Places to visit in Macedonia: Lakes National Parks Monuments Events There is a special place waiting for you. A place still unspoiled, yet experienced by more and more nature lovers and adventurers each year. That special place is Macedonia – where beauty and culture blend to create unique experiences. “ There, where the sun shines forever - there is Macedonia” is from an old popular song. Macedonia is exactly that - a small country where the sun always shines, in the scenic heart of the Balkans
Most beaytifull lakes in Macedonia are: Ohrid Lake, Prespa Lake and Dojran Lake Next
Lake Ohrid (Macedonian: Охридско Езеро , straddles the mountainous border between the southwestern region of the Republic of Macedonia and eastern Albania. It is one of Europe’s deepest and according to most experts the oldest lake in Europe, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem with more than 200 endemic species that is of worldwide importance. The importance of the lake was further emphasized when it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979.
There is a legend about the way that Ohrid was created that is told by everyone who lives outside of this amazing city; they say that once God had finished creating the world, he took his rest and during this time Satan created Ohrid. He made it so beautiful with a wonderful lake, steep mountains, lush pastures and a temperate climate. God was totally amazed when he awoke and asked the devil, “What have you done, devil? Your deeds are supposed to be evil!” The twist in the story comes in Satan’s reply, “Oh, wait a minute, God. You haven't seen Ohrid's citizens yet!”
You should be there for the Swimming marathon. - According to hearsay, the first massive swimming competition in the Lake Ohrid took place in 1924. Similar contests were organized in 1927 and 1928. There is also a record of the establishment of the first water sports society in 1932 - The Swimming and Rowing Club "Ohrid". In those days, the best swimmers were: Slave Bitrak, Dio Bogdan, Lambe Bido, Boris Filipce, Viktor Boev, Stefan Momir, and others. e first real marathon contest along the route of village Pestani-Struga-Ohrid (36 km) took place in 1962, with 22 participants from 12 countries. Since 1998 the Ohrid Swimming Marathon has entered in the World Swimming Club of the 12 worldwide held marathons under the patronage of FINA-The World Swimming Association
Fortress of King Samuil During King Samuel's reign (976-1014 A.D.) Ohrid was the capital of the first state of the Macedonian Slavs. Samuel’s Fortress in Ohrid dates back to the 3rd century and initially had three entrance gates, of which only one, the Upper Gate, has been preserved to this day. Before and after Samuel’s reign, the fortress had been demolished and rebuilt several times. The highest part of Ohrid, which is 100 meters above the lake level, is surrounded by 10-16m high walls, built of stone, lime, and sand from the lake, and two defense towers. After the arrival of colonizers from Asia, led by their commander Mino, the town started spreading outside the walls, on the surrounding plain. There is a legend about tzar Samuel . In the many battles fought back then, Samuel's army was defeated by the Byzantines and all the 14000 men in the army had been completely blinded...each 100th soldier had been left with one eye only in order to be able to guide the others back home. When Samuel saw his people blinded, they say he died of a shock and broken heart. Next
According to an old legend, a Macedonian girl named Dojrana was accustomed to fetching water from special springs that had to be sealed following use. Yet at the very moment Dojrana was filling her jugs, she heard that her beloved had come back from the army, and forgot to seal the springs. Lake Dojran was, the legend says, the result of her unthinking euphoria.
Due to the Mediterranean climate of southern Macedonia and the proximity of the balmy Aegean not far to the south, vegetation starts blooming in the Dojran area in early spring and continues to do so until late autumn. And so though Lake Dojran is only 10 meters (30 feet) deep at its deepest point, it is brimming with life. Owing to the large quantity of weeds that grow in the lake and the large number of plankton on its surface, Dojran’s waters are considered to be very beneficial for treating rheumatism, skin diseases and respiratory diseases, and many tourists come for precisely this reason.
Characteristic of the lake are the fishing boats and the fishermen’s huts standing on stilts above the surface of the water. The method of fishing here is very original and very old, performed with the help of the cormorants, gulls and other birds that fly above the lake, directing the fish into the baskets where they are gathered in huge quantities.
The two Prespa Lakes – Golema (Great) and Mala (Small) are the only ones on the Balkan Peninsula to have islands. The five- Golum Grad, Mala Grad, Pirg, Agios Achillaeos and Vidrinec- are located in the three countries that share the lakes today, Macedonia, Albania and Greece. With its irregular coastline, plethora of bays, extraordinary cleanliness of water, pristine nature, and setting between three national parks, Prespa is truly a place one must visit.
With a surface area of 273 sq. km, Great Prespa Lake is the second largest in Macedonia after Ohrid. Between the two lies the Galicica Mountain, through which flows an underground stream named Zavir. Through it, Lake Prespa supplies Lake Ohrid with water that comes out on the other side near the monastery of St. Naum and in the Biljana spring near Ohrid town.
The Prespa region is ecologically speaking the cleanest part of Macedonia, its nature seemingly untouched by human hands. The white pelican, black raven, heron and gull all congregate near the lake so abundant with fish, which include varieties such as trout, carp, red finned carp, chub, barbell, and others. While the unpopulated island of Golem Grad is a protected nature reserve, it is also accessible to tourists. The island is characterized by its century-old juniper trees, as well as the abundance of endemic animal life. When the level of the water falls, old settlements from the 11th and 12th centuries become visible.
Pelister Park straddles Macedonia’s southern border with Greece, running along the Baba Mountain (the third-highest in Macedonia). It is located only 15 km (9 m) from Macedonia’s second city, Bitola, and makes for an invigorating natural escape from urban life.
Pelister is characterized by lush, well-watered forests and unique geological formations, which include layers of Paleozoic and Mesozoic magma rock and layers of quartz. The core of the mountain is made of granite some 465 million years old. The mountain has a large number of peaks higher than 2000 meters (6,500 feet) separated by deep valleys. Mt. Pelister itself stands a magisterial 2,601 meters (8,533 feet) high. The park is also rich in springs, streams and rivers, and contains two glacial lakes known locally as the Mountain’s Eyes.
The highest mountain peaks in Macedonia are all found in Mavrovo National Park, located in the western-central edge of the country. These peaks, which include the Sara, Desad and Bistra, are topped by the imposing Great Korab Mountain (2,764 meters or 9,069 feet high). Not only do these mountains provide magnificent visual landscapes, they also offer some of the best skiing in the Balkans.
Mavrovo’s impressive forests contain more than 100 rare species of trees, and its rugged hilltops are rich in wild teas and herbs that can be easily gathered by hand.Lake Mavrovo, located just beneath the ski center, makes Mavrovo National Park a popular weekend resort all year around.
Galicica is a mountain that separates the two biggest Macedonian lakes, Ohrid and Prespa. From Goga, the highest peak of the mountain, both lakes are simultaneously visible – a unique and extraordinary sight, especially at sunset.
Containing as it does more than 130 different species of trees and bushes, Galicica is one of Europe’s richest national parks in terms of flora, and easily accessible too; it’s only a fifteen-minute drive from Ohrid town, and very close to settlements on the Prespa side as well.
The archaeological site (located just 3 km or 1.8 miles from the Gradsko exit on Highway E-75) offers sweeping views of the central Macedonian plain and contains buildings such as the 2nd century amphitheatre, the Theodosia palace, and early Christian ruins with extensive and ornate mosaic floors.