Balkan lynx is a majestic animal that lives in the Eastern Albania and the western part of North Macedonia. There are only fifty left. We well know them as “the big cats, with small chances.” This sad number is proof of the importance of national parks. Aside from protecting rare animals in danger, national parks are an excellent indicator of exceptional natural beauty. After introducing you to the oldest national park in North Macedonia, Pelister and my favorite one, Galicica, read the story of the biggest national park in North Macedonia, Mavrovo.
The national park of Mavrovo, together with Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), is taking pictures of lynxes for scientific purposes, as part of the "Balkan Lynx Recovery Program." Thanks to this program now, we have a photo that can make us fall in love with this creature. The lynx is a national pride of my country, and we have it depicted on the coin of 5 denars. This lynx, on the photo above, is called Bistri. What a beauty, right? MES organized a poll to name it, and we chose Bistri, probably because of the name of the mountain, Bistra.
The park consists of three Alpine mountain systems: the Shar, Korab and Bistra mountain. Bistra mountain is a massif with 15 peaks higher than 2000m. A real blast for hikers! The highest peak is Medenica (2,163m). Another national pride and part of this park is the mountain Korab. It is the highest peak not only of my country but also Albania’s. We share our highest point — what a lovely "neighbor" story!
Radika River is another essential part of this national park. If you follow the path of this river, you will experience the most vivid nature in my country. In one point, the river is forming a lake, Mavrovo Lake. In the middle of the lake, you can see a church! Yes, unusual. The name of the church is St. Nikola, and it was the former main village's church. Today in a large portion, the waters of Lake Mavrovo submerged the church.
They built it in 1850. Hundred years later, with the construction of the Mavrovo hydro system and Lake Mavrovo, the church got flooded. Sometimes, however, in a period of drought, the church is dry, and you can visit it!
Although mostly underwater, the church still preserves its appearance. The building itself and the bell tower still exist, though the water eradicated the interior and the roof dropped. Even roofless, this is an excellent example of water-resistant architecture.
Near here you can also see the Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery. So many places for you to visit! Start immediately today!
Cover photo credits © Ggia/ Wikimedia
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