Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Struga, Macedonia

The beauty and the blue colors of the Lake and the River Black Drim are surrounded by high mountains, a lot of cool springs, mountain lakes and small rivers, endemic flora and fauna, picturesque villages and a considerable number of cultural and historic monuments of the rich past.
Struga is situated in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia, on the shoreline of Lake Ohrid and alongside the banks of the River Black Drim that divides the city into two.
Lake Ohrid lies at an altitude of 695 meters above sea level and occupies an area of 348, 2 square km. The coast line of the lake is 87, 5 km long. The maximum depth of the lake is 289 meters, with a high transparency that reaches up to 24 meters.
The climate in the Struga region, geographically speaking, is continental, but through out the year one can fell warm air streaming because of the Adriatic Sea. Maximum average temperatures reach 27 degrees centigrade in July and August. The average temperature of the water of the Lake Ohrid is summer is 26 degrees centigrade, while the temperature throughout the year reaches up to around 12 degrees centigrade.
The Black Drim River is the only exit of the Lake Ohrid’s water. The river’s flow to Adriatic Sea forms the artificial lakes of Globochitza and Shpile.
On the shores of Lake Ohrid, since the Neolithic era, there were numerous ancient settlements. Struga and its surroundings have been continuously populated and featured as a cradle of ancient civilization.
During the findings at the mouth of the river Black Drim there was discovered archaeological evidence of an ancient palophyte settlement. The archaeological diggings discovered a fortune of ancient working tools made of stones and bones, as well as ceramics. Archaeological findings bear witness that near the mouth of the river Black Drim (ancient Drilon) was established the ancient city of Enchalon, by the Illyrian tribe of Encheleians. The “Via Egnatia” penetrated in the region of Struga, more precisely, passed through the village of Radozda, Struga. Inside the church of St George in Struga was found a millennium stone “Egnatia” on which is written the name of the Roman emperor Karakalius and the distance of 12 km dividing Struga from Ohrid.
The construction of Christian temples in the region of Struga started alongside with official acceptance of the Christian religion. The most indisputable facts are:
The Basilica of Ladorishta from the 4th century AD
The Basilica of Oktisi, known as the basilica of St Nicola of the village of Oktisi, from the 5th century AD

The church of St George is the most renowned one in the city of Struga, where one can find the icon of St George, which dates from 1267 and shows the patron painted frontally.
The church complex near the village of Kalishta, only 3 km away from Struga, is a monastery church dedicated to St Mary. It is accompanied by other sacral buildings and small cave churches inside the mountain in the western part of the coast of Lake Ohrid, which date from the 15th century and are decorated with a rich assembly of medieval frescoes and icons.
The church of St Spas is situated inside a cave in the village of Visni just bellow the village of Upper Belitza, dating from the 15th century. High above the mountains near the village of Radozda, inside a cave one can find a small church dedicated to St Archangel Michael, one of the oldest cave churches on the shores of Lake Ohrid with paintings dating from the 11th century.
The Mosque of Suleiman Arapi in Struga was built by the pasha of the sultan of the time in 1583, and is located on the right bank of the river Black Drim.
The Natural Scientific Museum of “Dr Nikola Nezlobinski” in Struga is one of the oldest institutions in Macedonia. The Museum began to work in the year 1928. There is an exhibition in the museum.
The citizens of Struga can be very proud of the many old crafts. Accordingly, they can point out the manufacturers of silver jewelry, hand made filigree, old style loom weaving, decorative wood carving, pottery and many other handicraft shops that are located mainly in the old city bazaar.
The traditional cuisine cherished for centuries in Struga and its surroundings invites you to taste the delicious meals.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Island of Brac

Bathed in the Mediterranean sunlight, enveloped by the scent of pines, sage and rosemary, and calmed by the sound of the crickets, Brac rises above the clear blue water of the Adriatic proudly facing Dalmatia’s largest city, Split. As the largest Dalmatian island, Brac is a true oasis of unspool nature, authentic Dalmatian architecture and a sense of serenity more associated with bygone days. In addition, it is within easy access of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the town of Trogir and the Diocletian’s Palace in Split), is well connected to the mainland by ferries and to the rest of the world by its own international airport.
You can leave stress and city life behind. Time is marked by passing shadows and stars, whilst the ancient bell towers ring out the rhythm of nature. Brac has always been a refuge for those in search of peace and tranquility, from the inhabitants of ancient Salona and the nobility of Split, through to modern travelers in search of true values. This is the place to allow you to relax and unwind.
Widely renowned and highly regarded around the world, the stone from Brac has been used in the construction of some of the most famous buildings in the world, from Diocletian’s Palace in Split to the White House in Washington, as well as the houses of fisherman and laborers of Brac. Enchanting villages dotted around the island display excellent examples of traditional architecture: stone houses, fireplaces, wells, balconies, entwined in bougainvillea, churches, bell towers, and streets paved in white stone slabs or pebbles, and courtyard adorned with vines, tangerine, lemon, and fig and pomegranate trees. The unpretentious simplicity of these houses built to resist the sun, wind and time, karts’ fields and olive groves, cairns, stone shelters and drywalls are a testimony of the wisdom and diligence of the island’s inhabitants, to the generations that drawn their energy from the sun, the stone and the sea.


Situated on a horse-shoe shaped cove, Supetar is a charming and picturesque harbor village. Everything here is close at hand and conveniently located: restaurants, shops, banks, post offices, market, cinema, library, health care services and various sports facilities. Your stay here will also be enhanced by the free concerts, theatrical shows, folklore festivals and numerous other events which are organized as part of the Supetar Summer of Culture.
With its excellent connections to Split via a direct car-ferry service (more than 14 departures per day during summer), Supetar is an ideal destination for those looking to benefit from the rich monumental heritage and natural beauties of the Central Dalmatian mainland (Diocletian’s Palace, Trogir, Salona, Klis, Vranjaca Cave, Cetina Canyon, Krka Falls, Sibenik Cathedral…), whilst still enjoying the charm of a small island town. Let’s not forget to mention the numerous opportunities for walks and excursions on the island: Blaca desert, Vidova Gora, Zlatni Rat, Museum of Brac, stone cutting school… every place on the island of Brac has its own beauty and appeal. In addition to the high-quality hotels in Supetar, many of the local households offer private accommodation facilities in the form of apartment rentals.


Located in a deep and relatively steep cove, Splitska is reminiscent of a swan gazing at its own reflection in the water. This place of exceptional beauty exudes an almost aristocratic serenity, particularly with the Cerinic family mansion built in the 16th century. Splitska is the ideal destination for those fond of walks in the countryside: a 45 minute walk to Skrip, 30 minute walk to Postira, and 30 minutes more to Dol. The town features three restaurants, a café and a store, as well as a Tourist Office open during the season.


As the oldest settlement on the island, Skrip is one of the must-see destinations for every visitor to Brac. The Museum of Brac is located in the old Radojkovic house; the nearby church of the Holly Spirit, the Cerinic family mansion and the parochial church of St Helen all stand witness to the time when life, endangered by pirates, carried on deep in the island and away from the coast, when Skrip was one of the most important places on the island. The few residents mainly depend on agriculture although Skrip’s historical importance has recently brought tourism to the village.


This is a quiet, tranquil little place located about 3 km from Supetar towards Sutivan. The old town centre exudes the atmosphere of a forgotten island village where time had stopped, as life has descended to the shoreline where new houses have been built amongst the pine trees and gardens, as close to the sea as possible. The Gumonca Cove with its beach and small port for fishing boats has thus become the Mirca’s new heart.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lakes in Macedonia, Greece

This is the wonderful landscape of Macedonia, which is worth visiting.

Lake Kastoria

The landscape surrounding the Lake of Kastoria is amazing. The partially forested hills, wet meadows, reed-beds and marshes, the woods right by the edge of the lake, all make up this amazing view. There is also a canoeing centre.

Lake Kerkini

The wetlands – of the most important in Greece – provide nesting ground for aquatic birds. The lake is a reservoir for water, which can be used for irrigation. It is also used as a dam to control floods. This was done by the use of the water from the river Strimonas.

Prespes Lakes

Big Prespa and Small Prespa are 47 km away from Florina and 50 km away from Kastoria. The area has interesting sights: Byzantine churches (one of which dates back to the 10th century), lake-side caves, where Byzantine monks lived as hermits and icon-painted rocks of the 14th and 15th centuries. You can find accommodation at the farm shelters of Psarades and Agios Germanos and enjoy the local home made delicacies such as pies, jam, pasta and other. Also you can swim, go on boat rides, walk or go for an outing to the mountain of Vitsi where you can ski if you wish.