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Lake Prespa
Location
Location Balkans (Albania), (Greece), (Republic of Macedonia)
Coordinates 40°54′N 21°02′E / 40.9°N 21.033°E / 40.9; 21.033Coordinates: 40°54′N 21°02′E / 40.9°N 21.033°E / 40.9; 21.033
Lake type tectonic
Basin countries Albania, Greece, Republic of Macedonia
Surface area 273 km²
Max. depth 54 m
Surface elevation 853 m
Islands Golem Grad, Mal Grad
Topographic map of Lake Prespa and Lake Ohrid

Prespa is the name of two freshwater lakes in southeast Europe, shared by Greece, Albania, and the Republic of Macedonia. Of the total surface area, 190 km² belongs to the Republic of Macedonia, 84.8 km² to Greece and 38.8 km² to Albania. They are the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkans, standing at an altitude of 853 m (2,798 ft).

The Great Prespa Lake (Macedonian: Преспанско Езеро, Prespansko Ezero, Greek: Μεγάλη Πρέσπα, Limni Megáli Préspa, Albanian: Liqeni i Prespes) is divided between Albania, Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. The Small Prespa Lake (Greek: Μικρή Πρέσπα, Limni Mikrá Prespa; Albanian: Prespa e Vogël) is shared only between Greece (138 km² drainage area; 43.5 km² surface area) and Albania (51 km² drainage area; 3.9 km² surface area).

In the 10th century, the tsar Samuil built the fortress and church of St. Achillius on an island called Agios Achillios in the Small Prespa Lake, on the Greek side of the border. The biggest island in the Great Prespa Lake, on the Republic of Macedonia's side, is called Golem Grad ("Large Town"), and Snake Island (Zmiski Ostrov). The other island Mal Grad (Small Town, in Albania) is the site of a ruined 14th century monastery dedicated to St. Peter. Today, both islands are uninhabited.

Because Great Prespa Lake sits about 150m above Lake Ohrid, which lies only about 10 km (6 miles) to the west, its waters run through underground channels in the karst and emerge from springs which feed streams running into Lake Ohrid.

For many years, the Greek part of the Prespa Lakes region was an underpopulated, military sensitive area which required special permission for outsiders to visit. It saw fierce fighting during the Greek Civil War and much of the local population subsequently emigrated to escape endemic poverty and political strife. The region remained little developed until the 1970s, when it began to be promoted as a tourist destination. With an abundance of rare fauna and flora, the area was declared a Transnational Park in 2000.

The largest town in the Prespa Lakes region is Resen in the Republic of Macedonia.

References

  • "Prespa, Lake". Encyclopædia Britannica, 2005.
  • "Prespa, Lake". The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004.

See also

External links

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