Lake Ohrid spans over the rocky edges between the southwestern area of the Republic of Macedonia as well as eastern Albania. 940 ft deep at the maximum and 508 ft on an average, it sprawls over an area of 358 sq km, with the water body comprising about 55.4 cubic km. Considered to the oldest lake of Europe by many experts, it is one of the continent’s deepest ones, conserving an exclusive aquatic ecosystem with over 200 common species of worldwide importance. The inclusion of this site into the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1979 has only added to the importance and popularity of the place. However, too much of tourist influx is proving to be harmful to the ecosystem altogether.
Lake Ohrid – History
The Ohrid and Prespa Lakes used to be the property of a group of Dessaret basins that were born out of a geotectonic depression on the western side of the Dinaric Alps at the time of the Pliocene era, as many as five million years ago. Very few lakes around the world, except Lake Baikal and Lake Tanganyika have such remote origins as this. Majority of the other, brief-span lakes have a natural life of below 100,000 years before being filled up with sediments with passage of time. Experts say that this process got relatively delayed in the case of Lake Ohrid due to its massive depth and little sediment input made by its clean spring inflows.
Lake Ohrid – Flora and fauna
Lake Ohrid is home to endemic species covering the complete food-chain, starting from 20 species of phytoplankton and sestile algae, 2 over plant species, 5 species zooplankton, 2 species of Salmonidae, 12 species Cyprinidae, 2 species of Cobitidae and 1 species of Anguillidae. Ten species of the entire team of fauna here are commercially significant for the fishing industry, most importance being allotted to the two endemic as well as the relic trout species – Ohrid Trout and Belvica, with Europian Eel and Plasica being the next two.
Despite the extraordinarily high level of nativeness in Lake Ohrid with ten of the seventeen recognized fish species along with 80% of its molluscan fauna being essentially endemic, a considerable number of non-endemic species is present in Lake Ohrid. These include mobile species, such as, via water birds or migratory, like the European eel. The reed beds as well as the wetlands on the lake shore provide crucial habitation area for several migratory water birds, like, the Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous Duck, Swan, Spotted Eagle, and Eastern Imperial Eagle.
How to reach Lake Ohrid
You can avail of the regular bus service either from Bitola or Skopje to reach the town of Ohrid, from where you can easily reach the Lake Ohrid by public transport.
“St Paul the Apostle” Airport is the international airport of Ohrid located at about 7 km from city center and it connects the city with important cities cities of the world, such as, Zurich, Belgrade, Ljubljana, Tel Aviv, Dusseldorf, Vienna, and Amsterdam.