Guide to SKOPJE

The Lake Ohrid has its counterpart in the universe

Since 2010, one of the many lakes on Titan, the largest natural satellite of the planet Saturn is called Lake Ohrid. Closer to the Earth is the planet Mars, where a crater is called Resen after the small but beautiful city in the Southwest of Macedonia.

The Lake Ohrid, one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Macedonia is only on a two hour ride  from Skopje, about eight hours from Athens and over 11 hours from Istanbul. Few are the ones who know that a lake with a same name as one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe is also found on Titan, the largest natural satellite of the planet Saturn.

In 2010 on proposal of the Macedonian “Planetarium”, the International Astronomical Union and NASA  decided that one of the lakes on the satellite Titan should bear the name – Lake Ohrid. This lake is quite different from the one in Ohrid so it is ridiculous to think that the famous Ohrid Swimming Marathon which is held each year in the waters of Lake Ohrid can also be organized in the space. Although the lake on Titan is far away from our sight,  still the citizens of Ohrid who are widely known for their love of the lake, do not want the twin lake to become better known than their  “original”. They never leave anything to chance and have already started  a campaign against the lake on Titan, so in their well-known style they joke about the fact  that their lake is much warmer so the tourists should come closer to Ohrid instead of going to the faraway planet of  Saturn. As aces in their hands are the widely known Ohrid pearls, Ohrid trout, the joys of Galicica and clarity of the river Drim.

There are hundreds of Medieval churches, the ancient city on water called the “Bay of the Bones,” and if it is not enough the tourists can visit the ancient amphitheater, St. Clement University at Plaosnik and the Samuil’s fortress. Because of all this beauties the citizens of Ohrid are still not affraid that the tourists will easily escape to the other lake on Saturn, so their common joke these days is that they don’t plan to replace their boats for space shuttles in near future.

When we are talking about space ships you are probably asking yourselves how long it will take you to reach the lake on Titan? The artificial satellite Cassini-Huygens which was launched in 1997 needed “only” six years to reach the planet Saturn.

And now, if it is possible to travel at the speed of light then depends on the current distance of Saturn in comparison to the Sun it will take no more than an hour and a half to see the twin lake on the satellite Titan.


Traveling at the speed of light so far is only a dream, but dreams are often realized as it is shown with the example of the physicist and astronomer Gjore Cenev, a longtime director  of the „Planetarium“ in Skopje, who was the godfather who gave the name of the lake on Titan. He says that so far he is the only Macedonian who has submitted a corresponding list of names for certain craters, lakes, rivers, cities and mountains for more bodies in the Solar planetary system, which are  recognizable for the Macedonian people and our country. Cenev explains how the bodies in the solar systems are named.

– With the development of the technology and the research projects on the planets, the satellites and the other bodies in our Solar system we are constantly receiving a lot of information about all the features and sizes of the objects, but what is more important is that we got a lot of photographs of  their surface. As in the case of our planet, it was necessary fo the  International Astronomical Union to make a proper nomenclature of the relief  features on the surface of each of these bodies. For this purpose a special working group called Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) was formed in order to determine the criteria and to propose names for craters, mountains, valleys and for every body in the Solar system, says Cenev.


– In principle, anyone can propose a name according to these criteria, but the Working Group has a discretion to accept or not accept the proposal. During the process the competence of  the proposer  is evaluated  together with the the proposed arguments and the number of the accepted proposals. As far as I know I am the first one from Macedonia who has submitted a list with suggestions. I was so pleased when my proposal to name the  lake on the satellite Titan as Ohrid lake was immediately accepted. Soon after that, one of the craters on Mars got the name Resen according to the  the city in Southwest of Macedonia, says Cenev.

Crater on Mars

The Ohrid Lake on Titan has a diameter of 17.3 kilometers. Since the temperatures on the  surface of Titan are very low, the lakes are consist of liquid hydrocarbons such as ethane, methane, etc. The astronomers assume that there may be life in these lakes  And while all this is not confirmed,  the Ohrid Lake in Ohrid continues to be the only one  that is closer for the  tourists, not only because of the distance of the one on Titan, but also for its great beauty.