lake ohrid - unesco world heritage

Lake Ohrid quick facts

>> located at an altitude of 683 m
>> bounded by high mountain chains to the east and
west, reaching about 2,250 m in altitude
>> max. depth of 288.7 m and average depth of 155 m
>> one of the most voluminous lakes in Europe
>> total surface area of 358 km2, of which two-
thirds are located in the N.Macedonia and about
one-third in the Republic of Albania
>> immediate catchment area of 1.129 km2, but the
effective catchment extends into the Lake
Prespa basin due to an underground karst
connection
>> over 1,400 native species, including around 300
species endemic to Lake Ohrid
>> over 160,000 people live around Lake Ohrid, with
almost 52,000 in Albania (2011 census data)
>> about 300,000 visitors explore the region’s
natural and cultural heritage every year.
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Lake Ohrid region - UNESCO World Nature and Cultural Heritage

Lake Ohrid has also long been recognized as a superlative natural phenomenon. With a geological and biological history of over one million years, Lake Ohrid stands out as one of the oldest lakes in Europe and a remarkable biodiversity hotspot of global importance. It has been estimated that it is the lake with the highest biodiversity in the world, taking into account the number of endemic species per surface area. The catchment area also supports equally rich and important biodiversity with exceptionally high number of endemic species.

The town of Ohrid, one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, represents a rare architectural and artistic achievement and boasts a wealth of architectural,archaeological, material and intangible values. The urban nucleus of Ohrid includes buildings and other features dating back to prehistoric times, Antiquity and Late Antiquity, Early Christianity, Early and High Middle Ages and the Ottoman period, up to present day. 

The Cyrillic alphabet was an indirect result of the missionary work of the 9th-century “Apostles of the Slavs,” St. Cyril (or Constantine) and St. Methodius. Their disciples went to South Slavic regions, where in the 900s they constructed a new script for Slavic, that became known as Cyrillic. Saints Naum and Clement, both of Ohrid and both among the disciples of Cyril and Methodius, are credited with having devised the Cyrillic alphabet.

The World Heritage property “Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region” was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979, initially as a natural property, and was re-inscribed one year later to become a mixed (natural and cultural) property on the basis of the World Heritage criteria (i), (iii), (iv) and (vii).

The World Heritage Selection Criteria

• Criterion (i): represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
• Criterion (iii): bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
• Criterion (iv): be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history; and
• Criterion (vii): contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.

The inscribed property includes the historical centre of Ohrid, the town of Struga, several fishermen’s settlements on the shore, early Christian spiritual centres and monasteries, as well as over 250 archaeological sites covering a period of more than 5,000 years.
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