Ohrid Lake - The Oldest Lake in Europe

Ohrid Lake - The Oldest Lake in Europe

Have you ever wondered how old the lakes are? And have you heard about the oldest lake in Europe, the pearl on the Balkans? Well, here is something about Ohrid Lake, the oldest lake in Europe and I must say, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world!

Several weeks ago, a group of Italian scientists, confirmed that the Ohrid Lake is the oldest lake in Europe. The researches were published by the leader of the expedition – prof. Giovanni Zanchetta from the University of Pisa.

Earlier this year, the expert Bernd Wagner, who was a part of an expedition, together with many experts in geology and mineralogy from the University of Cologne in Germany, finished their researches which started in 2013. According to their researches, Ohrid Lake IS the oldest lake in Europe

He wrote about it in an article entitled “The detective of the oldest lake in Europe” in the newspaper K├Âlner Stadt-Anzeiger, dedicated to the lake and its last surveys wich were conducted within the project to determine its age and climate changes through the time.

Ohrid Lake is the largest and most important natural lake in Macedonia and probably the most important aspect of biological stagnant aquatic ecosystems in Europe. It is characterized by a rich history, culture, archaeological sites and natural beauty. Thanks to these features, in the 1980, Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were declared a World Heritage Site under UNESCO protection.

It is situated in a valley, surrounded by mountains with peaks of over 2,000 meters. On the east side there are mountains Galichitsa and Petrino. Mount Galichitsa shares Ohrid and Prespa Basin. On the south shore of the lake are the Albanian mountains.

Well, how really is this lake old? Let’s say about 4 million years. The exact age is still buried in his depth, but it will came up one day.

This lake was on Earth even before the people was. It arose due to the tectonic movements of the earth. From its inception, until today, the flora and fauna in the lake haven’t suffered any drastic changes. Compared to that, they were drastic changes around the lake, such as the mountains rising up, new valleys, even during one period of time, some parts of the Balkan Peninsula were below the sea level, but the Ohrid Lake absolutely never changed.

Today there are only a few lakes in the world that are as old as this lake. Actually only Tanganyika lake in Africa and Titicaca in South America are dating from the same period. Ohrid Lake is unique in the world in the manner of its creation, because it was made by the vertical raising and lowering of the earth’s crust. Very few lakes in the world are created in this way. One of them is Lake Baikal in Russia. This lake is 100 times bigger than the Ohrid Lake.

Lake Ohrid, with its biodiversity, presents a world treasure. The lake is known as the Macedonian pearl which is considered an ideal laboratory for the discovery of many secrets, including monitoring of the evolution of the life on this planet. Studies by medical experts say the shores of Lake Ohrid has ideal conditions for the development of health tourism.

Ohrid Lake is among the richest lakes in the world with endemic species which are over 200 different species. According to its size, Ohrid Lake is considered the richest in the world with endemic! Many of these species are unchanged since the time of the occurrence of the lake, and they are “living fossils” with great importance for understanding the evolution of the wildlife, and the lake of course.

This is one of the things why Ohrid lake is one of the largest biological reserves in Europe. The earliest scientific studies, which were conducted on the lake during the XIX century, found that, as one of the oldest lakes in the world, it preserved primeval world that does not exist in any other places, or it can be found only in the form of fossils.

This lake nourishes itself with water from numerous surface and underground sources. In this regard, some researchers consider it unique in the world.

Ohrid Lake’s highest average depth (155 m) makes it the deepest lake in Europe and 14th in the world. It is among the 10 deepest (289 m) lakes in Europe and among the 50 deepest in the world! Because of its great depth of 100-150 m., the sunlight can’t rich in some of the deepest parts of the lake and they remain in complete darkness. However, the lake has organisms who are used to such conditions and adapted to life in complete darkness.

About the weather conditions, many times, strong winds can blow over the lake and this condition can be quite rough. Sometimes, the waves of certain parts of the lake can reach a great height to almost 1.5 meters! Despite the waves, the water in the lake is moving in the reverse direction, counterclockwise and vertically, which makes the water mixing.

It’s large amounts of water affect the climate in the region of the lake -in the summer it’s cooling and in winter it’s heating the air! For the same reasons, this lake never freezes.

At the bottom of the lake, over the centuries, vast layers of sediments have retained hundreds of meters. They represent the “historical record” of the lake and the circumstances in this space. With studying those layers, it has been established that the climate in this region is quite changed – from very cold and dry, to very hot and humid. In the sediments are found even thin layers from volcanic activity and some layers are drown from the past volcanic eruptions of Vesuvius and Etna!

Under the waters of Lake Ohrid, there are archaeological reserves of prehistoric times onwards. In the late 20th century, the Ohrid divers discovered several prehistoric pile dwellings in the locality Gradiste, Peshtani.

And even knowing all of this, when you sit down on the lake shore and just gaze at the water, at any season, illuminated by the sun, you get the impression that it has just been born, despite his millions of years.