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Lake of Skadar
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Lake of Skadar


Lake of Skadar is an ecological empire, an oasis of silence and close contact with untouched nature.


Lake of Skadar, 391 km2 of total area, is the biggest lake in the Balkans. It lies in Zeta-Skadar ravine and is connected with the Adriatic Sea by the river Bojana. 2/3 of the lake belongs to Montenegro and 1/3 to Albania. Montenegrin part of the lake was declared a National Park in 1983.


Small town called Rijeka Crnojevica is situated on the lake's coast and is full of historical heritage. In the vicinity of the town there are remains of the town Oktoih. There was the first printing firm. In 1494 the first book in this part of Europe was printed here ("Oktoih"). Numerous cultural and historical monuments: archaeological excavations, monastery complex and fortifications scattered around the basin are witnesses that even back in XIV and XV century this area was a significant cultural centre.


The Lake is full of islands and peninsulas with trails of rich history and cultural inheritance: Zabljak (XV c.) - the capital of former Zeta, Lesendro - a fortress on the rock in the middle of the Lake, the Grmozur fortress. Lake of Skadar is heaven for birds. There are 264 bird species registered, many of which are reduced in number or their survival is endangered. Lake of Skadar is an ecological empire, an oasis of silence and close contact with untouched nature. Clean water and preserved environment were good basis for extremely rich eco-system. This is the only habitation of pelicans in the south of Europe. Kasoronj (Trupa Longicurpa) is a plant that grows only in this area. Lake of Skadar is a habitat for bleak and carp - the two species of fish that cannot be found anywhere else.


During the rule of the Balsic dynasty, many orthodox monasteries were erected on the islands Starcevo, Beska and Moracnik.The oldest monastery with a church dedicated to the Assumption of the Mother of God was built in Starcevo between 1376 and 1378. Building of the monastery is connected to an old man called Makarije, who allegedly lived on the island as a monk and thus the island was called Starceva gorica (Old man's mountain).


Skadar lake is positioned 30 km southward Podgorica belonging in one part to Montenegro and in the other to Albania.Surrounded with mountains Lovcen, Sozina, Sutorman, Rumija, Tarabos and outskirts of Prokletije.


With 370 square kilometers it is the biggest lake on the Balkan Peninsula.It appertains to a group of hydrographic national parks, having in mind it is the only protected phenomenon – aquatorium.This park belongs to communes of Podgorica, Cetinje and Bar.


As national park it is special for its emphasized limnology characteristics and the biggest crypto depression on the Balkan Peninsula and one of the biggest in Europe. It is very interesting that the surface and depth of the lake vary depending from the quantity of precipitation. In rainy months the level of the lake grows to 2.5 to 3 meters and its surface augment to approximately 550 square meters. This particularity lasts for 5-6 months per year. It belongs to a group of counter flow lakes with large number of tributaries providing the lake with fresh water and the only bayou is river Bojana which flows into Adriatic Sea. This lake disposes of 45 species of fish, like carp and bleak the most known among them. Skadar lake is a real heaven for fisherman having in mind also the fact that with river Bojana from the sea upstream come such species like eels, sea perches etc.


The annual fish catch on Montenegrin part of the lake is approximately around million kilos.Fishing license can be obtained directly in the national park's property situated on the shore of the lake.


This lake represents the biggest bird reservation in Europe. The majority of birds builds their nest here and remains permanently but there are also those who come periodically.When summing both of them we come to a figure of 270 species of birds and among them most important wild ducks, geese etc. Certainly most famous of them is pelican, in Europe present only here.


There are many cultural and historical monuments on Skadar lake. A chuch from the Balsica period on the island Moracnik, churc of St. Virgin Marry built in 1440 by Princess Jelena doughter of the king Lazar on the island Beska-Brezojevica.


Above Virpazar there is a fortress Besac built in 16th century for the protection against Turk's offensive. On the island Lesendro there is a fortification of the same name built in 19th century.

National park has two organization units: Expert and guardian. Experts who work for this national park are specialists in various fields like: Ecology, Cultural heritage, planning, development and propaganda of tourism etc. When visiting Montenegro, Skadar Lake is easily accessible because it is positioned on the main traffic way connecting maritime with central region.