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.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Women of Tushemisht

Tushemisht-Center "The lady from the city' sculpture
Once it was "The lady from the city", now it is "The Women of Tushemisht" with their hospitality in the guest houses that make you feel home.

Drilon spring,near Tushemisht Village
Tushemisht is a small village near Pogradec in Albania. It is located on the shores of Lake Ohrid near the border between Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The village became famous in Albania following release of the film comedy The Lady from the City in which one of Albania’s most beloved actresses, Violeta Manushi, was cast in the role of Teto Ollga.

The story focused on the relationship between the village and an old lady from the city who moved to the village to stay with her beautiful daughter. In the time of the communist regime, young graduates were sent to the villages to work, gain experience and contribute in their field. The daughter, Meli, was a nurse. Teto Ollga held an attitude of superiority towards the villagers, but in the end she found herself well and worked as a chef, contributing to the community. 

As well as being a funny story, the film features great panoramas of the village, the numerous canals, the lake; Drilon springs and the high mountains.
 Tushemisht has a long tradition of hosting guests in homes. Families from all over Albania, have long come here for the summer holidays, being hosted by the hospitable people of the village. 

The people are very friendly, calm and have a genuine smile. The clean and cosy houses are typically run by women the small gardens are beautiful. Canals criss-cross the village and the gardens are filled with a variety of organically grown vegetables and fruit. Guests to the village experience many culinary treats.

A number of project meetings were organised in the Tushemisht area. A workshop on promoting nature, culture the Lake Ohrid region took place in Tushemisht on 10 and 11 May 2016 and some workshop participants stayed in guest houses. 
The hosts provided doughnuts, homemade jams, butter and cheeses for breakfast.
The owner of a guest house in Tushemisht 
Language barriers presented no difficulties as they were overcome with smiles and warm hospitality.

The traditional restaurant "Lokali Zonja nga Qyteti" in the centre of Tushemisht is also owned by a woman and is a real hit with locals and visitors alike.
 One can enjoy Half a dozen lakror, a traditional pie made with layers of pastry, herbs and vegetables, along with meatballs and pickles as side dishes. Local drinks include wine and raki, with one special green variety coloured by apple leaves that provide a unique flavour. Three ladies, including the owner, rolled up their sleeves to prepare the lakror for the dinner of the workshop participants. The lakror was greatly appreciated by locals and internationals.
Inside the restaurant, old radios and objects, rustic view 

Guests felt instantly at home at this little village, thanks to the warmth and hospitality of these women of Tushemisht.


A perfect mix of warm hospitality and total privacy for guests. Immaculately clean. In such a quiet timeless village centre you could only hear the spring water flowing in the canals through the streets at night. The best breakfast I have eaten in years – simple but truly excellent local produce
Jane Thompson, ICCROM

Staying with a family changed a trip into a real experience. As well as seeing beautiful places, I was able to meet people and enjoy their warm hospitality. So much better than a cold, anonymous hotel! Sarah Court, ICCROM

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Project Milestone- The Albanian National Council of Restoration approves the boundaries of the potential World Heritage property

The National Council of Restoration under the Albanian Ministry of Culture through a decision on 25 May 2016 approved the proposal for delineation of the boundary of the potential extension of the transboundary World Heritage property and its buffer zone, in the framework of the project "Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region." The National Council of Restoration decided to: Approve the proposal of the boundary of the potential transboundary World Heritage property in the framework of the Lake Ohrid project, based on the results of the joint field mission: ICOMOS, IUCN, ICM, NAPA, RAPA, Municipality of Pogradec and Institute of Archaeology; Approve the option of the boundary that includes: the waterline of the Lake Ohrid, cultural features of the landscape of the Lin Peninsula and Lin Village, areas critical to the scenic integrity of the Lake Ohrid (Drilon, coastal landscapes to the North of Lin), pile dwelling areas. This is a great news for the work to be done in preparation of a potential nomination file to extend the World Heritage property "Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region" to the Albanian side.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Struga, the City of Poetry

Struga is a town in south-western Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It lies on the shores of Lake Ohrid at the source of the River Drini (Drimi in Slavic). Struga is a quiet city. The houses are beautiful and decorated. A well-known saying: "There is no other place like Struga" is still actual. Crn Drim flows gently through the town, as it does not want to disturb the visitors walking along its banks. There are other places that show the beauty and culture, like the old Struga bazaar, the century old churches and mosques.

What to See?

The Struga of today is quite modern. One can enjoy a pleasant walk through the town, along the river and by the lakeshore. One top destination is the Old Bazaar a lively market lined with traditional houses, cafes and shops. Nearby is the crossroads and the Church of St. George, built in 1835 on the foundations of an older sacred object and an excellent example of revival period architecture. The iconostasis is exceptional, the lower part made of stone, the upper part from wood, with a detailed woodcarving.

Halveti Teke is a classic example of Ottoman architecture, protected by the Macedonian Cultural Memorial Institute, while other interesting examples can be seen along the streets of Braka Miladinovci and Niko Nestor near to the Bazaar.

Close to the River Drin stands the Girl Going for Water, a statue that symbolises the tradition of young girls and brides carrying water from the fountain to their home.

Struga Poetry Evenings is the most important event in the town. It has been held by the Bridge of Poets in the second half of August for more than 40 years. The event gathers poets, writers and artists from across the world. Two awards are presented: one for lifetime achievement, and one for young poets.
Struga National History Museum houses more than 10,000 examples of flora and fauna from the Ohrid and Prespa region in the south-west FYR of Macedonia, and Albania.

Meanwhile, The Struga Museum hosts 150 items of folk costumes from throughout the country, including several complete costumes, items of jewellery, and 80 pieces of furniture, tools and other household objects, as well as a large collection of photographs.

The Church of St Dimitrija is a small church dedicated to St Dimitrija (Demetrius) located by one of the main streets slightly to the west of the town centre.

What to do?

You can enjoy a daytrip from Ohrid by boat, combining a visit to the villages along the west coast of Lake Ohrid where a major feature, aside from the lovely quiet beaches, are the cave churches. Struga is a flat town, spread around the Drin River, and is a great place to relax with a cup of coffee. It is small and easy to get around by foot. A 15-minute walk along the lake will take you to Kalishta Village and the cave monastery. For those seeking a little more adventure and outdoor activities, hiking or biking, there are no limits in Vodno Mountain forest. Before sunset you can enjoy three different types of beach, located by the source of the River Black Drin.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Harasani: The project for integrated management of Lake Ohrid has entered its final stage

Interview with Zhuljeta Harasani, Director General, Directorate of Strategic Planning for Cultural Heritage and Diversity

1. How is the project ‘Towards Strengthened Governance of the Shared Transboundary Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Lake Ohrid Region’ going?

The cross-border project for integrated management of Lake Ohrid has now entered its final stage. While the lead ministry is the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Culture, through its General Directorate of Heritage and Culture Diversity, and other institutions under the ministry, such as the Institute of Cultural Monuments and Regional Directorate of Culture in Korca, have been fully committed in preparation of all the recommendations resulting from all the meetings held in the project framework. The aim is to finalise on time a nomination file for inscribing the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid in UNESCO.

2. What are the duties and responsibilities of the Ministry of Culture with regard to cultural heritage in this project?

Following recommendations of ICOMOS, IUCN and ICCROM our experts are working to ensure the protection and integrity of cultural heritage values of the area for it to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. By a decision of the Minister of Culture, in March 2016, the Palaeo-Christian basilica and its mosaic in Lin Village have been entered for inscription on the list. Meanwhile, the Law on Cultural Heritage Monuments protects the area by banning any kind of construction work.

In addition, a group of international experts from UNESCO advisory body ICOMOS, IUCN and national experts from the Albanian Institute of Cultural Monuments, the national and regional agencies of Protected Areas, the Albanian Institute of Archaeology and the Municipality of Pogradec held a field mission on 29 and 30 March 2016. Following the mission’s recommendations, the National Council for Restoration defined a buffer zone for protecting the cultural heritage in the area of Lin. The decision was made known to UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the Ministry of Environment.
In cooperation with the lead ministry, the Ministry of Culture has taken the initiative to ratify the European Landscape Convention, which defines clearly the criteria for protection and promotion of landscapes in general and those that are natural and cultural in particular.
We believe that this Convention is another instrument in the hands of the management of Lake Ohrid Heritage.

3. Is Albania ready to manage and protect such heritage in cooperation with its Macedonian counterparts?

Albania has an experience of more than 20 years in managing outstanding universal values of some properties. The Ministry of Culture in the last two years has shown maximum engagement and readiness to fulfil and complete all its responsibilities toward membership of the Convention of World Culture and Nature Heritage and follow ICOMOS recommendations. While there are improvements seen in achieving good results, a lot more remains to be done. This is our next challenge, together with our obligation to coordinate the work between all our Albanian institutions, locally and nationally, as well as our counterparts in FYR of Macedonia. Preserving and protecting cultural heritage values in our time, when the pressure from urban development is high, is a constant challenge for the governments on both sides of the lake, the Albania and Macedonian counterparts. Responsible institutions, not only those for culture heritage, are now treating Lake Ohrid region as a common space that not only has benefits, but also responsibilities and duties for its protection.

Part of the submission file will be the drafting of a Lake Ohrid Integrated Management plan, which will be obligatory for both state parties and all respective institutions. I think that we have a common challenge on both sides of the lake and only by working together will we be able to manage it much better that has been done up to now.

4. When will the nomination file of the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid to UNESCO be ready?

We believe that the nomination file will be finalised by January 2017 and officially handed over to UNESCO in March 2017. Even though we are working very closely with groups of experts from well-known international and national organisations in the field of culture heritage and environment, thanks also to the valuable support of EU and UNESCO, this project is a major initiative and commitment for both state parties to the UNESCO convention, and it does not end with the finalisation of the nomination file.

5. What is next, and what are the benefits for Albania from this process?

With approval of Lake Ohrid as a World Heritage property, the Albanian map of UNESCO sites widens and the inventory increases with a new addition to the properties of Butrint, Berat, Gjirokastra and Iso-poliphony. As a result, Albania is no longer acknowledged for one or two cities, but also for regions that preserve outstanding universal values. This is even more important for our country as it aspires to join the EU.
Meanwhile, Lake Ohrid itself will benefit from a more careful and sustainable management, and the attention of communities and respective local and central governments. This would bring better investments to the region.
And last but not least, Lake Ohrid will be branded as a UNESCO site, significantly increasing the interest of local and international culture and nature visitors to explore and enjoy the extraordinary natural, aesthetic, cultural and spiritual values that Lake Ohrid and the communities living around it have to offer. This will transform the centuries-old property into an engine of development and revenue generation, thus enabling a better life for LOR communities.


Intervistë me Zhuljeta Harasanin, drejtore e përgjithshme e planifikimit strategjik të Trashëgimisë kulturore dhe diversitetit, Ministria e Kulturës e Republikës së Shqipërisë

Si po ecën projekti "Drejt një qeverisjeje të përbashkët të trashëgimisë natyrore dhe kulturore ndërkufitare të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit".

Projekti ndërkufitar për bashkërendimin e menaxhimit të Liqenit të Ohrit, tashmë ka hyrë në fazën finale të tij. Megjithëse institucioni lider për palën shqiptare në këtë projekt është Ministria e Mjedisit, Ministria e Kulturës përmes Drejtorisë së Përgjithshme të Trashëgimisë dhe Diversitetit Kulturor dhe institucioneve të saj të varësisë si Instituti i Monumenteve të Kulturës dhe Drejtorisë Rajonale të Kulturës Kombëtare Korçë ka qenë dhe mbetet plotësisht e angazhuar dhe e përfshirë në përgatitjen dhe ndjekjen me rigorozitet të rekomandimeve të dala nga takimet e organizuara në këtë kuadër, për të plotësuar në kohë dosjen për zgjerimin e Trashëgimisë botërore të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit me pjesën shqiptare të Liqenit të Ohrit.

Cilat janë angazhimet e Ministrisë së Kulturës lidhur me pjesën e trashëgimisë kulturore

Në zbatim të rekomandimeve të ekspertëve të ICOMOS, IUCN dhe ICCROM, ekspertët tanë po punojnë për të siguruar mbrojtjen dhe integritetin e Vlerave të trashëgimsisë kulturore të zonës së mundshme të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit që do të përfshjihet në Listën e trashëgimisë botërore të UNESKO-s. Me një vendim të Ministres së Kulturës në Mars 2016 është shpallur zona e mbrojtur e monumentit të kulturës kategoria I-rë "Rrënojat kishës paleokristiane dhe mozaikët" në fshatin Lin, Pogradec. Në zbatim të Ligjit për trashëgiminë kulturore, në zonën e mbrojtur ndalohet çdo ndërhyrje me karakter ndërtimor.
Po kështu, në vijim të misionit në terren (field mission) të datave 29 - 30 mars 2016 nga grupi ndërinstitucional me përfaqësues të ICOMOS, IUCN, IMK, AKZM, ARZM, Instituti Arkeologjik dhe Bashkia Pogradec, Këshilli Kombëtar i Restaurimeve ka miratuar me 25.05.2016: Propozimin e kufirit të zonës së mundshme për shpallje pasuri botërore e UNESCO-s, vendim i cili i është përcjellë Qendrës së Trashëgimisë të Botërore të UNESCO-s dhe Ministrisë së Mjedisit, institucioni shqiptar "leader" në projekt.
Gjithashtu, në bashkëpunim me Ministrinë e Mjedisit, Ministria e Kulturës ka ndërmarrë nismën për ratifikimin e Konventës Europiane të Peisazhit e cila përcakton qartë kërkesat dhe kriteret për ruajtjen dhe promovimin e peisazheve në përgjithësi dhe atyre kulturore dhe natyrore në veçanti. Besoj se kjo Konventë do të jetë një tjetër "instrument" në duart e menaxherëve të kësaj pasurie botërore.

A është gati Shqipëria për të menaxhuar dhe ruajtur një trashëgimi të tillë në bashkëpunim me palën maqedonase?
Shqipëria ka një eksperiencë më tepër se 20 vjeçare në menaxhimin e vlerave të jashtëzakonshme universale (outstanding universal value - OUV). Ministria e Kulturës në këto dy vite ka dëshmuar angazhimin maksimal të saj për përmbushjen dhe ndjekjen me rigorozitet të detyrimeve të anëtarësimit në Konventën e Trashëgiminë Botërore Natyrore dhe Kulturore dhe rekomandimeve të ICOMOS. Ndërsa ka përmirësime të punës dhe rezultateve, ka ende shumë për të bërë. Kjo mbetet sfida jonë ndërkohë që kësaj sfide i shtohet edhe detyrimi për t'u bashkërenduar institucionalisht jo vetëm së brendshmi, me institucionet e speializuara përgjegjëse qendrore dhe vendore, por edhe me simotrat në vendin fqinj Maqedoni. Ashtu si dhe për parnerët tanë maqedonas, sfida e ruajtjes dhe mbrojtjes së vlerave të trashëgimisë kulturore në një kontekst bashkëkohor vazhdimisht në presionin e zhvillimeve urbane, ka qenë dhe mbetet një angazhim konstant.  Institucionet përgjegjëse (jo vetëm ata të trashëgimisë kulturore) të të dy vendeve kanë filluar tashmë ta trajtojnë rajonin e liqenit të Ohrit si një hapësirë të përbashkët që nuk ka vetëm vlera e përfitime, por dhe përgjegjësi e detyrime. 

Kur do të jetë gati dosja për futjen në UNESCO të pjesës shqiptare të Liqenit të Ohrit
Mendojmë dhe besojmë se dosja ndërkufitare e kandidimit do të finalizohet brenda muajit janar 2017 për t'u dorëzuar zyrtarisht në UNESCO brenda muajit mars 2017. Ndonëse po punohet me grupe ekspertësh të institucioneve më në zë kombëtare dhe ndërkombëtare në fushën e mjedisit dhe të trashëgimisë kulturore falë mbështetjes së pakursyer të EU dhe UNESCO, kjo është një sipërmarrje dhe angazhim madhor për të dy shtetet palë në këtë Konventë të Trashëgimisë Botërore të UNESCO-s, që nuk përfundon me finalizimin e dosjes së kandidimit.