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Like all of Montenegro, Lake Skadar fascinates with the diversity it offers.

There is so much to see. The beauty of the large peaceful surface of the lake with its double fringe of cliffs and hills and their silhouettes, multiplied by the beauty of the islands, little bays and lively settlements... the abundance of plants and birds. The history of the lake itself is equally turbulent as the history around it. The river Drim is responsible for its present-day size. It used to be a larger pool in the Zeta-Skadar plain, the granary of the Nemanjićs, Crnojevićs and Balšićs. In 1858 there was such a fierce thunderstorm that the river Drim went mad: it rolled so much material from the Albanian mountains and piled it up at the estuary of the river Bojana, so that its course shifted.

The granary was flooded, the pool became a lake – the largest lake at the Balkan peninsula. The climate also changed, it became milder. All this happened at around six meters above sea level. According to science, Lake Skadar belongs to the rare Mediterranean freshwater swamps. It consists of six entities: Veliko blato, Malo blato, Vučko blato, the flooded course of the river Crnojevića, the bay of Hot and the basin of Gornje blato. There is enough material for all kinds of research at 412 square kilometers and a low water level.

From Vranjina to Skadar it is 44 km long, at an average width of 10km, maximum 13km. It is around eight meters deep. Two thirds of the lake belong to Montenegro, one to Albania. The lake gets its water from a few rivers and rivulets, as well as from subterranean creeks. Its affluents are he river Morača (with the wild Mrtvica and peaceful Zeta, and the unique Cijevna), Crnojevića river, Karatuna, Orahovštica, and its effluent river Bojana flows into the Adriatic sea. At some places it is a lot deeper, and there are so called "oka" or "vrulje" (sublacustric springs). These are the proof of an oddity: the lake is a cryptodepression for its larger part. This means that its surface is above sea level and parts of its bottom below sea level. There are around 30 such springs. The temperature in these is nearly the same during the whole year. Bleaks come here in swarms, so that it is easy for the fishermen to catch them. The deepest "oko" is – more than 60 meters.

During winter, many birds migrate to Skadar from differents parts of the world – e.g. western Siberia and Africa. Even the very rare Black African Heron feels at home here. The paradise of birds is very colourful: various kinds of duck and geese, cormorants, herons, ibises, eagles, griffons, bustards. Silver seagulls have chosen an island here for nesting rather that at the seaside. The island Omerova gorica is not far, a settlement of grey herons amidst bay trees, the only known colony of herons in bay trees. The lake is not an amusement park, but one of the biggest habitats of birds in Europe. This is a proof of the good condition the ecosystem is in, but also of the long tradition: this part avoided glaciation during the ice age and thus became a refuge for living organisms. The variety of the living space has something for everybody's taste: water, reed, willows, meadows, the Ćemovo field. Naked rocks at the islands. Forests. And diversity again: a hornbeam forest grows in harmony with many other trees – oaks, brachypodium, quercus cerris, alders, sweet chestnut, wild figs, pomegranate...

Both the coast and the surface of the lake are covered by a rich vegetation. There are many types of algae (930!) and endemic species which prove the youth of the lake. At the surface there are white and yellow water lilies, "kasaronja" (and edible plant which lives only here and tastes like chestnut). It is a very unusual plant, since it needs rain to bear fruit even though it lives in water. There are all kinds of reed and other plants growing at the bottom but visible at the surface, in harmony with the swimming folks. 48 species of fish have been counted in the lake. Special kinds of carp and bleak live only here and nowhere else in the world. For example, it is attested that the export of bleak to Italy was very strong in the 13th century. And smoked carp is a taste hard to forget, especially in combination with the famous Crmnica wine. There are guests here as well: beside freshwater fish, sometimes there are also saltwater species: eel, and many others.


  • Kite-surfing
  • Swimming
  • Bird watching
  • Fishing
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