Pogradec (alb. Pogradeci) lies in the south-eastern part of Albania, along the shores of Lake Ohrid, the deepest in the Balkans. The crossing border with Macedonia is only 5 km away from center. Pogradec is one of the most preferred tourist resorts in Albania because of pleasant climate, extraordinary alpine like scenery with ample opportunities for sun-bathing, swimming, fishing, water sports etc. The lofty mountains of Kamja and Guri i Topit stand over it like a crown.
Archeological excavations on the hill above the town have uncovered a 5-th Century B.C. Illyrian settlement. Drilon, the name of the river that flows into the lake near village Tushemisht, is mentioned in early texts of antiquity. On the top of the hill overlooking Pogradec there is an ancient Illyrian fortress believed to have been known as Encheleana. In the Middle Ages this fortress was reconstructed and the place was renamed by the Bulgarians, who invaded Southeastern Albania at this time. (Pogradec, Pod Grad - the place beneath the fortress).
During the 18th century under Turkish occupation, the town became an administrative centre, but was largely destroyed duruing the World War I and World War II; however a number of characteristic houses have been preserved as cultural monuments. One of the first Albanian language schools was started in Pogradec. The town was a favorite summer escape for many communist government officials.
After communism collapsed, the once popular lakeside resort town went into a state of decay and disrepair, with minimal investment undertaken. The urban development that took place was generally chaotic and unappealing. However today, private investors and government, interested in bringing Pogradec to its' former glory, have begun pouring in money to the town. Hotels are being built or renovated and refurbished, and infrastructure is improving throughout.
Worth mentioning is the local fish Koran, very tasty and found only in Ohrid. Additional rare species of fish, birds, fauna and other wild life are found in the lake and surrounding area. Attractions include Drilon resort, very famous for its natural beauty, the ruins of Illyrian settlement and a Christian Basilica dating from 5-th Century with amazing mosaics found in the lakeside of village Lin. In "Selca e Poshtme", you can see the ancient settlement of Pelion, where Illyrian King Klit lived as well as four monuments and graves of the 4-th Century BC engraved on a rock.
Lake Ohrid and its surrounding area was in 1980 declared by UNESCO as a place of worldwide natural and cultural heritage.
What to see - Pogradec Surroundings
Mosaics of Lin - the archeological site lies on the hilltop of the village of Lin north of Pogradec. The site was once an important settlement and fortress of the ancient Illyrian tribes that lived throughout the Lake Ohrid region. The site is mostly unexcavated, however the beautiful mosaics and exposed sections of the ancient walls give the visitor a glimpse of the hidden treasures that lie beneath your feet. The views of the lake and surrounding mountains from the hill above Lin are nice.
Sources of Drilon - 5 km eastward from Pogradec, it's possible to take a boat ride from Pogradec to Drilon
Goliku Bridge - on the old Via Egnatia
Selca e Poshtme - you can see here the ancient settlement of Pelion, where Illyrian King Klit lived as well as four monuments and graves of the 4-th Century BC engraved on a rock.
Pogradec Area in Photos