Lake Treska is an artificial lake near Skopje, along the road to Matka canyon. Built in 1978, it was the city’s main summer recreational center. The complex is located between the villages of Saraj and Glumovo and spreads over an area of 35 ha (418,597 sq yd.) The lake itself covers almost half of the entire complex while the other half goes to green areas, camping sites, pools, restaurants, and other facilities. The center was built with a capacity for 10,000 daily visitors.

Unfortunately, it did not escape the economic crisis which all former socialists states encountered during their political transition. Due to lack of funding, the recreational center was finally closed in 1998, after 20 years of serving as a safe haven for the citizens during Skopje’s hot summer days. Among my earliest and dearest childhood memories are the weekends spent at the lake. Now, all elegantly designed beach areas with full infrastructure including sun protection huts, showers, sand, beach games terrains, camping grounds, tennis courts, and the football field are mostly in ruin.

Yet, the absence of visitors gives Lake Treska a completely different charm nowadays. If you want to avoid the usual crowds at Matka or the Skopje City Park, the lake is a perfect spot to spend the day. Surprisingly, the place is kept relatively clean and the grass is cut regularly. The green areas around the lake are in good shape, as well as the walking paths. Some of the traditional campers still come to the center and spend the weekend in their trailers. There are no shops or restaurants but there is a drinking fountain with clean, fresh water.

There is nothing fancy about Lake Treska now. If you want commodity, then don’t bother going there. But if you want to relax, breathe some fresh air or have a quiet family picnic away from crowds, this is the perfect spot for you. If you want a first-hand peek at the place, watch the video below and decide for yourselves if this is what you’re looking for while in Skopje.

Photography © Maja Argakijeva