Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Summer issue of "Protecting Lake Ohrid" Newsletter is now published

The second newsletter "Protecting Lake Ohrid" on behalf of the Project:"Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region", is now published and is available in three languages:
Albanian http://whc.unesco.org/document/143548
English  http://whc.unesco.org/document/143550
Macedonian http://whc.unesco.org/document/143546

In this edition published in Summer 2016, besides information  about meetings, activities and and updates on the progress of the Lake Ohrid project, the reader will get to know the winners of social media Photo Contest:  http://lakeohrid.blogspot.al/2016/05/10-winners-of-ourlakeohrid-social-media.html which lasted from 7 March- 7 April 2016 with hashtag #OurLakeOhrid, on Facebook and Instagram with almost 450 submission competing for "Top Ten". They were voted not only for the good quality photo, but also for the story behind it.  The social media competition helped at raising awareness about the unique values of Ohrid Lake. 

Inside this issue:
  • a forward by  Ms. Lydia Topuzovska, General Secretary of National Commission to UNESCO of the FYR of Macedonia
  •  interview with Zhuljeta Harasani, Director General, Directorate of Strategic Planning for Cultural Heritage and Diversity
  •  information on project meetings,  the fourth and the fifth Management Planning Workshop as well as the next steps & important upcoming dates;
  •  and some original articles on tourism aspects of Struga, Macedonia and hospitality in Tushemisht, Albania.  
The third edition will be published in Autumn and will bring more news on activities, and developments in the frame of this 3 year project, financed by European Union and Albanian Ministry of Environment and implemented by UNESCO. More is to come, stay with us!



Monday, August 22, 2016

Topuzovska: Saving Lake Ohrid is a goal that we share with Albania


By Lydia Topuzovska *
The Lake Ohrid region has a unique cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value, enabling its inscription in 1979–1980 on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the Macedonian part of the region. Macedonians are making constant efforts to permanently protect and preserve the property. In this regard, several laws and regulations at the national level have been adopted, governing the ways, conditions and opportunities for protection of the region’s natural and cultural heritage. Having World Heritage status is a great privilege, but it places duties and responsibilities on the whole of society. It requires us to maintain a consistent application of international standards in the preservation and protection of values recognized and celebrated around the world.
Since the start of the project ‘Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region’, the Macedonian Ministry of Culture, the Cultural Heritage Protection Office and the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, through their representatives, have been actively involved in all project activities, giving maximum support to the successful realization and implementation of the project in the period that lies ahead. Saving Lake Ohrid, a treasure house for endemic species of flora and fauna and one of the best ecosystems in the world, is a goal that we share with our neighbor the Republic of Albania. We believe that with joint efforts we will achieve successful implementation of this process, resulting in an effective and efficient integrated management of the Lake Ohrid region.
Aware of the necessity of dealing with and minimizing the challenges that adversely affect the natural and cultural heritage of the region, above all, with issues of excessive and uncontrolled urbanization, sewage treatment, and over-exploitation and destruction of natural values and a lack of knowledge of the values of this region, we welcome the contribution of UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN, which by means of their engagement in this process allow us to better identify and address these challenges.
Considering the exceptional importance of the Lake Ohrid region, our Government, through its national institutions, will continue to selflessly care for its well-being, a responsibility that belongs not only to the institutions, but also to each individual. This unique place, created by humans and nature, deserves to be protected as a whole and, undoubtedly, the moment has arrived. This process is only the beginning of what is to come: the joint management and the establishment of an integrated system for managing the natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region for ourselves and for the generations to come.



* Lydia Topuzovska is General Secretary of National Commission to UNESCO of the FYR of Macedonia
This article is published at Project's Newsletter: Protecting Lake Ohrid, summer edition.

**
Albanian

Tupuzovska: Ruajtja e Liqenit te Ohrit eshte nje objektiv i perbashket me Shqiperine

Rajoni i Liqenit të Ohrit ka një trashëgimi unike kulturore dhe natyrore me vlerë të jashtëzakonshme universale duke bërë të mundur futjen e pjesës maqedonëse në listën e Trashëgimisë Botërore në UNESCO në vitet 1979-1980. Maqedonasit janë në përpjekje të vazhdueshme për të mbrojtur dhe ruajtur këtë trashëgimi. Në këtë drejtim, janë miratuar disa ligje dhe rregulla në nivel kombëtar, të cilat rregullojnë mënyrat, kushtet dhe mundësitë për mbrojtjen e trashëgimisë natyrore dhe kulturore të rajonit. Të kesh statusin ‘Trashëgimi Botërore’ është një privilegj i madh, por ky status vendos detyra dhe përgjegjësi për të gjithë shoqërinë. Ai kërkon që të zbatojmë në mënyrë të vazhdueshme standardet ndërkombëtare në ruajtjen dhe mbrojtjen e vlerave të njohura nëpër botë.
Që në fillim të projektit “Drejt një qeverisje të përbashkët të trashëgimisë natyrore dhe kulturore ndërkufitare të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit”, Ministria Maqedonase e Kulturës, Zyra e Mbrojtes së Trashëgimisë Natyrore dhe Kulturore si dhe Ministria e Mjedisit dhe Planifikimit Hapësinor, kanë qenë të përfshirë nëpërmjet përfaqësuesve të tyre në mënyrë aktive në të gjitha aktivitet e projektit, duke dhënë mbështetjen maksimale për realizimin dhe zbatimin e projektit që do zbatohet në të ardhmen. Ruajtja e Liqenit të Ohrit, një vend thesar për speciet endemike të florës dhe faunës dhe një nga ekosistemet më të të mira në botë, është një objektiv i përbashkët me fqinjin tonë, Republikën e Shqipërisë. Ne besojmë se me përpjekje të përbashkëta do të arrijmë një zbatim të suksesshëm të këtij procesi, duke rezultuar në një menaxhim efektiv dhe efikas të integruar të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit.
Të vetëdijshëm për domosdoshmërinë që kanë të bëjnë me të dhe duke minimizuar sfidat që ndikojnë negativisht në trashëgiminë kulturore dhe natyrore të rajonit, mbi të gjitha, me çështjet e urbanizimit të gjerë dhe të pakontrolluar, trajtimin e ujërave të zeza dhe mbishfrytëzimi dhe shkatërrimin e vlerave natyrore dhe mungese e njohjeve të vlerave të këtij rajoni, ne mirëpresim kontributin e UNESCO-s dhe organeve këshilluese të Komisionit të Trashëgimisë Botërore ICCROM, ICOMOS dhe IUCN , të cilat me anë të angazhimit të tyre në këtë proces të na mundësojnë si të identifikojmë më mirë dhe të adresojmë këto sfida.
Duke pasur parasysh rëndësinë e jashtëzakonshme të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit, Ish-Republika Jugosllave e Maqedonisë, përmesë institucioneve te saja kombëtare do të vazhdojë me altruizëm të kujdeset për mirëqenien e tij, një përgjegjësi që i përketë jo vetëm institucioneve por edhe çdo individi. Ky vend unik, krijuar nga njerëzit dhe natyra , meriton të mbrohet si i tërë dhe, pa dyshim ka ardhur koha. Ky proces është vetëm fillimi asaj që do të pasoj; menaxhimin e përbashkët dhe krijimin e një sistemi të integruar për menaxhimin e trashëgimisë së vlerave kulturore dhe natyrore të rajonit të liqenit të Ohrit për veten tonë dhe për brezat që do të vijnë.

Sinqerisht e Juaja,
Lydia Topuzovska
Sekretare e Përgjithshme i Komisionit Kombëtar të UNESCO-s në ish-Republikën Jugosllave të Maqedonisë

Monday, August 15, 2016

Exploring the beauty of Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

The landscape photographer's paradise, where the poor become rich, where the fat become skinny, where everything is clear: I present to you Ohrid, Macedonia.

I spent four and a half days in Ohrid during my trip to the Balkans. Rule number one: stay longer.
While I didn't particularly "do" much besides swim in crystal-clear, UNESCO-approved Ohrid Lake, indulge in all things nature, catch every golden sunset, and walk through thousand-year-old churches, I came back feeling very unsatisfied as if I hadn't completed my rounds. The place is teeming with natural beauty everywhere, not to mention, the place is empty so it's like having it all to yourself.

While I'm all for getting lost in this nature haven called Ohrid (pronounced like okrid in Macedonian), I do recommend starting with a tour around the Lake so you get a better grasp of where you are and what your options are. I took a boat trip with Lale tours that began in Pestani, where we were staying, and traveled south along the coast of Ohrid Lake to visit the Monastery of St. Naum, passing through the National Park Galicica towards the Albanian border. We made brief stops in between to see the Bay of Bones, Trpejca, and St. Zaum, and once we reached St. Naum, we got on another boat to get a closer look at the St. Naum springs, where the water from Ohrid Lake flows into the Crn Drim River.
Fun fact: There are 365 churches in Ohrid's town alone, one for every day of the year. They call it the Jerusalem of the Balkans.
The next morning we took a boat from Ohrid's old town to a family restaurant off the lake called Kanevce where we ate, swam, and did nothing all day. The food here is very simple. I had a Shopska (the representative salad of the Balkans that consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers topped with grated sirene cheese) at the start of every meal, or a Pindjur (a spread made up of tomatoes, peppers, and sometimes eggplant) to switch it up some days all accompanied by bread. Then there were simple fish dishes I gravitated towards for the main.

Additionally, everything is very inexpensive here. Food for two all day came out to a total of fourteen US dollars. Fourteen US dollars in New York City can maybe get you a salad or a sandwich at a decent bodega. You get the idea. The conversion rate here is extreme, you feel extremely wealthy.

We took another day to explore the nearby towns of Ohrid. We drove through the National Park Galicica, waved hello to Greece across the lake, explored an abandoned bus, got stung by nettles, walked through the remnants of the old Hotel Europa built during the communist era, asked for directions in Tsarev Dvor and grabbed a bite in Resen.

And on our drive back to Pestani, mother nature surprised us with an incredible show.
The thing about Ohrid is it's very low key. It's not somewhere you go if you're looking to necessarily "do" something. A number of tourists I briefly conversed with turned out to be regulars who would come to Ohrid as a place to kind of just rest and tune out. Ohrid, as I experienced, is a perfect getaway for those seeking solace, who want something underrated and cost efficient, those in search of something authentic and untouched, who need a big breath of fresh air.

Author:  Deborah Han

http://www.balkanvibe.com/story/Exploring-Ohrid-Macedonia/114

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Video about Transboundary cooperation in the Lake Ohrid Region

A video about the EU-funded project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” was Published in UNESCO website and youtube page. This video presents the main threats and opportunities affecting the natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region, the importance of sustainable development for effective heritage conservation, the main project partners as well as the overall expected results.

Its a project about Lake Ohrid, situated in a region shared between Albania and Former Yougoslav republic of Macedonia. The natural and cultural heritage of Ohrid Region has been enlisted in the world Heritage list, but it currently covers only the Macedonian part of the region.
"At the time of nomination of the existing site there was virtually no communication between the two countries", Oliver Avramoski from IUCN said.

This is a joint European Union- Unesco Project about not only safeguarding the lake itself, but also safeguarding the heritage that we can find around the lake.. We want to make the citizens and visitors aware of these unique values and put in place an integrated management system so that they can be passed on to future generations", says Ms Fiebig.  ” Alexandra Fiebig, Project officer said.

“Ohrid Lake offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world, a landscape that nature and God have bestowed upon us and thus maintain and preserve the landscape as it is without making further mistakes”, Gjergji Koki from regional Directorate of National Culture of Korca said.

 "The greatest challenges for the protection of heritage in my view here are to achieve the level of understanding on all sides, in order not for the local community to feel that the protection of heritage is something that is against their development , says Luisa De Marco, international expert from ICOMOS.
A series of meeting and training were held between Albanian and Macedonian Representatives to discuss together how to protect this unique transboundary property.

"Now together with our partners, with Macedonian partners we think of the lake as one whole"- says Mihallaq Qirjo, from Regional Administration of Protected Areas Korca Region..

Watch the full video here: 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9CpPKR586U


 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Balkan Mish-Mash Film Production from 31 July-5 August in Pogradec

Balkan "Mish Mash" Film Production opened in Pogradec in 31th of July and it will last until 5 August 2016.

“Balkan Mish Mash Film Production” this year is made possible with the support of UNESCO.
Up to 150 films from the Balkan countries are selected this year. Apart competition sections, this year is added e a new section "Balkan Heritage". Documentaries that deal with Balkan traditions, culture, music and nature are part of it in order to know more about what do we have in common and what makes the Balkan countries unique.

The Balkan Film Food Festival is not a festival only about Food and Culinary. The Balkan Film Food Festival is about Balkan Film Production. The Festival intent is to create a climate of understanding of friendship and collaborations among Balkan countries. All guests sit on a common table and taste common Balkan culinary drink the same wine.
This Balkan Festival is a good chance to get acquainted with the best cinema achievements of recent times. There are 60 million Balkan people and still don’t know one another well enough.
An exchange of experiences could be part of meetings and debate among filmmakers during the festival days.
Cuisine is part of this event and it aims at having better friendly contacts among the participants.
This festival could also be a start for possible co-productions between Albania and other Balkan countries, as it recently was between Greece and Turkey (A touch of spice, dir. Tassos Boulmetis , Greek-Turkish co-production.)
Why in Pogradec?
Historically that area it is known for its commercial routes among Balkan countries in the centuries as Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Albania since the Ottoman Empire.
Water border frontiers which somehow are meaningless among Albania Greece and Macedonia is the clue to organize such Festival in Pogradec as a sign of Cohabitation Respect and Understanding among the Balkan Countries.
 

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.

Quotes:

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