A complicated history
Firstly, as a British tourism company we are not best placed to write a comprehensive account of the region's history. Secondly, past events have been and still are controversial. Ask about names and borders in any of the three countries and expect to get different answers. And it's not just about the break up of Yugoslavia; Prespa has 'belonged' to various empires and countries over the last 3,000 years, and under the five centuries of Ottoman rule the many ethnicities in the region lived on either side of today's borders.
What we present here is a timeline of dates and events that (we hope) are uncontroversial-ish.
Any visitor to the region would do well to read about the history before arriving, but do note that books and the internet rarely present a balanced account of the various opinions.
4,000 - First recorded humans
2,000 - Named places and inscriptions on the island of Ayios Achillios
148 - Prespa under the Roman province of Upper Macedonia
997 - Start of rule of Tsar Samual, whose empire included Prespa. Samual took the bones of Ayios Achillios
from his conquest of Larissa, and had the basillica of Ayios Achillios to house them on the now
eponymous island in Lake Lesser Prespa
1014 - Death of Tsar Samual. Buried in the church he had built on Ayios Achillios
1340 - Prespa included in the empire of the Serbian tsar, Stefan Dusan
1386 - Becomes part of Ottomon empire
1700 - Bitola to Korce trade route through Mikrolimni
Turkish, Slavo-Macedonia, Albanian, Vlach and Greek spoken
1908 - ‘The Macedonian Struggle’ between Greeks and Bulgarians, and Turks
1908 - Birth of Enver Hoxha (1908 - 1985. Communist leader of Albania from 1944 - 1985)
1912 - Greek Prespa liberated from the Turks by Greek Army
Large emigration from Prespa following collapse of Ottoman Empire
1919 - Prespa under temp. Military givt of French Armee d’Orient
1923 - Modern day borders
88 Pontus families arrive in Greek Prespa from Turkey (likely due to the population exchanges)
1936 - Part of Agios Germanos river diverted to Lake Great Prespa
1941 - Italian occupation
1946 - Start of Greek Civil War. Occupied by leftist forces (DAG). Psarades, Pyli and Vrondero their stronghold
1948 - Establishment of Pelister National Park, Macedonia* (fYR)
1949 - End of Greek civil war
1953 - Albanians link Lake Lesser Prespa to River Devoll
1958 - Establishment of Galicica National Park, Macedonia* (fYR)
Lake water levels very high. No sluice between the lakes. Boats passed
1965 - Tsar Samual's grave found in the basillica of Ayios Achillios
1969 - Albania – sluice and dam on canal
1969 - Greece – built concrete flume and road bridge between lakes.
1974 - Establishment of Greek Prespa National Forest
1979 - Birds Directive – EU conservation legislation calling for co-financing for the management of
Special Protected Areas dedicated to birdlife preservation
Rudimentary sluice on Koula to maintain Lesser Prespa for new irrigation networks
1988 - Creation of Sfika wildlife refuge (Greek Prespa)
1980s - Water level of both lakes exceptionally low
2005 - Koula sluice re-built and strengthed by the SPP under an EU LIFE project
Note on the name issue.
Annoy both sides. Choose Greek Macedonia for Greek part and Macedonia* for the country. Can't write Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian every time.
History and Nature and Things to See and Do
To the east is the mountain range of Mt. Pelister, with its peak, Mt. Baba at 2.601m. ou.