Maximum Depth: 288 m, Surface Area: 358 km², Age: 2-3 million years
Lake Ohrid has been a crossroads of culture for many generations, and its modern atmosphere is shaped by a diverse mix of historical traditions. Visitors to the Lake Ohrid region will note the constant interaction of new and old: while some pockets of the region seem untouched by time, others are brimming with modern convenience.
On the northern side of Lake Ohrid lies the city of Ohrid, the largest and most visited city on the lakeshore. This city of over 42,000 residents is one of the most continuously inhabited cities in the world. Archaeological artifacts prove the first prehistoric settlers arrived as early as 5,000 years BC. Romans, Slavs, and Ottomans also shaped Ohrid, and the city was an influential center of culture and economy until the turn of the 19th century. The past is still very much a part of modern Ohrid, which boasts a lovingly preserved old town and a wide variety of religious landmarks. The city is sometimes called the “Jerusalem of the Balkans,” and is said to have once held 365 churches—one for every day of the year.
Lake Ohrid is Europe’s oldest lake.
Formed by tectonic rifting over two million years ago. The lake’s deepest point reaches 288 meters. Much of Lake Ohrid’s water originates in Lake Prespa, a lake about 10 km to the southeast and 150 meters higher in altitude than Lake Ohrid. The mountain range of Galicica National Park divides the two lakes. Lake Prespa’s waters channel through underground rivers and streams before bubbling up in springs in and around Lake Ohrid. Notable underwater springs are in Drilon Springs and near St. Naum Monastery.