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.

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