Sar planina Mountain – Sharr Mountain

The Shar Planina massif /Macedonian side/ is located between the Gostivar and Tetovo valleys in the south-east, the Mavrovo Lake on the south, the Korab Mt massif in the west. From here, with a small part, the Shar Mountain massif enters the Albanian territory, while its northern and north-western parts are located on the territories of Serbia /province of Kosovo and Metohija/ and Montenegro. Sharr Mountain stretches on a surface of 1600 km, 56.25% of its massif is located partially in Macedonia, 43.12% in Serbia and 0.63% in Albania, which makes it one of the largest mountains in the Balkans. Mountain Shara is the largest mountain in Macedonia, 80 km long and around 30 km wide, and its pastures, peaks, valleys, forests, and rivers are immense. Shar planina Mountain is a mountain with glacial relief, beautiful forests, stunning streams and rivers. The Shar Planina Mountain features very interesting vegetation that includes crops grown up to around 1000 meters, forests up to 1700 meters, and above that lie high pastures which encompass around 550 square kilometers. High quality dairy products, mainly cheese and feta cheese, are made in the many sheepfolds on Shar Mountain and the adjacent mountains.

The Shar Mountain has been formed in the Tertiary period. The most upper parts of the Shar mountain had been frozen with large amounts of ice and snow. The Sharr mountain borders extends from the Kosovo’s city of Prizren, following the Lepenec River, the city of Kachanik, passes the Serbia/Macedonia border, the canyon of Derven and forms the waste Polog valley. The border passes near the Vardar River spring called Vrutok and goes near the valley of Mavrovo. There the Radika river separates the two highest Macedonian mountains: Shar planina Mountain and Korab Mountain. After that, the border is mounting, reaching the point of junction of three state borders: Macedonian, Serbia-Montenegro and Albanian. The border now follows the road to the Kosovo’s small town of Restelica, the river of Globocica, Plavska river, river of Beli Drim and reaches again the city of Prizren. The Shar Mountain has as many as 43 peaks higher than 2500 meters above the sea level ! An interesting fact is that if starting the travel through the Shar planina mountain from the domineering and magnificent Ljuboten peak, it can be accomplished without going down below 2,000 m of altitude all the way to the Korab mountain for at least 80 km!
Twenty seven of the total of 39 mountain glacier lakes of Shar Mountain lie on the Macedonian side of the border. The biggest glacier lake on the mountain is the Bogovinsko lake, situated near the Borislaec peak, on the 1960 meters above the sea. It is long 452 m and wide 225 m, with a depth of 2.2 m. Following is the Crno lake, situated near the Borislaec peak, on the 2122 meters above the sea. It is long 248 m and wide 185 m, with a depth of 2.2 m. The third biggest glacier lake on the Sharr Mountain is the Golem gjol lake, on the 2180 meters above the sea, it is long 290 and wide 115 meters, with a depth of 5,60 m. On the Serbian (Kosovo’s) side of the mountain, the most important lakes are: Livadicko (2173 m) near the peak of Livadica, Jazinachko lake (2180 m) near the Ezerska chuka peak, Big lake (2400 m) near the Bistrica peak etc. Around 72 rivers are forming the mountain canyons and valleys on Shar Mountain. The most important rivers on Sharr Mountain are: Vrutochka, Vrapchiska, Golema, Mazdracha, Bogovinska, Kamenjanska, Pena, Leshocka, Belovishka, Vratnichka, Plavska, Sharshtica, Petroshtica, Ljubinska, Restelicka etc. The most important mountain waterfall is is situated on the Belovishka reka (43 meters high). The waterfall of Leshnica (25 m) is situated near the Sharr Mountain peak of Titov vrv, 2747 m.

The most popular winter ski resort in the Macedonia – Popova Shapka is located on Mount Shara on the Macedonian side on the 1780 meters above sea level, 35 km from the capital Skopje, along very good paved road. Popova Shapka ski resort offers excellent ski environment and hotel accommodations, set far higher than most east European resorts. Visitors not only from Macedonia, but also from many other countries return season after season to Popova Shapka Ski Center to relax, have fun, and experience adventure. Popova Shapka ski resort on Shar Mountain has been a host to both the European and Balkan Ski Championships. There are two ways to get to Popova Shapka ski resort : by car and by rope-railway with a starting location in Tetovo. The rope-railway is 6 km long and it takes about 36 minutes to reach the top. In the past the Popova Šapka Ski Center was extremely popular for skiers of former Yugoslavia, while after a long break, it becomes interesting for nostalgic and the newcomer generations of skiers, intermediate and advanced snowboarders. There are more and more domestic and foreign skiers and visitors to the Popova Sapka Ski Center, which regains its old splendor and reputation. The Popova Sapka Ski Center features a number of ski lifts of the total length of 20 km, while ski lifts are 6070 meters in length, with capacity of 4000 skiers per hour and the average speed of 3 m/hour. The best ski tracks and runaways of the Popova Sapka Ski Center are „Ceripasina”, „Ge”, „Sveti Ilija”, „Aerodrom”, „Mali Jelak” and „Potok” 1 and 2, while the highest peaks of the ski resort are located at the elevation of 2500 meters. The Popova Šapka Ski Center features three ski runs arranged under FIS standards, of which the tracks of Orlova and Jezerino every year hosts the International Sharr Mountain Slalom cup. For the various types of skiers and winter sports skills, and even for the most demanding and advanced skiers can find a suitable ski track in Popova Sapka Ski Center. The great joy is slalom down along the sunny weather from the height of 2500 meters to 1100 meters. The main feature of the Popova Šapka Ski Center is the large number of sunny days during the ski season, as well as the large quantity of snow. Free-ride lovers find here plenty of terrains perfect for ride off the track. The Popova SapkaSki Center specially organizes full-day off-track tours, constructed with the ratrack, with closed cabin, that accommodates 20 skiers.

The Sharplaninec is an ancient livestock guarding breed from the Shar Planina Mt region. It is named after the Shar Planina mountain range where the breed is most common. The Sharplaninec dog was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1995. The Sharplaninec has the honor of being recognized by both the Macedonian and the Yugoslav kennel clubs. Thought to be older than the Istrian Shepherd (although not as old a breed as the Greek Shepherd Dog or the Turkish Akbash), this reserved guardian exists in sustainable numbers in Serbia and Montenegro and Macedonia. It was first recognized as a distinct breed in 1930. Since 1975 successful exports have been carried out to the United States and Canada to control coyotes, and this is where its future security rests. It is now gaining recognition as a hard-working, readily able flock guard in the Balkan countries. Numerous in its homeland, the Sharplaninec is still part of the great flock. It is versatile and occasionally works cattle or serves as guard. The highly prized dairy products, mostly the cheese and the feta cheese are produced in numerous dairies on the slopes of the Sharr Mountain and in the surroundings.