Hidden Macedonia The Mystic Lakes of Ohrid and Prespa

This vibrant travelogue, rich in history and the testimony of locals, recounts a month-long journey around, above and into Macedonia’s tectonic lakes, Ohrid and Prespa. Abundant in rare wildlife and sumptuous ruins from ancient and medieval civilizations, the lakes region of Macedonia remains serene and mysterious, still somewhat unknown to outsiders.

Hidden Macedonia recounts the author’s trip (in late summer 2006) through the region, representing a unique account of the three countries that share the lakes- Greece, Albania and the Republic of Macedonia. In these pages, the author seeks to transcend the differences and discern the unitary spirit of the lakes through encounters with fishermen, philosophers, archaeologists and snakes.

chris-deliso-books-hidden-macedonia-2007Penetrating the surface of everyday life and also revealing the deep historical wounds and controversies that still manifest in this long-coveted land, this heartfelt travelogue is also an evocative and at times riotously funny chronicle of travels in one of the most stunning and historically significant areas in Europe- one that remains, however, still largely to be discovered.

‘With this book, Deliso has done more to promote our country than all the tourism associations and government ministers combined.’

-Macedonian businessman and scientist Blagoja Samakoski, in Fokus Magazine, Skopje, Macedonia

Author’s note: This book is out of print, and there it shall remain. I have kept a few copies which shall become available after a few years. It might be attractive to collectors because it is a great oddity- a book cursed eternally by a printing mistake. Also, this book does reflect a sort of historical moment in the lives of myself, other people and countries so at least for that it is worth keeping around.

Also, as time passes and the march of modern development inexorably continues, some of the most special places documented in the book are in danger of being changed forever. And with the economic crisis in Greece enabling elements that thrive from fostering fear of the ‘other,’ the book is more important in that it documents the precarious existence of a Macedonian minority in that country, one which is increasingly becoming an endangered species.

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A page of notes dated August 29. 2006. From the original notebook that became Hidden Macedonia.

Many people who have visited the Republic of Macedonia believe it to be eternally cursed. I was reminded of this when the first copies arrived in the mail. A new book! And with a lovely pull-out map! Reading… ‘Former Yugoslav’ Republic of Macedonia.

The publishers were not particularly concerned, or even curious about what effect this error could have. Their cavalier and unprofessional attitude was infuriating and incomprehensible. They also came up with a title for the book which I have always found ridiculous. I had suggested a different one. All of these embarrassments did, however, teach me a valuable lesson about what to request in future contract clauses. It also reminded me that a hand-drawn map would have been more fun. Bottom line: if you want something done right, do it yourself- or at least get something in writing.

Despite the catastrophe with the map, the book has proved fairly popular and I know it has helped some people traveling to the country. It was even put on the list of useful books to read for diplomats coming to the country. I’m grateful for that. Although I have never really understood why, many readers have identified the book as being lighthearted and whimsical. Sure, there are a few comic moments but the underlying emotion is not lighthearted. Read it and decide for yourself!

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