Showing posts with label Lake Ohrid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lake Ohrid. Show all posts

Monday, April 3, 2017

Archaeological Underwater World of Lake Ohrid Region, Albanian Side



The Lake Ohrid region has a very rich underwater archaeology, which has not been fully explored. The negative aspect of this lack of exploring is that people living beside the lake and the Albanians in general are not aware of the amazing heritage the region possesses. On the bright sight, this has contributed for the underwater world to remaining untouched, not ruined or robbed.

Scientifically and archaeologically Lake Ohrid is part of a geographic region that includes Lake Maliq (today the fields of Maliq) and the Large and Small Prespa lakes. This region has great underwater potential that is being explored by the Institute of Archaeology, particularly in the last decade.
 Adrian Anastasi is the head of the Underwater Archaeology Sector in Albania’s Institute of Archaeology and has directed all the underwater scientific projects in the region, during the last years. He created his team of young passionate specialists, trained and certified internationally. Together they are exploring, digging and studying the precious archaeological objects in the lakes and seas of Albania, in the framework of the project The archaeological map of Albanian shores, approved by the Institute and the National Council of Archaeology in the Ministry of Culture.
Starting from the period 2005–2007, Mr Anastasi and his team started the first exploration of the waters of Lake Ohrid on the Albanian side. The first topographical and geo-archaeological explorations began in the area from Pogradec to Hudenisht, and from Buqeze to Lin close to the border with Macedonia. What they found was amazing. Anastasi stated that there are “Five potentially rich underwater areas—recorded as Lin1, 2 and 3, and Hudenisht 1 and 2”. The team studied the findings and classified them as a prehistoric cultural heritage of great importance, not only for Albania but for the Balkans and beyond.
 
Sites Lin 1 and 3 date to the Neolithic era and Hudenisht 1 and 2 to the Bronze and early Iron ages, while Lin 2 is classified as heritage from the modern period, though nevertheless of special importance because a wooden mooring stands still in good condition, the remains of a small port, set in a stone basement. This may have served as a place to anchor small ships and characteristic wooden boats, dating back some three centuries.
Another important goal of the scientific work was the identification and mapping of the coordinates of this rich heritage area in order to protect it from the plans of local urban development and prevent damage and theft of archaeological objects. All the findings from the Lake Ohrid underwater area are reported to the Institute of Monuments in Tirana, the National Council of Archaeology, Regional Directorate of Korca under the Ministry of Culture and the Directorate of Border Police, Pogradec. Anastasi says that every exploration has been done with special attention paid to the UNESCO standards of the Paris Convention, November 2001. 
For the moment the team has drafted a map of the sites and compiled a range of documents, including graphics, videos and photographs. They have also extracted some small objects from the sites for further study, placing them for the moment in the Archaeological Museum at Durres. The findings were presented at the conference Days of Albanology, held at the National History Museum, Tirana, in December 2015 and published in the yearly bulletin 2015–2016 of the Institute of Archaeology. There are some findings also from explorations undertaken in the Prespa lakes, which are integrated with those from Lake Ohrid in order to gain a broader view of the relationships that existed among the old settlements, including also with other areas such as Maliq, Dunavec and Sovjan, Korca.
The main obstacle to further exploration and studies is financial support from the respective ministries, local governments and interested organisations, which can help greatly for this heritage to be explored and become known to the public of the region and the wider world.
Anastasi concluded that there is great potential to turn the region into a cultural tourism area, especially the protected site of Lin 3, where some additional ideas include: underwater digging and exploration, and opening of a National Museum. Also a diving centre could be opened, dedicated to people who love to explore underwater cultural heritage.

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Bota nënujore e rajonit të liqenit të Ohrit, pjesa shqiptare

Liqeni i Ohrit është shumë i pasur me arkeologjinë nënujore, e cila nuk është eksploruar plotësisht. Aspekti negativ i kësaj mungese eksplorimi është se njerëzit që jetojnë pranë liqenit dhe shqiptarët në përgjithësi nuk janë në dijeni të trashëgimisë së jashtëzakonshme që rajoni ka. Ana e mirë e kësaj mosnjohje është se bota nënujore fatmirësisht ka mbetur e paprekur, nuk është shkatërruar dhe vjedhur.
Liqeni i Ohrit në këndvështrimin shkencor dhe në një klasifikim arkeologjik është pjesë e rajonit gjeografik ku përfshihet, ish Liqeni i Maliqit, (sot fusha e Maliqit) dhe Liqenet e Prespës së Madhe dhe asaj të Vogël. Ai ka një potencial të madh arkeologjik nënujor, i cili po zbulohet dhe studiohet nga Instituti i Arkeologjisë, sidomos në dhjetëvjeçarin e fundit. Ardian Anastasi është drejtuesi i arkeologjisë nënujore në Institutin e vetëm të Arkeologjisë në Shqipëri dhe gjatë gjithë këtyre viteve, me pasion ka drejtuar të gjitha projektet kërkimore shkencore të zhvilluara në këtë liqen.
Ai ka krijuar dhe drejton që prej një dekade, ekipin e tij të kërkimeve arkeologjike nënujore, të trajnuar dhe të çertifikuar ndërkombëtarisht, të cilët zbulojnë, gërmojnë dhe studiojnë pasuritë e vyera arkeologjike nënujore në liqenet dhe detet që lagin brigjet shqiptare në kuadër të projektit kombëtar “Harta Arkeologjike Nënujore e Bregdetit Shqiptar”, të miratuar nga Instituti i Arkeologjisë dhe Këshilli Kombëtar i Arkeologjisë në Ministrinë e Kulturës.
Në vitet 2005-2007 Anastasi dhe ekipi i tij nisi eksplorimet e tija të para nënujore në Liqenin e Ohrit, pjesën shqiptare. Nga studimet paraprake topografike dhe gjeoarkeologjike u vendos që kërkimet të zhvilloheshin dhe të privilegjonin zonat në sekuencën Pogradec – Hudënisht – Buqezë – Lin – kufiri me FYROM. Ajo çka ai zbuloi në këtë rajon ishte e jashtëzakonshme. “U zbuluan pesë zona me potencial shumë të lartë arkeologjik, të cilat u klasifikuan me emërtimet Lin 1, 2 dhe 3 si dhe Hudënisht 1 dhe 2” - thote Anastasi.
Ekipi i drejtuar prej tij, i klasifikoi këto zbulime si trashëgimi kulturore prehistorike të një rëndësie të veçantë, jo vetëm për vendin tonë, por të një niveli Ballkanik dhe më gjërë.
Vendbanimet palafite prehistorike të Neolitit i përkasin sitet arkeologjike Lin 1 dhe 3, ato të Bronzit të mesëm dhe fillimit të periudhës së Hekurit i përkasin sitet arkeologjike Hudënisht 1 dhe 2, ndërsa siti Lin 2 klasifikohet i periudhës moderne, por që ka një rëndësi të veçantë, pasi është dëshmia e vetme deri më tani, e një skele me këmbë druri të përforcuara me një bazament të madh gurësh. Ajo ka shërbyer për qëndrimin e anijeve të vogla dhe barkave karakteristike të drurit dhe mundet ti ketë fillesat e saj ndoshta edhe tre shekuj më pare.
Një qëllim i rëndësishëm i punës shkencore ishte identifikimi i koordinatave të zonës së trashëgimisë me qëllim mbrojtjen paraprake, si nga planet zhvillimore urbanistike të pushtetit lokal, ashtu edhe nga dëmtimet apo grabitjet klandestine të këtyre sitve arkeologjike. Për të gjitha këto është vënë në dijeni Instituti i Monumenteve në Tiranë, Këshilli Kombëtar i Arkeologjisë, Drejtoria Rajonale e Korçës në varësi nga Ministrisë së Kulturës, si dhe Drejtoria e Policisë Kufitare e Pogradecit.
Anastasi shton se vëmendje të veçantë i është kushtuar aplikimit të standarteve UNESCO për këto site, të cilat janë përcaktuar në Konventën UNESCO të Parisit, Nëntor 2001 dhe që orjentojnë dhe privilegjojnë studimet dhe diagnostikimet të cilat nuk dëmtojnë apo shqetësojnë sitin arkeologjik nënujor. Ekipi ka realizuar planimetritë e këtyre siteve, ka kryer dokumentime të veçanta grafike dhe video-fotografike si dhe ka mare disa kampione enësh për studim, të cilat ndodhen në Muzeun Arkeologjik të Durrësit.
E gjithë kjo punë dhe rëndësia e saj, është prezantuar në konferencën kombëtare “Ditët e Albanologjisë dhjetor 2015” në Muzeun Hitorik Kombëtar në Tiranë si dhe në prezantimet e institutit të arkeologjisë në analizat e punës së fund vitit 2015-16. Këto zbulime janë integruar edhe me rezultatet e kërkimeve tona ne Liqenet e Prespës së Madhe dhe asaj të Vogël, për të krijuar një opinion më të zgjeruar shkencor mbi marrëdhëniet që kanë pasur me njëri-tjetrin keto vendbanime, përfshirë edhe ato të Maliqit, Dunavecit dhe Sovjanit të Korçës.
Për të çuar përpara këto studime, ide dhe bashkëpunime del e nevojshme edhe mbështetja financiare nga ana e ministrive përkatëse, pushtetit vendor pse jo dhe nga organizmat e interesuar që kjo trashëgimi të eksploroihet dhe të bëhet e njohur për publikun e rajonit dhe më gjerë.
Anastasi thotë se zona ka një potencial shumë të madh turistik për ta kthyer rajonin rreth liqenit të Ohrit, në pjesën shqiptare, veçanërisht zonën Lin 3 si një zonë ideale ku mund të zhvillohen eksporime nënujore dhe hapja e një Muzeu Kombëtar. Po kështu mund të hapet dhe një qendër zhytjeje, që t’i kushtohet njerëzve që duan të eksplorojnë trashëgiminë kulturore nënujore.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Snail of Ohrid



Gocea ohridana is a snail found in only one location in the world—Lake Ohrid.

The whole population lives under stones in an area not bigger than 10 km2 at a depth of down to 3 m. Globally classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the main threats this snail faces include deforestation of the neighbouring areas that lead to erosion and an increased sediment load, stressing its ability to filter water.

Pollution from sewage from the settlements around the lake and agriculture in the Prespa Lakes basin, which drains into Lake Ohrid through underground connections, is another major threat to this species. The good news, however, is that the Macedonian part of Lake Ohrid is protected as a World Heritage Site.

The Albanian side is currently under national protection, while an international effort is under way to extend the existing World Heritage Property to cover the whole region of the lake.
Story by: Altina Ismaili and IUCN

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Gocea ohridana është një kërmill që gjendet vetëm në një vend të botës, në Liqenin e Ohrit. Gjithë popullsia e tyre jeton nën gurë në një zonë jo më të madhe se 10 km2 ne një thellësi deri në 3 m. Globalisht klasifikohet si mjaft e rrezikuar në listën e kuqe të IUCN për speciet e kërcënuara. Kërcënimi më i madh me të cilën përballet ky kërmill është shpyllëzimi në zonat e afërta, që cojnë në erozion dhe një rritje të ngarkesës së sendimenteve që pengojnë aftësinë e tij për ta filtruar ujin.

Ndotja nga ujërat e zeza që derdhen në liqen është një tjetër kërcënim për këto specie.
Lajmi i mirë është se sidoqoftë pjesa maqedonase e liqenit është e mbrojtur si trashëgimi botërore. Pjesa shqiptare është aktualisht nën mbrojtje kombëtar ndërsa një përpjekje ndërkombëtare po realizohet për ta shtrirë pasurinë aktuale botërore dhe për ta mbuluar gjithë rajonin e liqenit.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Why you should visit Ohrid in winter

When tourists are gone and winter is in the air, Ohrid becomes again the picturesque lakeside town that has enchanted visitors since the Byzantine Empire.
Actually, it is one of the 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are on both the Cultural and the Natural lists.
But I can’t help thinking about the time when I was on the other side of the lake, on the Albanian shore

The two experiences could not be more different: the touristy, postcard-perfect Macedonian outline of the Ottoman houses and the rough, neglected jumble of concrete on the Albanian side.
Anyone who has visited both sides of Ohrid Lake knows that these two landscapes are not a just lake, but a whole world apart.

By Giulia Blocal
The Ottoman houses on the shore of the lake are veiled in the morning mist, as if they were white ghosts against a blanket of white. This enveloping whiteness hovers over the wooden boats scattered around the lake and swallows the crown of houses ranged around it. Nevertheless, I know how beautiful the view is, having seen countless postcard-perfect pictures of this UNESCO-listed lake, which is one of the oldest in the world.
Ohrid in winter
When tourists are gone and winter is in the air, Ohrid becomes again the picturesque lakeside town that has enchanted visitors since the Byzantine Empire.The pale light of the sun reflects on deserted cobbled streets, and this glowing fog melts in time with the footfalls of the few people wandering around. The ancient stones drenched with rain emanate a wet, winterish smell, which –here and there- is abruptly interrupted by the warm smell of oven-baked bureks. 
The churches are scented with incense. Ohrid is well-known for its churches, which were 365 originally –one for each day of the year- a feature which won it the epithet of ‘the Jerusalem of the Balkans‘.
  
Ohrid’s churches, as well as its architecture, span more than two millennia, but this is just one of the reasons why this enchanting city is recognized by UNESCO. Actually, it is one of the 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are on both the Cultural and the Natural lists.

I didn’t stumble upon any celebrations inside Ohrid’s churches. Rather, I always found a profound silence only occasionally interrupted by footsteps tiptoeing on the marble floorings: a solemn atmosphere I bet you can only find during this time of the year, when the town becomes quiet and idyllic again.

Unlike with my usual ‘travel-style’, I visited a lot of churches when in Ohrid, starting off with an ambitious plan in the early morning, but then slowly adopting a more Balkan approach as the day passed by. 
This implied Turkish coffees, Skopsko beers, some meaty snacks and the ubiquitous Ohrid trout, which is the protagonist of the traditional cuisine of the area and the only thing that the Macedonian shore has in common with the Albanian side across the lake.The area is also well-known for its centuries-old tradition of wine making. Macedonians love to drink, and Ohrid’s porches overlooking the lake are the perfect place to do it. During the summer, all these lakeside cafés are bustling, but now the paved promenade is empty and everything looks more authentic.

Even the accordion player at a fancy restaurant goes for Tose Proeski’s very Macedonian songs rather than the international repertoire of the summer. When the music stops, the only sound I can hear is the rhythmic percussion of waves on sand.
As I watch them coming and going, I can’t help thinking about the time when I was on the other side of the lake, on the Albanian shore. The two experiences could not be more different: the touristy, postcard-perfect Macedonian outline of the Ottoman houses and the rough, neglected jumble of concrete on the Albanian side.
Anyone who has visited both sides of Ohrid Lake knows that these two landscapes are not a just lake, but a whole world apart.

Original source:
http://www.blocal-travel.com/balkans/macedonia-fyrom/ohrid/ohrid-in-winter/

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lake Ohrid withdrew drastically - what happened?

The level of Lake Ohrid decreased in January under the minimum of allowing quota determined by experts in the field. Its depth decreased by 23 centimeters in Albanian side of the Lake. The consequences of this phenomenon are serious for Lake Ohrid ecosystem and repair from this damage requires time, not to mention that could be irreversible.
Environment experts in Pogradec urgently raised the concern for this issue, because the decreased level in Albanian side of the Lake is more obvious than in Macedonian side. It was estimated that in Tushemisht the water receded up to 40 meters from the shores, and the depth of water decreased to 1.3 meter in this area.
According to Albanian local authorities, the cause for this problem is the uncontrolled water release in the Black Drin, opening the gates in Struga by Macedonian Authorities, without respecting the technical limits of water levels for the lake.  the lake withdrew drastically, due to

After raising this concern, the Authorities in Macedonia closed the gates at the level of 90%, thus preventing further degradation and damages on flora and fauna in Albanian side of the lake.
This issue was raised and supported by non-governmental organizations and civil societies in both countries. The problem was also discussed in the 5th Transboundary Meeting on Safeguarding Lake Ohrid, held in Pogradec in 9-10 February, where representatives from respective ministries and institutions on both countries participated.
Albania and FYR Macedonia sharing Lake Ohrid are in continuing communications and consultations in order to prevent such problems in the future. In the joint meeting in Pogradec, both countries agreed to reactivate the bilateral structures which are created in the framework of transboundary agreements and conventions signed by both countries for protection and sustainable development of Lake Ohrid basin. They agreed for the necessity of regular bilateral meetings to these structures as well.

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Bie niveli i Liqenit të Ohrit në Pogradec, çfarë ka ndodhur?

Niveli i liqenit të Ohrit gjate muajit Janar pesoi nje renie drastike te nivelit te tij, duke e kaluar edhe te ashtuquajturin “minimumin” e kuotes se lejuar te percaktuar nga ekspertet e fushes, e cila arriti ne fund te ketij muaji ne masen -23 centimetra. Pasojat e ketij fenomeni jane te renda per kete ekosistem dhe koha per riparimin e demit qe i shkaktohet ekosistemit eshte mjaft e gjate per te mos thene e pamundur. Per keto arsye ekspertët mjedisore në Pogradec ngritën me shqetësim këtë cështje, pasi kjo rënia e nivelit të ujit ne pjesen shqiptare ishte me e dukshme sidomos ne zonen nga Pogradeci ne Tushemisht ku uji ishte tërhequr deri ne 40 metër dhe ulje te nivelit te liqenit arriti deri ne 1.3 metër.

Sipas pales shqiptare, shkaktar për këtë situatë është hapja pa kriter e portave të Liqenit në Strugë duke mosrespektuar kete element teknik te percaktuar per nivelin e ujrave te liqenit nga ana e institucioneve pergjegjese ne Maqedoni. Eshte fakt qe pas shqetësimit të Autoriteteve shqiptare në Pogradec, te cilet u bene present edhe ne mediat maqedone, keto institucione reaguan duke mbyllur portat në masen 90%, duke bere te mundur parandalimin e degradimit te metejshem te flores dhe faunes ne zonen litorale te liqenit. Por duhet te theksohet qe kthimi i liqenit ne kuotat normale do te kerkoje kohe.
Ngjarja pati jehonë në dy anët e liqenit, kryesisht nga organizatat joqeveritare. Cështja u ngrit dhe gjatë takimit të 5-te të platformës ndërkufitare të Lqienit të Ohrit që u mbajt në Pogradec javën e shkuar, ku të pranishëm ishin përfaqësues të institucioneve qendrore dhe locale të te dy vendeve.
Dy vendet jane ne komunikim të vazhdueshëm që kjo ngjarje të mos ndodhë më, dhe u shtrua si domosdoshmeri krijimi apo riaktivizimit i strukturave bilaterale qe jane rrjedhoje e marrëveshjeve ndërkufitare apo konvetave nderkufiatre te nenshkruara nga te dy vendet per mbrojtjen dhe zhvillimin e qendrueshem te basenit te liqenit te Ohrit, si dhe domosdoshmerine e takimeve bilaterale te ketyre strukturave.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Things to do on Lake Ohrid that will make you fall in love

"Lake Ohrid is a UNESCO protected lake and town in South-West Macedonia. Squeezed into the border of Macedonia and Albania, it is a heady combination of crumbling villas, terracotta tiles and gigantic statues. This is a town where you will fall in love – with early morning mists hovering over the lake, with deserted castles and monasteries and with delightful, natural springs bubbling from emerald waters". Here is how Anne the founder of the blog TravelTheGlobe4Less, describe the Lake Ohrid Region in her article: Things to do on Lake Ohrid that will make you fall in love, published in the latest days of December 2016.
She suggests 5 top things to do around this region, describing them as fabulous destinations, impossible to resist. 

Discover these 5 top destinations in Lake Ohrid region:


St. Naum monastery 
A visit to the monastery is as much about the journey as the arrival. You feast on beautiful coastal views, and glimpses of the Bay of Bones, the President’s summer house and the only five-star resort on the lake.
The hulking outline of mountains rising on the opposite side of the lake in Albania add drama to the monastery’s location. Like a guardian angel, it perches on a rocky outcropping, overlooking the bay. It’s free to visit the inner courtyard but 100 Den to go inside the small monastery (30 if you are a student!)
Inside, frescoes line every inch of wall space, so dated they look like smudged crayon drawings which have rubbed away over time. A sense of serenity overwhelms me and I find myself reliving the sensation of meditating on an Indian retreat.
Once you have taken your ecclesiastical fill, wander down the hillside towards the few restaurants and village shops. En route, you will pass boat owners touting short trips into the emerald green springs. Negotiate a price and jump onboard.


St. Naum springs
It’s silent apart from the water lapping at the hull of the boat and the oars splashing as we row slowly through the springs of St. Naum. Vivid green waters hide gurgling springs below, the main supply of lake water. We can just make out huge bubbles spewing from the ground into the cold waters like potions in a cauldron.
My tour guide, Nikola is something of a storyteller regaling me with tales of previous mishaps on the boat. I struggle to understand everything he says but am happy to stare into the crystal clear waters and thank my lucky stars I am fortunate enough to be here.
We row (yes, Nikola is crazy enough to allow me to take the oars!) to a tiny monastery hidden in the bush, the colours so vivid it looks as though the pop filter on my camera has been applied to the scene. It’s truly stunning, like a quaint little cottage hidden in the woods.
Cost: the boat trip costs 10 Euro per person and you can book your own trip with Nikola at Nikoturs.

Samuil’s Fortress, Ohrid
This fortress is a Goliath. With remearkably well preserved walls, a huge inner courtyard and a gigantic flag fluttering above, it can be seen from almost anywhere in Ohrid. If you want specatcaulr views a little closer, however head to the church of Perivleptos where you have the perfect vantage point of the castle.
It pays to get here early too. Although the official opening time is 9am, I arrive at 8.30 and wander through the gates to find myself alone. Like an excited child, I rush up onto the ramparts to admire spectacular views of the town slowly waking from a slumber, wisps of hazy clouds lingering. The video gives you an idea of how fabulous this attraction is (100 Den or 30 if you are a student) especially when you have it entirely to yourself. I have one of my quiet, wow moments, one where I feel a little overwhelmed with a wondrous sense of delight.
Does anyone else experience that sensation when travelling?

St John at Kaneo Church
The Wizz Air site proudly displays a picture of this church, which probably sub-consciously influenced me to book the flights. It’s a red terracotta delight perched high on the cliff, above stunning azure waters. I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame, carefully skittering down the hillside to take a closer look. The architecture resembles many other churches in the area (365 apparently!) with a small dome in the middle and pale-red brickwork.
You can reach the church by following a boardwalk along the base of the cliff from the old town of Ohrid. After passing a little shingle beach, the path weaves its way up the hillside until you arrive at a bluff overlooking the church.

The monastery of St Pantelejimon
In the shadow of the castle and high above the water, another monastery greets you with roman pillars suggesting a grand, bygone era. It is clearly an auspicious monument as our visit coincides with that of the Macedonian president meeting Serbian orthodox priests. My curiosity gets the better of me and I decide to pay the 30 Den (student price or 100 for adults: £1.50) so I can get my first glimpse of the president.
I wander around the church, snapping pictures of the mind boggling roof shapes then stop to sunbathe. I am basking in the shade of the roman ruins when a posse of people emerge into sunlight. I immediately identify the president (something about the scary looking bodyguards surrounding him!) who passes by so close I can almost reach out and grab him (but I don’t fancy being shot today!).
His security is pretty limited and I’m astonished that I can get so close with no security clearance and no search. It makes an amusing interlude to my day but I soon forget about it in my quest to discover Ohrid.