Lurë National Park

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Lurë National Park
Parku Kombetar i Lurës
Lura Liqeni i Lulëve.JPG
Lake of Flowers (Liqeni i Lulëve),
one of the Lurë Mountains glacial lakes
Map showing the location of Lurë National ParkParku Kombetar i Lurës
Map showing the location of Lurë National ParkParku Kombetar i Lurës
Location Albania
Nearest city Peshkopi
Coordinates 41°45′37″N 20°11′39″E / 41.760165°N 20.194286°E / 41.760165; 20.194286Coordinates: 41°45′37″N 20°11′39″E / 41.760165°N 20.194286°E / 41.760165; 20.194286
Area 1,280 ha
Established 1966

Lurë National Park, also Lura National Park (Albanian: Parku Kombetar i Lurës), is a national park located in the municipality of Dibër in northeastern Albania declared in 1966. The park encompasses 1,280 hectares on the eastern side of the Kunora e Lurës, the highest summit in the Lurë Mountains, which reaches a height of 2,119 m (6,952 ft) above sea level.[1] The park is renowned for its 12 lakes and wildlife that attract visitors year-round.

History[edit]

According to Albanian poet Gjergj Fishta, "him who has not seen Lura, has not seen Albania", while traveler Edith Durham has been quoted as follows:"When I came up the Qafë Lurë, I saw such a beautiful field, that I had never seen in any place of the Balkans". Stemming from such natural beauty, the Albanian government declared the area a national park in 1966.

However, after the fall of communism in the 1990s and well until the late 2000s, the area suffered massive deforestation from illegal logging, and forest fires that severely affected ecosystems. In fact, it is estimated that as far as 50% of the park's area has been destroyed. In 2014, the Albanian government launched a controversial rehabilitation campaign including reforestation, roadwork, and the putting of new signs.[2][3]

However, some local stakeholders have criticized the project as merely superficial. In the meantime, non-governmental organizations are trying to revitalize the park by contributing in the planting of trees and removal of debris around the lakes, some of which are drying up.[4][5][6][7][8] Nature is also helping by naturally spreading seeds of new trees which are growing at different areas of the park. Accommodation consists of two family run hotels and several guesthouses near the park in Fushe-Lure.

Great Lake of Lura

Geography[edit]

Kulla fortified tower house in Lura

Lurë National Park is situated on the eastern slopes of the Lurë Mountains. The town of Peshkopi is about 25 kilometres east of the National Park, and the villages of Fushë-Lurë and Sina e Epërme are nearby. The National Park is home to many rare species of wildlife and natural beauty. The glacial complex of the lakes is one of the most beautiful pearls of Albania and comprise a prime attraction for visitors to Lurë National Park. The twelve glacial lakes of Lurë that were formed during the Würm glacial period have a general surface area of 100 ha. They are located in the northeastern part of the nation in the Dibra district at an elevation between 1,200 and 1,500 m (3,937 and 4,921 ft). In summer, the Lake of Flowers becomes an astonishing display of big white water lilies, leaving the impression of a big garden created by the hand of a mastermind.[9] The waters are home to the smooth newt and the great crested newt. In winter, the lakes freeze becoming part of the cross-country skiing trails through the park.

The five principal lakes are:

  • Great Lake (Alb.: Liqeni i Madh), 32 hectares;
  • Lake of the Pines, 13 hectares;
  • Black Lake (Alb.: Liqeni i Zi), 8 hectares;
  • Lake of Flowers (Alb.: Liqeni i Luleve), 4 hectares
  • Cow's Lake (Alb.: Liqeni i Lopeve)

Flora and fauna[edit]

Lura lakes panorama and partial deforestation

The most common type of tree in the park is the beech which is found at altitudes between 900 and 1,000 m (2,953 and 3,281 ft) to 1,900 and 2,000 m (6,234 and 6,562 ft). European black pines are abundant between 1,600 and 1,700 m (5,249 and 5,577 ft) elevation, and red pines are found on rocky slopes between 1,700 and 2,000 m (5,577 and 6,562 ft) elevation. These forests are home to the rare European brown bear, Eurasian lynx, Eurasian wolf, European pine marten, roe deer and Western capercaillie.

The southern part of the park has a meadow of multi-color flowers and coniferous trees called the Field of Mares which offers scenic views. The park offers variety of possibilities for eco-tourism, winter sports, equitation, horse riding, and other activities.

References[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Prior to the 1990s[edit]

Bibliography[edit]