

Interview with the Mayor of Pogradec, Mr. Eduard Kapri to discuss the shared responsibilities and benefits of the project

Mayor of Pogradec, Mr. Eduard Kapri
What does the project: "Towards Strengthened Governance of the Shared Transboundary Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Lake Ohrid region mean for Pogradec?

Mr. Kapri: The project started with the signing of an Agreement in 2005 between the governments of FYROM and Albania for the protection and sustainable development of Lake Ohrid and its watershed. Both governments are committed to undertaking development and spatial management plans of the area of Lake Ohrid. A steering committee of experts from the two countries are working together to define the criteria, standards, restrictions and clear objectives for the protection of Lake Ohrid region in accordance with EU standards and principles. We hope this project will contribute in this direction.

What are the concrete measures that the Municipality of Pogradec will undertake to save and protect Lake Ohrid?

Mr. Kapri: Based on the new administrative division of Albania, Pogradec Municipality is the sole local government unit responsible for the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid. Currently, our municipality is preparing a Local Action Plan (LAP) and is one of 26 municipalities to be financially and technically supported by the Government of Albania. Issues related to the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Lake Ohrid basin as well as conservation, water quality, its flora and fauna, will be an integral part of the plan.

What is the tourism development plan for the area? Will there be constructions on the lake shore?

Mr. Kapri: We see tourism development of the area as an essential factor for economic development and support the idea of alternative tourism, in order to make our Lake Ohrid very attractive for tourists throughout the whole year. Pogradec has plenty of tourism resources, which need a new management concept, so that they can bring revenues to the local community. We are also looking at ways of cooperation over tourism with the Macedonian side. The introduction of Lake Ohrid as a joint ecosystem and having a unified tourism product will really have a positive impact on both countries and increase the number of tourists.

How do you plan to raise awareness and involve the community to save the outstanding values of Lake Ohrid ?

Mr. Kapri: Pogradec inherits a tradition and obligation to conserve and protect Lake Ohrid. Our citizens have always seen the lake as a valuable resource, and have treated it as a gift from God. A network of local environmental NGO-s was established during 1996-2004, under the Regional Environmental Centre in order to raise public awareness and participation, thus becoming a factor and a partner of the municipality in decision making for the region of Lake Ohrid. We also consider as a necessity the cross-border cooperation. Together with municipalities of Struga and Ohrid we signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Wismar and another on technical cooperation, will be signed in Ohrid. This is the only way to ensure sustainable development of the Lake, inspired by the motto "One lake, one vision, one future"

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tourism/ Ohrid City, the pearl of Balkans

Located on the shores of Lake Ohrid, the city of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Ohrid, the wider lake region is a prime destination for Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia, with the city's old quarter containing beautiful churches along a graceful hill, topped by a medieval castle overlooking the majestic 34 km-long Lake Ohrid. This is undoubtedly the most alluring attraction of the Lake Ohrid region.

Cultural Heritage
Built mostly between the 7th and 19th centuries, Ohrid is home to one of the oldest Slav monasteries (St Pantelejmon) with more than 800 middle Byzantine icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. This icon collection is considered to be one the most important in the world. Ohrid comprises one of Europe's best preserved archaeological complexes with remains dating from the Bronze Age up to the Middle Ages, The city boasts unique religious architecture dating from the 7th to 19th centuries as well as urban structures showcasing a vernacular architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries. All of these present a treasure of historic, architectural, cultural and artistic values.

What to see
Ohrid's major attractions are all located within a remarkably concentrated and easily accessible area, among and above the narrow streets of the Old Town lined with restaurants and cafes perfectly suited for relaxing against the backdrop of the lake. Top attractions in the city include : Sv. Jovan Kaneo, Sv. Naum Monastery Galicica, National Park Tsar Samuel's Fortress, Saint Sophia Church, Sv Kliment Monastery, Plaoshnik Church.

What to do
Ohrid's many cafe bars and nightclubs make for a vibrant nightlife. As for the lake itself, it is so large and so deep that one might mistake it for a sea. For water sports lovers, fishing and boating are available, and numerous churches alongside the lake shores make for fascinating side trips and walks; while nature and adventure travellers can explore the National Park of Galicicia, an unspoiled wilderness ideal for nature enthusiasts. To gain a better feeling of the city, we recommend a gentle stroll along Lake Ohrid shore having a coffee, a glass of wine or a meal overlooking the lake. Ohrid and its beaches are packed from 15 July to 15 August, during the popular summer festival when it seems half of Macedonia descends on the town. The bars and restaurants are full during the summer, while June or September are much quieter enabling one to reflect next to the lake.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Albania defines the buffer zone protecting Basilica of Lin Peninsula, Pogradec

Albanian National Council for Restoration at Ministry of Culture defined the Buffer Zone for protecting cultural heritage in the area of Lin Village Pogradec.
Ruins of Paleo Christian Church
The protected area includes the ruins of Paleo-Christian Church and Mosaics, which are considered as Monuments of First Category. The Paleo Christian basilica of Lin is situated in the West Side of Lin peninsula and represents one of the most important monuments of Albanian heritage. The structure is decorated with colorful mosaics of flowers motifs, geometric and Eucharistic scenes, belonging to early Christian Period.
Archaeological excavations and numismatic records of Basilica with mosaic floor are dating back in V-VI the century.
Poly-chrome mosaics and rich archaeological material, make the Church one of the most beautiful monuments and the most interesting site in the territory of Albania.

The floor mosaics of Church
Two-thirds of Lake Ohrid is inscribed on the World Heritage List on the Macedonian side of the lake as the mixed World Heritage property “Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region”. Now time has come to join our efforts and take over our responsibilities to extend World Heritage status to the remaining third of the lake located in Albania.
The project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” has been designed to address the main factors affecting the Lake Ohrid region through identifying and safeguarding the main natural and cultural assets of the Lake and improving transboundary cooperation and management.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=535532196618586&id=263081923863616

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tourism/ Pogradec, in harmony with nature

Pogradec is one of the most charming tourism destinations in Albania set on the shores of Lake Ohrid. The journey to Pogradec is always inspiring. The more you travel here, the more you become addicted to the city. Travelling over Qafe Thane, reaching the pass and begining the descent down to Lake Ohrid and the beautiful village of Lin with its magnificent scenery surrounded by hills unfolds itself like a book to the eye of the tousists. The beauty and tranquility of the lake move your soul. Once in the city, a long promenade, invites you for a long walk. Pogradec is very welcoming, and people are among the most friendly in Albania, the lake has softened their hearts.. The city was home to many of the country's famous writers and poets: Lasgush Poradeci and Mitrush Kuteli, and lately Luan Starova and painters Anastas Kostandini(Taso), Gjergji Lako, Gentian Zeka, Vangjo Vasili and Ilir Dhima.

Cultural heritage
In the west side of Lin pennisula you can visit the paleochristian church, a National Cultural Monument of Albania included within the site on the UNESCO Tentative List of Albania for the Natural and Cultural Heritage of Ohrid Region (Albania). The Illyrian Tombs of Selca e Poshtme (40km from Pogradec) is another important site to visit. The tombs rest among the remains of the ancient city of Pelion, an Illyrian settlement of the Enchele tribe and the residence of Illyrian kings. In 1996, Albania proposed the Royal tombs of Selca e Poshtme on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. Other archaeological sites include: Other churches to visit are the church of Saint Dimitri (small Orthodox church of 1154 AD) and the church of Saint Marena ( Orthodox church rebuilt in 1744).

What to see
Lin Village and its mosaic are a natural first stop on a jounrey to Pogradec. The village lies in a quiet and picturesque bay, with beautiful houses with red tiled roofs
Drilon National Park, is also an essential place to see in Pogradec with crystal clear springs that supply the beautiful channels overhung with trees and ornamental plants. This was the holiday home for the former dictator Enver Hoxha, whose villa is now a hotel and restaurant.
Tushemisht Village and its newly renovated centre is not to be missed. The blogger Yomadic refers to it as Albania's "small Venice" full of canals with clear waters emerging from the mountain that ironically is named "The Dry Mountain".

What to do
Pogradec is perfect for a relaxing holiday. Peak months are July and August, when the lakeside teems with beach lovers in the sun. Pedal boats are available, and canoeing and kayaking activities are growing in popularity.. Off season, the city goes back to its tranquility, and is ideal for walking and meditation. In winter the scenes are very panoramic, often spectacular with snow covering the mountains, set above a background of green and blue. One of the highlights of Pogradec is its delicious cuisine.

Training on Integrated Management of Heritage Landscapes will take place on 31 March in Lin, Pogradec, Albania

The Collaborative and Integrated Management of Protected and Heritage Landscapes Training, which is part of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” will take place on 31 March – 1 April 2016 in the Lin Peninsula, Albania.

Management of the potential extension of the World Heritage property “Natural and Cultural Heritage in the Ohrid region” in Albania and the overlapping Pogradec Protected Landscape will require a collaborative approach, involving the large number of stakeholders with interests in the area. It will also require establishing a harmonious balance of nature, culture, landscape and development.

So-called ‘co-management’ is a less familiar form of governance for many of those who will have responsibility for the area. This short course will bring together representatives of all the main stakeholders to learn about how to develop an integrated and cooperative approach to managing complex landscapes.

The course will have a strong focus on interactive learning, with an emphasis on group work, practical exercises, case studies and field work.

This project is co-funded by the European Union and the Government of Albania, and aims to improve transboundary cooperation and management effectiveness for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage in the Lake Ohrid region.

More information about the Lake Ohrid region project can be found at: whc.unesco.org/en/lake-ohrid-region/

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Third Transboundary Platform Meeting took place in Pogradec, 7 March

Groups of experts from both sides of #LakeOhrid
The third Transboundary Platform Meeting of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” took place on 7 March 2016, Pogradec, Albania. This third meeting on transboundary cooperation is part of a European Union and UNESCO initi ative aiming to reinforce conservation and sustainable development through management effectiveness on both sides of the Lake Ohrid.

Representatives from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Environment, representatives from the National Agency of Protected Areas, representatives from the local governments around the lake, representatives from the Advisory Bodies (ICOMOS and IUCN) as well as UNESCO gathered in Pogradec to pursue their work in establishing a viable cooperation platform.

The aim of Transboundary Platform Meeting was more specifically to present and discuss opportunities in existing transboundary processes for monitoring of the environment and biodiversity which contribute to the safeguarding and the management of the Lake Ohrid region.

Home to an exceptional biodiversity reservoir of Europe, Lake Ohrid is one of the world’s oldest lakes. With remains of some of the first human settlements in Europe, the lake is also an important spiritual centre with one of the oldest Slav monasteries built in the 9th century, making it an important religious centre for the region. Natural, cultural and spiritual, the heritage of the region is truly remarkable.

The area, situated in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is inscribed on the World Heritage List as the property “Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region” since 1979. Today, the addition of the remaining third of the Albanian section of the lake to the World Heritage Property would greatly enhance the integrity of this protection. Transboundary Platform Meetings have been designed to facilitate management and collaboration between Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and aim among others to provide management efficiency strategies for the potential transboundary extension of this mixed World Heritage property.

The area is protected through a number of national and international measures, but unadequate water and solid waste management and illegal building activities have an impact on the integrity of the site today.
More information about the Lake Ohrid region can be found at: whc.unesco.org/en/lake-ohrid-region/


Takimi i trete nderkufitar per mbrojtjen e Liqenit te Ohrit

Në datën 7 mars në qytetin e Pogradecit, u zhvillua takimi i tretë ndërkufitar për mbrojtjen e rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit. Takimi që zhvillohet në kuadër të projektit:“Drejt një qeverisjeje të përbashkët të trashëgimisë natyrore dhe kulturore ndërkufitare të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit”, mblodhi së bashku përfaqësues të Ministrive të Mjedisit dhe Kulturës së Shqipërisë dhe Maqedonisë, përfaqësues të pushtetit vendor Oher, Pogradec e Struga;, ekspertë të çështjeve mjedisore, arkeologjike, instituteve te monumenteve te dy vendeve, ekpertë të organizmave ndërkombëtare si UNESCO, BE, IUCN, ICOMOS që po asistojnë me eksperiencën e tyre në ruajtjen e trashëgimisë natyrore dhe kulturore të Liqenit të përbashkët të Ohrit.
Synimi i këtyre takimeve është të koordinohen masat, veprimet dhe të krijohen hapësirat për një menaxhim të përbashkët të Liqenit të Ohrit. Është një Liqen (nder me te vjetrit dhe me te thelle ne Europe) që bashkon dy vendet, ndaj duhet të punohet në një drejtim. Pëfaqesuesit e qeverive të dy vendeve shprehën gatishmërië e tyre për të punuar me përkushtim dhe në mënyrë të ndërsjelltë, për të adresuar së bashku gjithë problemet që lidhen me këtë pasuri të përbashkët kultuore dhe natyrore.
Pjesa maqedonase e liqenit të Ohrit, (2/3) është futur si pjesë e trashëgimisë kulturore dhe natyrore botërore në listën e UNESCO-s që në vitin 1979. Tashmë po punohet përmes një projekti të financuar nga BE dhe zbatuar nga UNESCO që të përfsihet dhe pjesa shqiptare (1/3) në këtë trashëgimi të mbrojtur nga UNESCO.
Por që të arrihet ky objektiv Shqipëria duhet të plotësojë disa kritere që kanë të bëjnë me cilësinë e ujit të liqenit të Ohrit, me ndalimin e ndërtimeve të paligjshme rreth zonës së mbrojtur, ndalimin e prerjes së pyjeve në zonat që rrethojnë liqenin, me zhvillimin e nje turizmi te kontrolluar etj. Pikërisht për të adresuar këto probleme po punojnë grupet e punës së dy vendeve të asistuar dhe nga ekspertë ndërkombëtarë. Bashkia e Pogradecit mori angazhim maksimal për të adresuar gjithë problemet që u adresuan dhe që hyjnë në kompetencat e saj. Një nga momentet më kyce të gjithë disktuimeve ishte paraqitja e nje studimi të ri dhe te thelluar nga profesoret e Institutit Shqiptar të Arkeologjise për vlerat e jashtëzakonshme arkeologjike që mbart Liqeni i Ohrit, kryesisht në zonën e fshatit Lin, që tregojnë për vendbanimet shumë të hershme shqiptare në këtë zonë, me vlerë historike.
Seria e takimeve të grupeve të punës do të vazhdojë ne menyre intensive. Në fund të këtij muaji është planifikuar një tjetër takim për menaxhimin e përbashkët në fshatin Lin. Ndërsa takimi i radhës ndërkufitar, ku do të paraqiten rezultatet e punës së grupeve të punës, u programua për në vjeshtë të këtij viti.
Projekti: Drejt një qeverisjeje të përbashkët të trashëgimisë natyrore dhe kulturore ndërkufitare të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit, është projekt 3-vjeçar me buxhet 1.87 milion EUR, nga te cilat 1.7 mln euro Kontribut i Bashkimit Evropian, ndërsa Qeveria e Shqipërisë ka dhënë kontributin e saj në vlerën prej 170,000 EUR.

Monday, March 7, 2016

#OurLakeOhrid Photo & Story Contest

We are pleased to announce the launch of an Instagram and Facebook competition around the Lake Ohrid region and its heritage.

How to participate:

Share a special moment/person/quote/story/photograph from the Lake Ohrid region (Albanian and Macedonian sides) on Instagram on or on the Lake Ohrid Heritage Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LakeOhridHeritage using the tag #OurLakeOhrid, along with a brief description. It could be a person, place, scenery, object or a cultural practice or tradition – it's up to you!

The top 5 entries will receive a free 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), and the top 10 will be showcased on the project’s webpage on the World Heritage Centre website as well as associated blogs and social media pages.

What we are looking for:

What will be taken into consideration by the jury is:

- Creativity: we are looking forward to reading imaginative and passionate stories!

- Content: we wish to know why you care about the Lake Ohrid region.

- Composition: the aesthetics and composition of the photograph.

Click here for more informatio:  http://whc.unesco.org/en/ourlakeohrid-photo-contest/

Entries close 7 April 2016.
Best of luck to all participants!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Lake Ohrid Project’s meetings

THE FIRST Management Planning Workshop to protect the transboundary Lake Ohrid region took place on 25 and 26 March 2015 in Korca, a city in southeast Albania and seat of Korca country, which also includes the city of Pogradec, situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid.

The workshop brought together national and local authorities of two sides of the lake and representatives of UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Convention (ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN), who discussed the heritage management systems currently in use in the region, and identified key stakeholders to support the development of a transboundary heritage management plan.

At the meeting stakeholders presentated of the state of the cultural and natural heritage in the Lake Ohrid region, with particular focus on the existing management structures and planning processes and two participatory working sessions. Two main participatory working sessions focused on undertaking a thorough stakeholder analysis, the first session with a thematic approach based on the key themes of the project (waste, sustainable tourism, urban development and spatial planning, civil society and communities), while the second involved group work focused on nature and culture. The mixed composition and size of the groups enabled dialogue across the various sectors and an integrated review of stakeholders present in the Lake Ohrid region.

THE SECOND Management Planning Workshop held on 3 and 4 June in Tirana, Albania, brought together stakeholders from the two sides of the lake to discuss a long-term vision and management objectives for a potential transboundary protection zone for Lake Ohrid. A total of 23 participants attended the workshop, developing jointly four vision statements through working groups led by facilitators from various institutions. The four statements led to a single statement, which will be fine-tuned over the course of the management planning process for the World Heritage extension project. The workshop also focused on mapping, improving knowledge of the area and understanding the different factors affecting the area, in particular ongoing and future projects and initiatives that may have an impact on the Lake Ohrid region and the potential transboundary World Heritage property..

THE THIRD Management Planning Workshop and Thematic Training for the Lake Ohrid Region was hosted in Pogradec, Albania from 7-10 December 2015. The workshop aimed to advance the work done on an integrated management system for the protection and sustainable development of the Lake Ohrid region.

The emphasis of both the Management Planning Workshop and the Thematic Training was on the long-term vision, discussing boundaries and buffer zones, and identifying management objectives for the Lake Ohrid region in Albania ain the ligt of the potential extension of the World Heritage property "Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region" to Albania

Representatives from both countries participated in the workshop, including national authorities from the respective ministries of environment and culture, local authorities from the municipalities of the Lake Ohrid region, Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee (ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN) as well as a representative from UNESCO.

Transboundary Platform Meetings
The Inception Workshop held in Albania on September 2014 kick-started a three year initiative for protection of the Lake Ohrid region, serving also as first transboundary platform to define the roles and responsibilities. Second Transboundary Platform Meeting took place on 2 October 2015 in Ohrid following along the same footsteps. These events are part of a total of six meetings that aim to support the Albanian and Macedonian governments in their efforts to protect the Lake Ohrid area, and intends to create transboundary management structures for effective heritage management. About 20 representatives attended the Transboundary Platform Meeting, including officials from the two countries environment and culture ministries, and from the regions municipalities. UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee (ICOMOS and IUCN) attended the meeting. The Transboundary Platform meeting intends to improve and facilitate bi-lateral cooperation among representatives from both Albanian and Macedonian local and central administrations, the tourism sector, and those in charge of urban and rural development, culture, nature protection, resource management and the environment. The meeting seek to address the main factors affecting the natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region, notably unplanned urban development, waste management, habitat alteration and the destruction and depletion of natural resources.

MILESTONE - The draft Baseline Assessment report prepared under the coordination of ICOMOS and IUCN ECARO has been published. The report provides crucial background information on the Lake Ohrid region in Albania covering a number of themes such as biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, tangible and intangible heritage and tourism.