Man has lived in this corner of the Balkans for centuries.
But as Empires rose and fell, as cities grew and disappeared, the villagers remained, fishing the lakes and farming the land.
Many of the villages are still isolated, even in the 21st century, and foreign visitors feel like they've used a time machine.
This isn't a part of Europe that needs "re-wilding".
It's not wilderness here, but man's presence isn't catastrophic for plants and animals. 2,000 species of plants. 200+ birds. 150+ butterflies. 65 mammal species.
Sure, machines and capitalism arrived here after WWII, and modern farming is far from perfect. But large parts of the mountains, plains and lake shore are still home to small, family plots, surrounded by trees and bushes.
It's not just the climate and soil that provides homes for the region's amazing wildlife; it's man's centuries-old use of the land that helped the balance amongst forests, meadows and mosaic habitats. If anything, it's actually a problem that grazing lands are turning wild now that old shepherds retire and their flocks are sold. So this traditional balance between the local people and nature needs supporting.
People still need to live though.
The young are leaving for the cities and intensive farming and agro-chemical will likely spead; people want incomes rather than self-subsistence. But where in the world doesn't have these issues?
Still, here is very much "Europe Past'. Traditional farming communities, on small-holdings, making their own dairy products, fishing the lakes, tending their bees, collecting plants and mushrooms for food and medicine. And it is this that we want to celebrate and show you. You can find out more about the local producers on these pages:
Crop farming >
Use of plants >