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Galichica

MACEDONIA
May 2019

A short day-hike over the Galichica mountain with views of the Ohrid lake. The hike ended in Ohrid city.

8th of May: KONJSKO – TRI MAZHI – VELESTOVO – OHRID

This is a lower part of the Galichica mountain, but it has very nice nature and is situated right next to Ohrid city. Here you find vast natural forests, alpine meadows and views over the Ohrid lake. It’s a superb day-hike if you want something within easy reach from Ohrid.


I took a taxi from Ohrid to the village Konjsko. At the entry of the village was a very nice guesthouse, with a restaurang terrace where you have a fantastic view of Ohrid lake from above. Konjsko felt rural still, but with many houses in bad shape or even deserted.


Nice morning light outside Konjsko.


The path ascended through the forest, and passed a couple of nice meadows before reaching the high ridge.


To the left is the snow-capped mountain of Magaro (2255 m) which I and Sara climbed in 2009. To the right Ohrid city.


I was amazed by the variety of flowers on the alpine meadows.


View from Tri Mazhi peak (1629 m). The ridge was really fun to walk, and the views were stunning. I saw a chamois here.


These droppings were about 1 cm thick and 10 cm long, had a very orange-red colour and contained no traces of hairs, only seeds, so not from a predator. Please send me a message if you know what animal it is, thanks! :)


The trail markings were a bit old, and sometimes far between. There were some new, nice wooden signboards, but most signboards were old with faded text. Sometimes the text was completely faded away…


Descending through the forest again.


Funny road just outside Velestovo village.


Velestovo


Most of Velestovo had new or renovated houses, probably not many farmers live here still. This goat farm at the outskirts of the village was an exception.


Leaving Velestovo, a lush unbroken forest covers the mountain slopes. The building in the valley is a small church.


I filled up my water bottle by the church and continued towards Ohrid.


Wonderful walking on a path with lake views and tranquil forests.


This dog followed me from Velestovo until the road near the lake. Ohrid city is seen in the background.


Back in Ohrid. The red lines shows my approximate route.

PLEASE DO NOT BUILD A SKI-RESORT HERE
Today I read with great sadness about the plans of constructing a ski-resort in Galicica. It is “aimed at making this traditional summer destination an all-year-round tourist resort so that we can use Ohrid’s full potential” they say.

Macedonia is full of mountains, so why choose to build a ski-resort inside a national park with extraordinary natural values? The project says that the resort will offer a “unique experience of unspoiled mountain nature overlooking magnificent Ohrid Riviera” – Now how idiotic is that? The nature will not be unspoilt anymore once the ski-resort is built… The Ohrid region will for sure become less unique with the resort, and much less attractive for nature lovers.

You can read on the ski-project website the following text:
Galichica is also a unique environment with well-preserved natural flora. Due to the exceptional natural beauty and specific flora and fauna in the forests of Galichica Mountain, a great part of it was declared as National Park in 1958. Today Galichica Mountain has several international nominations: “UNESCO World Heritage Site”, “Emerald Area”, “Significant Plant Area” and “Primary Area for Butterflies“.
So how are they thinking? Perhaps like this:
Wow, that sounds like a great place! Let’s demolish the forests, build a bunch of ski-slopes, ski-lifts and hotels there! I’m sure the flora and fauna won’t mind the roads, pollution and lack of habitat.

The real opportunity for the Ohrid region is that they have what more and more people are looking for: unspoilt nature. There are plenty of mountains nearby with less valuable nature, better possibilities for skiing, and that would be in greater need of investments and visitors.

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