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Pogradec from South.jpg
Pogradec is located in Albania
Coordinates: 40°54′N 20°39′E / 40.900°N 20.650°E / 40.900; 20.650Coordinates: 40°54′N 20°39′E / 40.900°N 20.650°E / 40.900; 20.650
Country  Albania
County Korçë
 • Mayor Eduard Kapri (DP)
 • Municipality 594.77 km2 (229.64 sq mi)
Elevation 697 m (2,287 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Municipality 61,530
 • Municipality density 100/km2 (270/sq mi)
 • Administrative unit 20,848
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code 083
Vehicle registration PG
Website www.bashkiapogradec.gov.al

Pogradec is a city and municipality in southeastern Albania, situated on the shores of Ohrid lake. It is located in the County of Korçë. It was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Buçimas, Çërravë, Dardhas, Pogradec, Proptisht, Trebinjë, Udenisht and Velçan, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the town Pogradec.[1] The total population is 61,530 (2011 census), in a total area of 594.77 km2.[2] The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 20,848.[3] 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[4] during Ottoman rule and was bounded to as kaza center in Görice Sanjak of Manastır Vilayet before Balkan Wars.[5]


The shores of Lake Lychnidus were inhabited in early antiquity. Lychnidus is one of the locations for the Illyrian tribe of the Encheleans[6] that is near Pogradec.The area in the antiquity was at the border[7] 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.[8]

Beach of Pogradec

The area of Pogradec is the site of a possible UNESCO World Heritage site.[9]

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.


Pogradec along Lake Ohrid

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.[citation needed]

Climate data for Pogradec
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3
Average low °C (°F) −5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 40.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 8 8 8 12 10 7 6 4 7 9 11 13 103
Source: World Weather Online[10]

Art and culture[edit]

Writer Statue in Pogradec
The main street of Pogradec

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 main characters of Luan Starova's cycle of novels, "The Balkan Saga", are the author's own parents and their family, who fled Pogradec for Macedonia during WWII. Separated from their old hometown and their relatives by the Albania-Yugoslavia border during the Enver Hoxha's era, they would often look at Pogradec through a binocular from the vantage point of Monastery of Saint Naum on the other side of the lake.[11]

Pogradec 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.


The well-known Drilon Swans Park in Pogradec
Lin village north of Pogradec

"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,[12] 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.


The football (soccer) club is KS Pogradeci.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Law nr. 115/2014
  2. ^ Interactive map administrative territorial reform
  3. ^ 2011 census results
  4. ^ Osmanli Tatarân Teşkilât'i (in Turkish)
  5. ^ Osman Vilayets (in Turkish)
  6. ^ The Illyrians (The Peoples of Europe) by John Wilkes, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, 1996, page 98
  7. ^ The Cambridge ancient history, Tome 6 by John Boardman, ISBN 0521850738, 1994, page 440
  8. ^ Municipality of Pogradec (in Albanian)
  9. ^ "Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region". Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  10. ^ World Weather Online
  11. ^ The theme repeats e.g. throughout The Museum of Atheism
  12. ^ Strabo 7.327
  13. ^ UNESCO Official Tentative List
  14. ^ 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1971,' Biographical Sketch of Louis V. Mato, pg. 42
  15. ^ "ВУЛНЕТ СТАРОВА". Retrieved 8 June 2014. 


  • N.G.L Hammond, Alexander's Campaign in Illyria, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, pp 4–25. 1974

External links[edit]