During those same Ottoman years, a Turkish neighborhood was built in the lower part of Ohrid, below the fortified walls in which the Christians were kept. Their community, in Mesokastro, grew up around this plane tree, which is now 900 years old. The trunk must have split ages ago. People say that a barber shop was once housed in the crevice, which is possibly the most Turkish thing I've ever heard. (See: Things Turkish People Like). Later, it became a cafe. Now, it simply sits at the center of the town square, bolstered by support slabs which give it a monumental look.
The old Robevi family mansion, they were one of the richest families in all Macedonia, is now the Archeology Museum. Findings from Plaošnik and the Ancient Theatre are housed here and the house itself is a lovely site. We visited with the hope of seeing one of the Golden Masks. Near Ohrid, in Trebenište, five golden masks from the 1st millenium BC were found in 1918. They are said to be worth around 20million euros each and are housed in Belgrade, Serbia and Sofia, Bulgaria. A 6th was found in Ohrid in 2002, by a man named Pasko Kuzman who simply put the relic in a cigar box on his mantle and called it a day. We read in an outdated guidebook that it was to become the first mask to be exhibited in Macedonia in 2008 - in this museum - but this doesn't seem to have happened. Maybe he's moved onto using it as an ashtray?
At the center of it all is still the lake, sitting pretty and watching the views around it change hands, change faces, change centuries. Beneath its surface are sunken jewels, a treasure chest for a history buff. There are the remains of a Bronze Age stilt village, still sticking up from the sand. The lake has grown up and over it in the 3,500 or so years since it was built. There are sunken World War I tugboats and a coastguard boat and airplane from World War II. Of course, there are also living species rare in this world covering the deep, lake floor.
But for Albanians, Lake Ohrid is simply the seaside. Families come here to swim, tan, dine and stroll. Through the old cobbled streets they walk in colorful summer clothing, even in the late Spring. Some things haven't really changed since prehistoric times. The shores of Lake Ohrid are still prime real estate. Unfortunately, some of the oldest residents of the lake are being fished out of existence - but more on that later. After all these years, the deep, clear water of Lake Ohrid is still providing humans with life-giving sustenance - beauty and relaxation.