As the largest freshwater lake in Southeastern Europe, Lake Skadar is home to over 270 different species of birds. It also has a complex history dating back over 2,400 years. We took a boat tour of the lake and learned more about this special place.
Cover Photo: Morning Light on Lake Skadar | Shawn P. Mitchell
Montenegro is a fascinating destination.
It is one of the youngest countries on the planet, having declared independence in 2006. However, despite its relative newness to international politics, the country has a long history. This complex past is a reflection of Montenegro’s strategic position on the Balkan Peninsula at the crossroads of empires.
Montenegro’s geography has led to a mélange of religions being adopted over the millenia, including Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, and Islam. It is the newest member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and is an aspiring applicant for admission into the European Union.
The country’s tourism industry is certainly growing, thanks to a blend of rugged mountains and tantalizing Mediterranean coastline. However, there is much more to Montenegro’s travel offerings, including the magnificent Lake Skadar.
Lake Skadar National Park
Lake Skadar is southeastern Europe’s largest freshwater lake. It is shared by both Montenegro and Albania, and is home to over 270 different species of birds.
Tricia and I took a boat tour of the lake. Here’s my quick video of the experience:
The history of the lake spans millennia. Tribes of ancient Illyria settled the area in the 4th century BCE. They were later supplanted by a succession of different empires: the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire, the Venetians, and the Ottoman Turks.
Here’s a 360° image of the Besac Fortress built by the Ottomans in the 1400s:
At the center of an island at the western edge of the lake lies the Vranjina Monastery. Surrounded by wild thyme in the spring months, the monastery was founded almost 800 years ago.
Here’s a 360° image of the monastery and its incredible view of the lake.
The pristine beauty of the lake is under considerable pressure from property developers and environmental degradation. However, increasing international exposure and concerted conservation efforts will hopefully slow and reverse the damage.