Pogradec

Pogradec is fantastic tourist resort situated 720 meters above sea level and surrounded by beautiful high mountains of Kamja and Guri -Mokra Planina- and gorgeous Ohrid Lake, the deepest waters in the Balkans. Pogradec is a town located by the Ohrid lakeshore at a site with a long history of occupation, as attested to by the archaeological findings and the remains of a fortified settlement dating back to the 5th century. The city stretches along Lake Ohrid, sharing a national border with Macedonia, the crossing being just 5 kilometers from the city center. Podgradec is traffic crossroad where several roads join – Mokra planina (1525 m) in Albania from west and the shores of the Ohrid Lake, from the east (685 m). Here is junction of roads from 3 directions – the main road goes from Ohrid along the east shore of the Ohrid Lake, the second road goes along the western shore from Struga, and the third road leads from-to Korca, in Albania. One road goes to Elbasan in Albania, from the main road Podgradec – Struga, close to the mountain pass and border between Macedonia and Albania – Cafa-san. In the hinterland of  Podgradec, on the west, rises gigantic Mokra Planina Mountain, which is very suitable for cattle breeding, while the fertile zone lies only in the southeast of the settlement, in the Podgradec Field. Southeast of Podgradec is the shore of Ohrid Lake, with small marina, with the coastline of Lake Ohrid in Albania 56 km long. Lake Ohrid is recognized at the international level as an important site for biodiversity conservation. Lake Ohrid has been given the status of an Important Bird Area (IBA) both in Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and is part of the European Green Belt initiative, one of the most comprehensive transboundary conservation initiatives in Europe.

On the top of the hill overlooking Pogradec there is an ancient Illyrian fortress believed to have been known as Encheleana (Enkelana in Albanian). This gorgeous region has been known with the Roman name Lyhnidas (Lake of Light). In the Middle Ages the fortress was reconstructed and the place got the Slavic name, according to the inhabitants of the Southern Albania at this time (Pogradec, Pod Grad – the place beneath the fortress). In the close vicinity of Podgradec, there are numerous villages, mostly with the Medieval and Slavonic names, such are Blace, Bratomir, Velčane, Grabovica, Zagoričane, Zervaska, Leskovec, Mamulište, Piskupija, Piskupati, Starovo, Trebinje, Tušemište, Cerova…

During the 18th century under Turkish occupation, the town of Pogradec became an administrative center, but was largely destroyed ruing the World War I, again during the Italian-Greek War of 1940-1941 and twice during the National Liberation War (1941-1944). However a number of characteristic houses have been preserved in Pogradec as cultural monuments. Pogradec has a population of 40,000 inhabitants. It is a center of the food industry, noted for its canned fruits, vegetables and dairy products. There are also factories producing furniture, tobacco and knitwear. Pogradec has an excellent bathing beach and has a great future as a tourist center. The environment of Pogradec offers an alpine like scenery of rare beauty. The lofty mountains of Kamja and Guri i Topit stand over it like a crown. Pogradec is attractive and relaxing not only during the hot summer but even during the cold winter, the yellow colors of fall and the spring season for lovers. You will commonly experience in all seasons fresh air, good food, wonderful nature, extraordinary hospitable people, modern hotels and entertainment sites. It is a pleasure to taste the Koran fish which is only found in Ohrid Lake and in the Russian Baikal Lake. The shores are exposed to northern winds and thus are one of the most picturesque places along the Ohrid Lake.

One enters the region of Pogradec via the national highway where the road from Macedonia crosses Maja e Qafthanës border cross. This crossroad offers exceptional views worth photographing of Ohrid Lake, a real pearl “shelled” between Mali i Thatë (“Dry Mountain”) in the east and the Mokra highland in the west. A few meters further down, one might stop at the Lin peninsula and in the village with the same name, 25 km away from Pogradec. It is said that in ancient times, this tiny village was the favorite holiday destination of the parents of the Roman emperor Justinian. Besides the magical view, visitors should also see the mosaics of the Byzantine Bazilica in Lin village that dates back to the 7th-6th centuries B.C., which is the UNESCO sight, showing an amazing ensemble of zoomorphic, floral, and geometric decorations, which resemble the mosaics of ancient Durrës. The remains of the structures of the basilica are located on the top of a peninsula formed by a hilly outcrop close to the lakeshore connected to the mainland through a stretch of lowland, today converted into arable land. Pogradec invites you to relax and enjoy yourself all year long.

 

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