Authorities in Ohrid insist they are working to keep the city on UNESCO’s World Heritage list after a critical report – but many local activists say business interests continue to prevail over environmental needs.
Abra Dunsby explores Lake Ohrid’s abundance of historical sights, spots of natural beauty and affordable dining options.
Looking for a culture hit? Here are eight destinations that will hit the spot.
These as-yet-unspoilt trips won’t break the bank…
Want to travel to the Balkans? One of the best ways to explore this area is by road. Here’s the ultimate Balkans road trip itinerary with a route map.
Saving money, avoiding crowds and extreme temperatures are only some of many advantages that make spring travels far more comfortable than the traditional summer voyages
Often overlooked period for traveling, spring has undeservedly been cast aside in the favor of summer and fall. However, it is a perfect time to visit a destination you had always dreamed of. Saving money, avoiding crowds and extreme temperatures are only some of many advantages that make spring travels far more comfortable than the traditional summer voyages. Highly competitive with its astonishing natural and architectural wealth, but far more affordable and less conventional that its West European counterparts, these Eastern European destinations should definitely be taken into consideration when planning your next getaway.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik’s already major popularity soared in 2012, after HBO hit TV series Game of Thrones used it as a filming location. Traditionally a seaport which supported itself historically through maritime trade, Dubrovnik is today a tourist attraction without competition in this part of Europe.
Read more from source: Top 5 Eastern European Destinations You Should Visit This Spring
The Balkan region is much easier to travel through than it was just a few years ago, but it’s still off the beaten path and requires some research and planning. Although your patience might be tested daily during your travels, the Balkans will reward you with beautiful landscapes, rich culture and history, friendly locals, and the cheapest prices in Europe. Your route through the Balkans will obviously depend on where you start and finish and how much time you have. As with any road trip, try to mark the places you really want to see and then join the dots in the most logical way.
Here is my suggestion for a couple of weeks of travel, but feel free to adjust the route based on your interests, budget, and seasons of the year.
Hardly undiscovered, but certainly underrated, this tiny Balkan country packs a powerful punch: safety, thriving tourism industry, and breathtaking scenery.
The Ministry of Culture announces that the launch of the publication on guidelines for the architecture in Pogradec with the purpose of conserving the Region of Lake Ohrid is set to be ready in early 2018. The work on the traditional architecture of the region has been organized by the Ministry of Culture, since last autumn under the supervision of a team of Albanian architects and experts led by conservation architect Kliti Kalamata, and assisted by architect Amanda Cici.
This publication serving as a manual, will be a valuable reference for all the interested and responsible parties in the Region of Pogradec such as local architects, engineers and artisans; and will promote the following:
– the use of specifications and suitable methods for repairs and restorations
– accepted professional methods for rehabilitation
– integration of new systems of construction in historical buildings
The Balkan isn’t a major tourist destination as other European countries, but there are more and more people visiting this region and there’s a good reason for that – the countries that are situated in the Balkan peninsula are amazing tourist spots filled with great architecture, delicious food, rich culture and the best part of all is that they are all affordable.
Read below to find which ten places caught our attention. We definitely believe that these destinations are worth seeing! It’s up to you to find out more and decide where are you going to spend your next vacation on the Balkan, or even better – come up with a Balkan tour.
1. Lake Bled
Lake Bled is truly one of the most beautiful lakes in whole Europe!
We are a fortunate nation of travellers here in Britain.
With Heathrow as an obvious hub – and further key international airports elsewhere in London and across the country – the globe is our metaphorical oyster. Departure boards click and whirr with the names of cities and destinations we can reach by direct flight – a constellation of superstar places which demand to be photographed, adored and Instagrammed.
But for every New York, Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Moscow, the runways are also packed with planes heading directly to distant outposts that you definitely haven’t heard of.
Definitely? Well, almost certainly. If you know of any of the locations in the feature below, you can consider yourself a master of geography. And if you’ve actually been to any of them, then we bow to your travel credentials, o wanderer of worlds…
The Sixth Transboundary Platform Meeting of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” will take place on 14 and 15 September 2017 in Pogradec, Albania. This sixth meeting is part of a joint European Union and UNESCO initiative, in close cooperation with the Albanian and Macedonian authorities, to strengthen transboundary cooperation for the management of the Lake Ohrid region’s natural and cultural heritage.
The sixth Transboundary Platform Meeting will take place in Pogradec, Albania. On this occasion, representatives from the Albanian and Macedonian National Commission to UNESCO, the Albanian Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water, and the Macedonian Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning and Ministry of Culture, will be in attendance.
Lake Ohrid in Macedonia is the oldest lake in the European continent but the previous Macedonian government wanted the natural heritage area to be converted into a mega resort.
The latest UNESCO mission to the Ohrid region in Macedonia discovered a Natural and Cultural Heritage site threatened by increased traffic and tourism pressure, inappropriate infrastructure projects and uncoordinated urban developments. It immediately released a report requesting the Macedonian government to halt construction projects in the area.
Existing for over 3 million years, Lake Ohrid in Macedonia is the oldest lake in the European continent holding valuable information on evolution aside from being the home of unique and rare species. In 2016, this lake was put in danger when the Macedonian government started plans to urbanize the lake shore and Galichica mountain and turn both biodiversity hotspots into mega resorts.
Whether to remove Ohrid from the UNESCO list of preserved natural and cultural heritage or not was never under consideration, said Wednesday Anna Sidorenko, who is part of a three-member UNESCO expert team visiting Ohrid in a monitoring mission.
The UNESCO team in Ohrid, which is surveying ongoing activities on the ground, is tasked with assessing to what extent UNESCO recommendations are being observed in relation to the scope of construction works in the area and their impact on the environment and the cultural heritage.
“In Ohrid, we are monitoring the entire cultural and natural heritage and the actions taken to preserve it,” she told reporters adding the team in meetings would present their recommendations on what needed to be done in the future.
Visit the Balkans Now
BEFORE IT TURNS INTO A TOURIST TRAP
At the beginning of the year, Vogue, Condé Nast, Travelzoo, and a wealth of others declared Eastern Europe the destination of 2017. If you are a follower of trends, then now is the time to visit the Balkans, because this is the most beautiful and underrated part of Eastern Europe. But if trends are not dictating your travels, now is still a very good time to visit the Balkans, because much of this territory is still untamed, authentic, and rich in traditions and culture. And you have plenty to choose from.
The countries that make the Balkan Peninsula are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia. The European side of Turkey, with the capital Istanbul, is located on the Balkan Peninsula too.
Residents of Ohrid, a touristic town in the southwest of the Republic of Macedonia, were shocked by view of the lake shores this week — a muddy beach covered in oil-like liquid replaced the once deep and clear waters of the oldest lake in Europe.
Lake Ohrid and the surrounding area is a UNESCO world heritage site and a biodiversity hotspot harboring more than 212 endemic species that exist in no place else on Earth. Due to its age scientists have also dubbed it a living evidence of evolution.
The citizen initiative OhridSOS, fighting against harmful urbanization on the lake shores, posted alarming photos of dry shores covered in an oily substance on February 13, 2017. This caused a strong discussion on social media in Macedonia. People demanded responsibility from the local and national authorities.
Conservationists are warning that Europe’s oldest lake, a haven of biodiversity and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, faces multiple development threats.
Lake Ohrid, which straddles the mountainous border of Macedonia and Albania, has been in existence for up to three million years and is home to more than 200 species of flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world.
But huge infrastructure plans on the Macedonian side have alarmed environmentalists and the United Nation’s cultural agency UNESCO, which has called on the country’s authorities to conduct an urgent assessment of the potential cumulative damage.
Topping most travel lists is an island-hopping escapade through Croatia and Montenegro, as both countries offer a slew of stunning coastlines and Old World charm where cobblestoned streets and castles prove common. But unbeknownst to most, these countries are just the outset of exploration into the Balkans region, home to a number of culturally vibrant and naturally impressive countries where you won’t run into troves of tourists: You can dine alfresco at family-run, waterfront restaurants, and you don’t have to dodge selfie sticks while enjoying castle-top views. Here, discover six destinations in the Balkans you need to visit now.
The training course “Nature Management for the Proposed Extension of the World Heritage Property: Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region” will take place in Tushemisht, Albania, on 6 and 7 December 2016.
The training course aims to build capacities for implementing nature management actions based on cross-sectoral cooperation for the proposed extension to the Albanian part of the Lake Ohrid region of the existing World Heritage property: “Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region” (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).
The training course, coordinated by IUCN with the support of ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre, will contribute to a shared understanding of the ecosystem of the region; of the threats to the lake ecosystem; and of the actions required to address those threats.