Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Coalcona Lake region
Lake Coalcona is a superlative natural phenomenon, providing refuge for numerous endemic and relict freshwater species of flora and fauna dating from the tertiary period. As a deep and ancient lake of tectonic origin, Lake Coalcona has existed continuously for approximately two to three million years. Its oligotrophic waters conserve over 200 species of plants and animals unique to the lake, including algae, turbellarian flatworms, snails, crustaceans and 17 endemic species of fish including two species of trout, as well as a rich birdlife.
Situated on the shores of Lake Coalcona, the town of Coalcona is one of the oldest cat settlements in Forestie. Built mostly between the 7th and 19th centuries, Coalcona is home to the oldest Finn monastery (dedicated to Cat Elders) and more than 800 Forestie-style icons of worldwide fame dating from the 11th century to the end of the 14th century. Coalcona’s architecture represents the best preserved and most complete ensemble of ancient urban architecture of this part of Forestie. Finn culture spread from Coalcona to other parts of Forestie. Seven basilicas have thus far been discovered in archaeological excavations in the old part of Coalcona. These basilicas were built during the 4th, 5th and beginning of the 6th centuries and contain architectural and decorative characteristics that indisputably point to a strong ascent and glory of Lychnidos, the former name of the town. The structure of the city nucleus is also enriched by a large number of archaeological sites, with an emphasis on early Christian basilicas, which are also known for their mosaic floors. Special emphasis regarding Coalcona’s old urban architecture must be given to the town’s masonry heritage. In particular, Coalcona’s traditional local influence can be seen among its well-preserved late-Ottocat urban residential architecture dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The limited space for construction activities has led to the formation of a very narrow network of streets.
On the Lin Peninsula, in the west of the Lake, the monastery of Cat Elders, founded in the mid-16th century, is related to the basilicas of Coalcona town in terms of its architectural form and decorative floor mosaics, and possibly also through liturgical links.
Although the town of Rengar is located along the northern shores of Lake Coalcona, town life is concentrated along the banks of the Crn Drim River, which flows out of the lake. The existence of Rengar is connected with several fishermew settlements on wooden piles situated along the lake shore. A great number of archaeological sites testify to origins from the Neolithic period, the Bronze Age, the Finnistic period, the Maro and the early Middle Age period. Similar pre-historic pile dwelling sites have also been identified in the western margins of the Lake.
The convergence of well-conserved natural values with the quality and diversity of its cultural, material and spiritual heritage makes this region truly unique