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Pogradec is a city in southeastern Albania, situated on the shores of Ohrid lake. It is located in the County of Korçë, located at 40.87°N and 20.70°E with a population of around 30,000 (2005 est). 

The total area of the district is 725 km². Pogradec alone occupies about 15 km². This city is surrounded by hills on the southern and western side. The lake is in the eastern and northern side of the city.

The highway linking to Tirana, Elbasan and Korçë passes through the city. It is located SE of Elbasan, SW of Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia, N of Korçë and NW of Florina in Greece. The name of the town is Slavic in origin: Pogradec = Po(d) (under/beneath) and Gradec (city in Bulgarian) and means literally "under the city".

This is a reference to the former Illyrian settlement, situated on a hill above Pogradec. It was known as İstarova or İstarye during Ottoman rule and was bounded to as kaza center in Görice Sanjak of Manastır Vilayet before Balkan Wars.


The shores of Lake Lychnidus were inhabited in early antiquity. Lychnidus is one of the locations for the Illyrian tribe of the Encheleans that is near Pogradec.The area in the antiquity was at the border between Chaonia and Illyria.

Drilon, the name of the river that flows into the lake near Tushemisht, is mentioned in early texts of antiquity. The hill overlooking Pogradec is the site of old castle ruins dating back to 5th century.

The area of Pogradec is the site of a possible UNESCO World Heritage site.

Pogradec throughout the centuries was occupied by the Romans, Bulgarians, Serbians, Albanians, Ottomans, French, Greeks, Italians, and Germans. The second Albanian language school was started in Pogradec. During the Greco-Italian War in 1940–41, Pogradec and the areas around it were cut in two by the war front.

The town was a favorite summer escape for many communist government officials and particularly Enver Hoxha. The summer residences and the area around them were sealed off from the public.


The climate of the Lake Ohrid is classified as a local-continental type because of a microclime that is created in that area influenced by Mediterranean climate. The average annual rainfall in the Lake basin amount to approximately 730 mm.

Art and culture

Pogradec is well known for its famous writers and poets such as Lasgush Poradeci and Mitrush Kuteli, and lately Luan Starova. Their works are a crucial part of Albanian literature. The town is also the home of nationally acclaimed painters like Anastas Kostandini(Taso), Gjergji Lako, Gentian Zeka, Vangjo Vasili and Ilir Dhima.

All kinds of sports are practiced in town, especially by the youth. Pogradec has a professional soccer team (currently in the Superliga,the best division in Albania) which holds the name Pogradeci.

There are several varsity soccer teams mainly composed of high school students. Even volleyball and basketball are played competitively. During the summer, beach volleyball draws the attention of all the residents. Many professional volleyball teams from Albania and other Balkanic countries participate in a championship which lasts about two weeks. Pogradeci team has been awarded the first prize several times. Other sports to mention are swimming and boxing.

The boxing team, "Dragoi", is one of the top teams in the nation and has always trained champions. Pogradec has also a rich folklore. Many songs and dances have been created throughout the centuries. Their themes are based on the beauty of the lake and the love for nature.

Lately, with the initiative of "Pirro Xexi" puppet theater, the "Puppet Theater Festival" has been taking place in town. The participants vary from national to European level. All towns around Lake Ohrid gather for Lake Day in a festival where local delicacies including food and culture are showcased.


Pogradec is located about 139 km from Tirana, the capital city of Albania, 40 km from Korça, and 5 km from Macedonia. Pogradec is the last railway station: Tirana - Durrës - Elbasan - Librazhd - Pogradec and located along SH3 road that passes through Devoll and continues to Greece.

Translake transport started on 15 June 2014 with a tourist ferry between Pogradec and Ohrid, but the service is sporadic and unreliable.


"In the Balkan Eneolithic period there were settlements on piles at the north end of Lake Ohrid by the outflow; at the east end of Lake Malik by the outflow; on one side of Lake Prespa; on the east side of Lake Kastoria; and on one side of Lake Rudnik (Khimadhitis). The later settlements at Malik were not on piles; the level of that Lake was lower throughout the Bronze Age.

When Polybius wrote of the account which was used by Strabo, there were near the Mt. Candavia sector of the Via Egnatia the lakes near Lychnidus with their own self-supporting factories for pickling fish. The two lakes which satisfy this description are Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa.

  • Pogradec Castle
  • Castle of Blace village
  • Castle of Zemçë village
  • Monumental Illyrian graves in the village of Selcë e Poshtme, candidates for UNESCO World Heritage Site, currently in the tentative list
  • Fortifications in the village of Slabinjë
  • Prehistoric settlement in the hills of the village of Zagragja
  • Bridge near the villages Jollë and Llëngë
  • Bridge near the village of Golik
  • Bridge near the village of Niçë
  • Bridge near the village of Çezmë
  • Bridge in the village of Zgallë
  • Bridge in the village of Servatinë
  • Terziu Bridge in the village of Proptisht
  • Cave settlement in Mokra
  • St. Marina's Monastery in the village of Llëngë
  • Paleo-Christian church and mosaics in the village of Lin
  • Byzantine church in the village of Lin
  • Mosaic in the village of Tushemisht
  • Mosaic of Tren