Lake Ohrid straddles the mountainous border between southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania. It is one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem that is of worldwide importance. With more than 200 endemic species. The importance of the lake was further emphasized when it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979. In 2010, NASA decided to name one of Titan’s lakes after Lake Ohrid. In 2014, the Ohrid-Prespa Transboundary Reserve between Albania and Macedonia was added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Ohrid is one of Europe’s great biological reserves. Most of the lake’s plant and animal species are endemic and unique to Ohrid. The most famous among these are two types of the city trout, named letnica and belvica. Other unique Ohrid creatures include two types of eel, and the bleak whose scales are used for making the well-known Ohrid pearl. This treasured jewel is produced according to a secret method which was passed on from generation to generation. Sport fishing attracts many passionate fishermen from Macedonia, Europe and even from the world.
Aside from the lake, Ohrid is most famous for its ancient churches, basilicas, and monasteries. Saints Kliment and Naum (students of Cyril and Methodus) wrote their teachings and formulated the Cyrillic alphabet used in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as neighboring countries Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro and as far as Russia, and many of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Most of these churches charge an entry which for tourists is normally double that what locals pay, but is still worth it. It is a good idea to cover up when entering a church, but most locals will understand the inconveniences involved during a hot Macedonian Summer. There is also a wonderful ancient walled fortress at the top of the city.
The lake rightly deserves the name “Macedonia’s freshwater sea”. Not only for its warm water blue colour, which gains its intensity from the sky blue colour, but because of its size, this lake gives an impression of being a sea. It covers an area of 358 square kilometers and one gets an impression of being in front of a large bay of the sea as if a part had been uprooted of the sea’s breadth, and launched among high mountains 695 meters above sea level. On its northern shore the ancient city of Ohrid, rises above the lake like some colossal piece of scenery. In addition located on a double hill with highest point at Samuel’s Fortress 800 m. above sea level.