Lake Prespa
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The Lake Prespa is located on the tripoint of
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
, and
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
. It is a system of two lakes separated by an
isthmus An isthmus ( or ; plural: isthmuses or isthmi; from grc, ἰσθμός, isthmós, neck) is a narrow piece of land connecting two larger areas across an expanse of water by which they are otherwise separated. A tombolo A tombolo is a sandy i ...

isthmus
: the Great Prespa Lake, divided between the three countries, and the Little Prespa Lake, mostly within Greece. They are the highest
tectonic lakes A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable ove ...
in the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
, standing at an elevation of . The area contains three national parks:
Prespa Prespa ( mk, Преспа, sq, Prespa, el, Πρέσπα) is a region shared between North Macedonia, Albania and Greece. It shares the same name with the two Lake Prespa, Prespa lakes which are situated in the middle of the region. The largest ...
in Albania,
Galičica
Galičica
in North Macedonia and
Prespa Prespa ( mk, Преспа, sq, Prespa, el, Πρέσπα) is a region shared between North Macedonia, Albania and Greece. It shares the same name with the two Lake Prespa, Prespa lakes which are situated in the middle of the region. The largest ...
in Greece. The largest town in the region is Resen in North Macedonia. In 2014, the
Ohrid-Prespa Transboundary Reserve Ohrid-Prespa Transboundary Biosphere Reserve ( mk, Прекуграничен биосферен резерват „Охрид-Преспа“, Prekugraničen biosferen rezervat „Ohrid-Prespa“; sq, Oher – Prespe, Rezerve Ndërkufitare Bios ...
between Albania and North Macedonia was added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves.


Geography

The Great Prespa Lake ( mk, Преспанско Езеро, ''Prespansko Ezero'', sq, Liqeni i Prespës së Madhe, el, Μεγάλη Πρέσπα, ''Megáli Préspa'') has the total surface of . The largest part of it, belongs to North Macedonia; to Albania; and to Greece. To the south, the Little Prespa Lake (Greek: Μικρή Πρέσπα, ''Mikri Prespa''; Albanian: ''Prespa e Vogël''; Macedonian: Мало Преспанско Езеро) has the total surface area of , most of it in Greece, with the westernmost tip () in Albania. The two lakes are separated by a 4 km (2½ miles) long and 500 metres (550 yards) wide isthmus on the Greek territory, carrying an embankment with a road connecting the village of
Psarades Psarades ( el, Ψαράδες), is a village and a Communities and Municipalities of Greece, community of the Prespes, Prespes municipality. Before the 2011 local government reform it was part of the municipality of Prespes, of which it was a muni ...

Psarades
. A short stretch of a canal connects the lakes on the western side of the isthmus.


History

In Classical times, the Prespa region formed part of ancient Lýnkos (Λύγκος), and the lakes were called Little and Great Brygeis. In the 10th century, the
Tsar Samuil Samuel (also Samuil; bg, Самуил, ; mk, Самоил/Самуил, ; Old Church Slavonic: Самоилъ; died October 6, 1014) was the Tsar (''Emperor'') of the First Bulgarian Empire from 997 to 6 October 1014. From 977 to 997, he was a ...
built the fortress and church of St. Achillius on an island called Agios Achillios in the Small Prespa Lake, on the Greek side of the border. The biggest island in the Great Prespa Lake, within North Macedonia, is called Golem Grad ("Large Town"), and Snake Island (Zmiski Ostrov). The other island Mal Grad ("Small Town", in Albania) is the site of a ruined 14th century monastery dedicated to
St. Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρος, Petros; cop, Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, Petros; lat, Petrus; ar, شمعون الصفـا, Sham ...

St. Peter
. Today, both islands are uninhabited. Because Great Prespa Lake sits in limestone country about 150m above
Lake Ohrid Lake Ohrid ( mk, Охридско Езеро , al, Liqeni i Ohrit , ''Liqeni i Pogradecit'';) is a lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not p ...

Lake Ohrid
, which lies only about 10 km (6 miles) to the west, the only outlets for its waters are through underground channels in the
karst Karst is a topography Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the surface forms and features themselves, or a description (especially their depiction in maps). Topography ...

karst
and emerge from springs which feed streams running into Lake Ohrid. For many years, the Greek part of the Prespa Lakes region was an underpopulated, military sensitive area which required special permission for outsiders to visit. It saw fierce fighting during the
Greek Civil War The Greek Civil War ( el, ο Eμφύλιος όλεμος}, ''o Emfýlios'' 'Pólemos'' "the Civil War") was fought between the Hellenic Army The Hellenic Army ( el, Ελληνικός Στρατός, Ellinikós Stratós, sometimes abbrevi ...
and much of the local population subsequently emigrated to escape endemic poverty and political strife. The region remained little developed until the 1970s, when it began to be promoted as a tourist destination. With an abundance of rare fauna and flora, the area was declared a Transnational Park in 2000. In 1999 the Society for the Protection of Prespa received the
Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award honours the work of governments, organisations and individuals in promoting the wise use and conservation of wetlands. The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award was established in 1996 at the 6th meeting of the co ...
for its conservation efforts regarding the Lake Prespa
Ramsar
Ramsar
site, and was eventually included on 3 July 2013. In 2018, Great Prespa Lake was the setting for the signing of the
Prespa Agreement The Prespa agreement,; In mk, Договорот од Преспа, translit=Dogovorot od Prespa or Преспански договор, ''Prespanski dogovor'' also known as the Treaty of Prespa, the Prespes agreement or the Prespa accord, is an ...
, intended to resolve the
Macedonia naming dispute
Macedonia naming dispute
by renaming the Republic of Macedonia to
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
. The agreement was signed on 17 June 2018 in a high-level ceremony at the Greek border village of
Psarades Psarades ( el, Ψαράδες), is a village and a Communities and Municipalities of Greece, community of the Prespes, Prespes municipality. Before the 2011 local government reform it was part of the municipality of Prespes, of which it was a muni ...

Psarades
on the lake, by the two foreign ministers
Nikola Dimitrov Nikola Dimitrov (born 30 September 1972) is a Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethni ...
(of the Republic of Macedonia) and
Nikos Kotzias Nikolaos Kotzias, Order of Merit (Portugal), GCM ( el, Νικόλαος Κοτζιάς; born 21 December 1950) is a Greeks, Greek politician and diplomat who served as Minister for Foreign Affairs (Greece), Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2015 t ...
(of
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
) and in the presence of the respective prime ministers,
Zoran Zaev Zoran Zaev ( mk, Зоран Заев, ; born 8 October 1974) is a Macedonian economist and politician who has been serving as the Prime Minister of North Macedonia The prime minister of North Macedonia, officially the President of the Governm ...

Zoran Zaev
and
Alexis Tsipras Alexis Tsipras ( el, Αλέξης Τσίπρας, ; born 28 July 1974) is a Greek politician serving as Leader of the Official Opposition since 2019. The leader of left-wing party Syriza The Coalition of the Radical Left – Progressive Alli ...

Alexis Tsipras
. After the ceremony, Tsipras and Zaev crossed over the border to North Macedonia's side of the lake for lunch at the village of Oteševo, in a highly symbolic move that marked the first time a Greek Prime Minister ever entered the Republic of Macedonia since it declared independence in 1991.


Wildlife

Only 11 native fish species are known from the lake, but 9 of these are
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest gro ...
: '' Alburnoides prespensis'', '' Alburnus belvica'', '' Barbus prespensis'', '' Chondrostoma prespense'', '' Cobitis meridionalis'', '' Pelasgus prespensis'', '' Rutilus prespensis'', '' Salmo peristericus'' and '' Squalius prespensis''.Talevski, Milosevic, Maric, Petrovic, Talevska and Talevska (2009).
Biodiversity of Ichtyofauna from Lake Prespa, Lake Ohrid and Lake Skadar.
' Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment 23(2). ISSN 1310-2818


Important Bird Areas

North Macedonia's part of the lake has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports populations of ferruginous ducks, tufted ducks, Dalmatian pelicans and pygmy cormorants. The Albanian part of the lake is a separate but corresponding IBA for the same reason, as is the Greek southern section of the lake.


Gallery

File:Fishing at Lake Prespa.JPG, Fisherman's hut in Oteševo, North Macedonia File:Beach Ribarsko Selo.JPG, Beach "Ribarsko Selo" in Oteševo, North Macedonia File:Lake Prespa beach (Konjsko).JPG, Beach at Konjsko, Resen, Konjsko, North Macedonia File:Prespa Lake 1.JPG, Prespa as seen from Oteševo - Stenje route in North Macedonia File:Prespa Lake (Oteshevo - Stenje).JPG, The lake as seen from Oteševo - Stenje route File:The "Evropa" hotel in Oteshevo, Macedonia.jpg, "Evropa" hotel in Oteševo, now abandoned File:Lake Prespa (southern shoreline).JPG, The southern shoreline (Stenje - Konjsko) File:Fisherman's cabin (Lake Prespa).JPG, Fisherman's huts at "Ribarsko Selo" File:Psarades from Big Lake.JPG, Shoreline along the Greek side File:View of Megaln Prespa Lake.JPG, View from Greek side File:Scale Megaln Prespa Limvn.JPG, Cliff face around Greek side File:Lake_Prespa_Albania.jpg, Maligrad Island in Albania Tourism Lake Prespa in North Macedonia has not commanded a large tourism population in the past. The majority of foreign tourism has been clustered around the sister lake, Ohrid, where there are abundant overnight accommodations, restaurants and a lively town center in the summer months. Lake Prespa has subsequently remained somewhat isolated and pastoral, bringing its own special attraction in current times. The area remains pristine, without the hustle and bustle of a tourist town and a distinct lack of concrete and pollution which usually comes with developing tourism. Waterfront developments with sophisticated cafes serving food and drinks such as "Connect Beach" in the village of Slivnica, however, are providing a way for visitors to spend the day on the lake in luxury, without impacting on the environment. Companies such ''Prespa Panorama'' based in North Macedonia are leading the development of overnight lodging for the region with a concept of low environmental impact, low volume accommodations in the region. The municipality of Resen has begun construction of a paved walking and biking path that will link the individual villages providing access for a walking or biking tour of the numerous villages that are scattered around the lake. The completed concept will allow individuals to explore the entire south western corner of North Macedonia including Pelister and Galicica, two of the most beautiful and scenic mountain peaks of the region on foot or by bicycle. A descent from Galicica on the western face brings the cyclist or hiker down to the most scenic part of Lake Ohrid, which is separated from Lake Prespa by its massif. Once on the Lake Ohrid side, the springs where the waters of Lake Prespa emerge from under the mountain and drain into Lake Ohrid can be enjoyed.


Sources

* "Prespa, Lake". ''Encyclopædia Britannica'', 2005. * "Prespa, Lake". ''The Columbia Encyclopedia'', 2004.


See also

*Prespa National Park (Albania), Prespa National Park *Prespa, adjacent region in North Macedonia *Prespes, adjacent municipality in Greece *Prespa e Vogël and Golloborda, adjacent region in Albania


References


External links

*
Archived webpage of Transboundary Prespa ParkArchived webpage of Prespa National Park Official Website
{{Authority control Ancient lakes Lakes of Albania, Prespa Lakes of Greece, Prespa Lakes of North Macedonia, Prespa Prespa National Park (Albania) National parks of Greece Resen Municipality Albania–North Macedonia border Albania–Greece border Greece–North Macedonia border International lakes of Europe, Prespa Border tripoints Protected areas established in 2000 Ramsar sites in Albania Ramsar sites in North Macedonia Landforms of Western Macedonia Tourist attractions in Western Macedonia Important Bird Areas of North Macedonia Important Bird Areas of Greece Important Bird Areas of Albania