Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Treska Recreation Center

The girls with the beautiful view behind them.

One of the many rundown restaurant/snack areas.

Arianna in front of the dilapidated pools.

After our walk near Matka, we stopped at the Treska Recreation Center before returning home. It is a large man-made lake that was created by a company in New Jersey many years ago to provide a resort like refuge for families. There is a huge lake with cement beach areas, pebble beach areas, several restaurants, camping areas, basketball courts, soccer pitches, and childrens' pools. There are fountains dotting the path surrounding the lake and several trees lining the route. Caravans and cabins parked at the opposite end of the lake suggest that people still use the facility.

Unfortunately, it has not been maintained and is in a terrible state, which is truly a shame. Signs warn visitors not to swim. The pools are crumbling and littered with trash. The basketball hoops are rusted and broken. The windows on most of the snack bars and changing rooms are shattered. Dozens of posts stick out of the ground, probably remnants of a large deck or stage long destroyed. I have heard wonderful stories of how beautiful the place used to be and was so disappointed to see that it has fallen into such disrepair. Our neighbor told us of how they celebrated her wedding there and how lovely it was. Now it is just a sad reminder of what seems to be the Macedonian way....tremendous potential for beauty, but no one interested in promoting or maintaining it. Apparently, the filters that keep the lake clean were no longer available or too costly, so they just let it go and the rest of the facilities have followed suit. I read in the Bradt guide that the center was a haven for Albanian families and I have to wonder if that is one reason why little effort was made to maintain it. I am sure in it's heyday the center was breathtaking and a real gem for families seeking fun in the sun. It broke my heart to see such a great place in ruins and such an opportunity wasted. Hopefully, someday a wise European investor will once again see the potential and restore the site to it's previous glory.

We still enjoyed walking the length of the lake and admiring the breathtaking views of the mountains surrounding the valley. It was amazing how small Mt. Vodno looked compared to the peaks around the Treska River/Matka area. The Millenium cross sat so much lower than those peaks and it really put some perspective on the size of the mountains for us. I wish I had my better camera so I could show you....maybe if there's a next time, although I doubt it...too depressing.

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