The Republic of Macedonia is a country of lakes, which are not only an important natural resource, but also have major potential for the development of tourism. There are three large tectonic lakes, fifteen artificial lakes and also twenty-five glacial lakes located in the highest areas of the mountain ranges dating from the Ice Age.
The largest tectonic lake, Lake Ohrid, lies at an altitude of 693 m. It comprises a total area of 349 square kilometres, 118.9 of which belong to Albania. The water of this lake is characterized by its special color and reaches a summer temperature of 24 C. Its singular natural conditions have made possible the survival of life forms from the Tertiary Period, owing to which Lake Ohrid has often been called a museum of living fossils.
East of Lake Ohrid, in a beautiful and fertile valley, lies Lake Prespa. At an altitude of 853 m, at the junction of the borders of Macedonia, Albania and Greece, this lake occupies an area of 274 square kilometers, 49.4 sq km of which belong to Albania, and 15.6 sq km to Greece. The water temperature reaches between 18 and 24 C.
Lake Dojran, the smallest tectonic lake, is situated in the southeastern part of Macedonia. It occupies an area of 42.7 square kilometers, of which 27.1 belong to Macedonia, and 15.6 to Greece. Lake Dojran lies at an altitude of only 148 meters, as a result of which it is exposed to the influence of the mild sea climate of the Aegean Sea. Owing to its small area and its depth of only 10 meters, water temperature reaches up to 27 C. This lake is well-known for the fishing technique which employs cormorants, which exists only in China.
During the last years this lake has been struggling for survival. As a result of the uncontrolled use of water for farming by Greece, the lake level has dropped 1.5 meters below its permitted hydro-biological minimum, so that the lake is in danger of a real ecological disaster. Macedonia ecologists have initiated a number of international actions for its protection.
The following are some of the major artificial lakes: Mavrovo, Globochica, Debar, Tikvesh, Vodocha, Veles, Kalimanci, Berovo, Lipkovo, Mantovo and Strezhevo.
The 25 glacial lakes are located on Mounts Shar, Pelister, Jablanica and Jakupica. They have been known among the people as ‘mountain eyes’.
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