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

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:

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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ICOMOS: A proposal to preserve the traditional buildings around Lake Ohrid

Conservation and preservation of the developed heritage area in Pogradec is essential for all the local authorities on the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid. In this framework the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is proposing the development of a manual with guidelines for maintenance and rehabilitation of traditionally built heritage in the Albanian part of the region. The manual will address conservation problems and upgrade the needs of the heritage developed on the Albanian side of the lake, while retaining and sustaining its morphology and construction characteristics and materials. The guidelines will act as a reference tool for all those responsible for the preservation and conservation of the developed heritage of the Pogradec area, including local architects, engineers and craftsmen. Moreover, it will also be useful for state institutions and the local administrations.

The ICOMOS mission in the area, undertaken in June 2015, highlighted the need for rationalizing the built environment and improving the quality and performances of the built assets on the Albanian side of the Lake Ohrid region. The Guidelines for built heritage will be developed in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Institute of Monuments, Regional Directorate for Cultural Heritage and the Municipality of Pogradec.

Staff from the Albanian institutions will be involved in the development of the Guidelines. So that they may be developed for other heritage sites in Albania as well. Knowledge exchange is also foreseen with the partners from the Macedonian institutions. The Guidelines are planned to be published by autumn 2017. There are several similar publications for other heritage locations, such as Cinqueterre in Italy, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, and Gjirokastra.

ICOMOS: Një propozim për të ruajtur ndërtesat tradicionale rreth liqenit të Ohrit

Ruajtja dhe mbrojtja e zonës së zhvilluar të trashëgimisë në Pogradec është thelbësore për gjithë autoritetet lokale të pjesës shqiptare të Liqenit të Ohrit. Në këtë kuadër, Këshilli Kombëtar për Monumentet dhe Vendet (ICOMOS) propozon zhvillimin e një manuali me udhëzime për ruajtjen dhe rehabilitimin e ndërtesave tradicionale të trashëgimisë, në pjesën shqiptare të rajonit. Manuali do të 
adresojë problemet e ruajtjes së tyre dhe nevojat për përmirësim të kësaj trashëgimie në pjesën shqiptare të liqenit, duke ruajtur dhe mbrojtur morfologjinë e tyre dhe karakteristikat e materialet e ndërtimit. 
Udhëzuesi do të shërbejë si një mjet reference për gjithë ata që janë përgjegjës për ruajtjen dhe mbrojtjen e trashëgimisë së zhvilluar në zonën e Pogradecit, përfshi arkitektët lokale, inxhinierë dhe artizanë. Gjithashtu do jetë i vlefshëm dhe për institucionet shtetërore dhe administratën lokale. Misioni vëzhgues i ICOMOS në këtë zonë, i kryer në qershor 2015, ka theksuar nevojën për racionalizimin e mjedisit të ndërtimeve dhe përmirësimin e cilësisë dhe performancës së aseteve të 
ndërtuara në pjesën shqiptare të rajonit të liqenit të Ohrit. 
Ky udhëzues për ndërtesat e trashëgimisë do të përpilohet në bashkëpunim të ngushtë me Ministrinë e Kulturës, Institutin e Monumenteve, Drejtorinë rajonale për trashëgiminë kultuore dhe bashkinë e Pogradecit. Stafi nga institucionet shqiptare do të përfsshihet gjithashtu në zhvillimin e këtij udhëzuesi, në mënyrë që ai të përpilohet gjithashtu edhe për zona të tjera të trashëgimisë në Shqipëri. Gjithashtu parashikohet dhe shkëmbim njohurish me partnerët e institucioneve maqedonase. Udhëzuesi planifikohet të publikohet në vjeshtë 2017. Ka disa bo time të ngjashme për vende të tjera të trashëgimisë si Cinqueterre në Itali, Jeddah në Arabinë Saudite, Jeruzalem e Gjirokastër.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Waste Management in the Municipality of Pogradec

The joint goal of partners that gathered around the project "Towards Strengthened Governance of the Shared Transboundary Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Lake Ohrid region" is to support the efforts of local and national authorities to safeguard unique cultural and natural heritage of the Lake Ohrid Region. One of the major challenges ahead is the improvement of solid waste management in this area.
On the Albanian side of the Lake, the solid waste management has been ranked as the priority of the National Plan and National Strategy on Waste Management for the period 2010-2025. In order to make the first steps addressing this issue, the team has set up a governance structure, identifying the representatives of the consortium, local government, and other key local stakeholders. In June 2016, IUCN supported the formation of a consortium gathering the Rural Development and the National Centre for Environment from Tirana and Tourism and Sustainable Development from Pogradec. Their first task is to draft a Local Action Plan for Integrated Waste Management for the Municipality of Pogradec for the period 2017-2023. The plan will support local policy and planning for an integrated waste management system in the Region of Pogradec having in mind the new regional landfill site in Maliq, region of Korca. Based on the assessment of the current state of waste management in Pogradec Municipality, the first draft of the document was produced in September 2016 and is currently being reviewed by the local government. As a following step, the consortium will assist the local government of Pogradec in conducting public consultation on the draft which will also be subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment. In addition, a waste awareness campaign will accompany the work undertaken at policy level and awareness-raising activities will be undertaken starting from November 2016.

Mbështetja e Menaxhimit të duhur të mbetjeve në Bashkinë e Pogradecit

Qellimi i përbashkët i partnerëve të mbledhur rreth projektit "Drejt një qeverisje të përbashkët të trashëgimisë natyrore dhe kulturore ndërkufitare të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit”, është të mbështesin përpjekjet e autoriteteve lokale dhe kombëtare për të ruajtur trashëgiminë unike kulturore dhe natyrore të rajonit të Liqenit të Ohrit. Një nga sfidat kryesore përpara, është përmirësimi i menaxhimit të mbetjeve solide në këtë zonë. Nën anën shqiptare të Liqenit, menaxhimi i mbetjeve solide është renditur si prioritet dhe në Planin Kombëtar dhe Strategjinë Kombëtare të menaxhimit të Mbetjeve për vitet 2010-2025. Në mënyrë që të bëhen hapat e parë në adresimin e kësaj çështjeje, ekipi i projektit, krijoi një strukturë qeveritare, ka identifikuar përfaqësuesit e konsorciumit, qeverisë lokale dhe cdo grup tjetër interesi lokal.

Në qershor 2016, IUCN mbështeti formimin e një konsorciumi që mblodhi Qendrat e Zhvillimit Rural dhe Kombëtar për mjedisin nga Tirana dhe Zhvillimin e Qëndrueshëm të Turizmit nga Pogradeci. Detyra e tyre e parë ishte të përgatitej Plani lokal i Veprimit për Menaxhimin e Integruar të mbetjeve për Bashkinë e Pogradecit për periudhën 2017-2023. Plani do të mbështesë politikën lokale dhe planifikimin për një sistem të integruar të menaxhimit të mbetjeve në rajonin e Pogradecit, duke patur në plan dhe një vend të ri rajonal për landfill në Maliq, rajonin e Korcës. Bazuar në vlerësimin e situatës aktuale të menaxhimit të mbetjeve në bashkinë e Pogradecit, drafti i parë i dokumentit u prodhua në shtator 2016 dhe tashmë është rishikuar nga qeveria lokale. Si hap të metejshëm, konsorciumi do të asistojë qeverinë lokale të Pogradecit në kryerjen e një konsultimi publik të draftit që do të jetë subjekt i Vlerësimit strategjik Mjedisor. Përvec kësaj, një fushatë për ndëregjegjësimin e publikut për mbetjet do të shoqërojë punën e ndërmarrë në nivel politik. Aktivitetet e ndërgjegjësimit që do të ndërmerren do të nisin në Nëntor 2016..

Monday, September 26, 2016

Green Belt Day at Prespa and Ohrid Lake Region

Representatives of the Association for Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) together with local stakeholders and the three Prespa mayors celebrated the Green Belt Day at the shore of Great Prespa Lake, Oteshevo, Macedonia, on 24 September 2016.

A lot of activities were held this day. This event is organized every year in one of 3 countries: Greece, Macedonia and Albania.

In the triangle between Albania, Greece and Macedonia in the far South of the Balkan Green Belt there is one of the most intriguing and varied landscapes of Europe. Lake Ohrid and Great and Little Prespa Lake are framed in impressive mountain ranges and are among the most ancient lakes in the world. Near and in the lakes there are a notable number of endemic species – that is to say species found nowhere else.

In the two Prespa lakes alone there are seven endemic fish species. And Dalmatian Pelicans - threatened worldwide with extinction - are here in great numbers benefiting from the extraordinary wealth of fish in the lakes. More than 1000 pairs of these majestic birds breed on the Little Prespa Lake - this is the largest colony world-wide. Lake Prespa and Lake Ohrid are among the longest-standing EuroNatur project areas.
Thanks to the persistent efforts of EuroNatur and its Albanian partner organisation PPNEA the Prespa Lakes in Albania are now secured with their entire catchment area as a National Park and as an important element in the mosaic of the Balkan Green Belt.
The Prespa National Park itself additionally forms part of the trans-boundary Prespa Park which links Albanian, Macedonian and Greek nature reserves along the one-time Iron Curtain.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Innovative Tourism Product Development Competition -Korca and Lake Ohrid Region

The Ministry of Economy, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship (METTE), Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA) and the Albanian Tourism Industry, with the support of RisiAlbania Project are launching the third edition of the “Risi Turistike Award”, this time in the Korça region in order to foster the development on new touristic products. Korca is the Municipality which include the city of Pogradec, situated on the shore of Lake Ohrid, the oldest and deepest lake in Europe.
The innovative tourism products will help to create new products and itineraries and or add value to the existing ones, by providing a richer and authentic experience for the tourists in both regions.
Risi Albania is a SDC project aiming to facilitate youth employment.
“Risi Turistike” is inviting all interested companies/ organizations to submit a proposal and business plan to develop and implement a new touristic product in the region of Korça. Deadline for submission of the proposals is November 10th 2016.
The results of the competition will be announced during the public event on December 9th 2016.

The aim of the Tourism Product Development competition:
- Attract more tourists in the Korça region, through diversification of the tourism product
- Extend the time of stay in the Korça region
- Increase the income from tourism in Korça region
- Increase employment opportunities for youth in Korça region.
Find more:

Monday, September 12, 2016

EU Climate Diplomacy Week, 12-18 September

This week is declared as EU Climate Diplomacy Week. It takes place on 12-18 September, as a campaign to remind each country who signed this agreement to turn promises into action.

Paris climate conference was held in December 2015, where 195 countries agreed to the world's first universal action plan to tackle climate change by limiting global warming to ‘well below 2°C’. This historic achievement was just the beginning – now every country must implement their action plan on climate.

The Paris agreement will come into effect in 2020, empowering all countries to act to prevent average global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius and to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development. Countries have agreed that there will be no back-tracking in these national climate plans, meaning that the level of ambition to reduce emissions will increase over time.

The Republic of Albania and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia submitted their new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of 2015 Paris Agreement. Implementing climate action plan, imply to both governments and stakeholders concrete measures to protect environment. This is crucial also for Lake Ohrid region, reach of flora and fauna. It has been estimated that it is the lake with the highest biodiversity in the world, taking into account the number of endemic species per surface area. The catchment area also supports equally rich and important biodiversity with exceptionally high number of endemic species.

The project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region”, (co financed by EU and Albanian Ministry of Environment and implemented by UNESCO), aims to profile this transboundary area by assessing its values and opportunities for sustainable development, and to improve capacities for the effective management of natural and cultural heritage. The European Union is contributing 1.7 million EUR to the project in the framework of its assistance to pre-accession countries in the field of Environment and Climate Change.