Lake Naroch EUR-49

Riparian Nation(s) Belarus
Surface Area 80 km2 Mean Depth 8.9 m Volume 0.71 km3
Shoreline 41 km Catchment Area 279 km2 Residence Time 8 yr
Frozen Period Dec-Apr Mixing Type Polymictic Morphogenesis/Dam
Related Info/Site


Lake Naroch is the largest inland water body in Belarus. It belongs to the system of the River Vulija, a right-side tributary of the River Neman leading to the Baltic Sea.

The lake basin originates from the glacial action of the last Ice Age, and is bordered by 45-50 m high slopes of Sventsyanskaja Range on its north and northeast sides and Narochano-Vilenskaja lowland on the south side. Complicated bathy-orogenic processes led to the formation of many local hollows on the lake bottom reaching a maximum depth of 24.8 m. The lake shores are mostly sandy or shingly.

Atmospheric precipitation plays an important role as the source of lake water, accounting for about 45% of incoming water. The share of surface inflow is 35%. The turnover time of the lake water is eight years. The annual range of water level fluctuation is normally about 0.3 m (up to 0.7 m in some years). Transparency amounts to 10 m during the freezing period, but decreases to 5-7 m in summer. The lake water is homogeneously saturated with dissolved oxygen throughout the year, and has total mineral contents less than 200 mg l-1.

Twenty-one percent of the lake area is covered by macrophytes consisting of 38 species. Phytoplankton flora contains 361 taxa, of which only 12 are dominants. There are 9 species of Cladocera, 13 species of Copepoda, 13 species of Rotatoria and 17 species of Infusoria. The community of macrozoobenthos consists of 60 taxa and that of fish of 25 species. Avifauna is remarkably rich and includes such species as Pandion haliaetus, Sterna albifrons and Podiceps ruficollis which are mentioned in the Red Data Book of the Republic.

Picturesque landscape and good water quality of L. Naroch create favorable sites for various kinds of recreation. There are many camping sites and sanatoria on the lake shore (1).

Photo of Lake Naroch
Photo: Res. Lab. Linmol., Belarus State Univ.