The Prespa region is a large basin at an altitude of 850m which contains the Prespes Lakes, Mikri and Megali or the Small and Great Lakes. Megali Prespa is today located in F.Y.R.O.M., Albania and Greece while Mikri Prespa is located entirely within Greece and Albania. The area is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and rich history, having been inhabited continuously from antiquity to the present day.

Prespa flourished from the end of the 8th century, both under the Byzantine Empire and the intevening periods of Bulgarian domination under the reigns of Samuel and Symeon. It was on the island of Agios Achilleos in Mikri Prespa where in the 11th century the family of tsar Samuel surrendered to the Byzantine Emperor Basil II and the Bulgarian Empire ceased to exist.

In 1386, after a brief annexation to the Serb state of Stefan Dusan, Prespa was conquered by the Turks. The area remained under the control of the Ottoman Empire until the 20th century when independence was won with the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. At the end of the war, Prespa was divided between Greece and Serbia, with a small piece given to Albania.

Prespa saw fierce fighting during the post-WWII Greek Civil War. Much of the local population emigrated to escape the political strife, leaving a number of villages abandoned. The region remained little developed until the 1970s, when it began to be appreciated for its natural beauty, historical significance, and traditional lifestyle.

In 1974, Greece declared the Prespes Lakes a National Park and in 2000, the area became the Balkans' first cross-border protected natural reserve.

Click on photos to enlarge • See more photos in the Gallery

Laimos Village • Prespes Lakes 53077 • Greece
tel: +30 23850 51 422 or +30 694 472 5199