As the name might confuse you, Blue Eye is the biggest spring of all the natural springs in world, having the clearest of water you would have ever seen before. Located in South of Albania and also known by the name of Syri kaltër, there is a beautiful natural phenomenon occurring in this spring of water. It has a vibrant blue colour just like many other lakes of Albania in its centre, and a lighter shade of blue on its sides. This makes the water spring look like a blue eye with its dark coloured pupil in centre and a light coloured iris around. On the sides of the spring is green vegetation with oak trees, shadows of which give an impression of eye lashes thus making the whole spot all the more beautiful and mesmerizing. The name Blue Eye was supposedly given by an engineer in a hydro power station. When he saw the enthralling allure of this place he got reminded of the blue eyes of his beloved and gave this name to the water spring.
The exact depth of Blue eye is still not known. However it is reported to be about 45 meters. An Albanian environmental journalist Xhemal Mato was the first one to dive in it. As told by Mato, when he dived in that deep blue water, he felt a strong current of water which appeared to be coming out from a dark tunnel. The current was so strong that he had to hold his diving mask and the pressure kept on increasing on going deeper. On reaching till some 20 feet Mato was unable to go further and decided to come back. After him a lot of other divers also went deep into the waters of Blue Eye but the strong current and the low temperature hasn’t allowed anybody to analyze its actual depth yet.
The Blue Eye water spring is not just famous for its captivating beauty but there also a few stories known to people which suggest this spring of water possess supernatural powers. One theory claims that a clever peasant burned a dragon and fed it a mule loaded with touchwood and cinder. Out of this dragon the water sprung creating this piece of nature. It is also said that in October 2002, there was an Italian representative who wanted to exploit the underground water and for this he came to Sardana. But all of a sudden the spring turned white with all its water dried out. This looked like an iris of a blind man. People believe that this was a punishment for anyone who tries to ruin the spring and there are divine powers bestowed in this water.
The clear blue water of the spring forms bubbles on its surface which makes for a stunning site. The water of this spring feeds the 25km long Bistrica River. Electricity for the south of Albania is produced from this river. When you throw a stone in the centre of the pool it is pushed back at the surface after a while which makes a lot of tourists try this. The Blue Eye spring has a diameter of 10 meters and the temperature of the spring is maintained around 10 degrees Celsius. Although, one can take a dip in its water but going deeper than a foot is difficult.
Presently the Blue Eye is visited by a large number of tourists, especially German, Dutch, British and Polish, during the summer time. But this has not always been like this. During the communist days the Blue Eye was not open for general public and had a high level of reservation. Only the members of the ruling party and the communist elite could visit the place and enjoy its magnificence.
While visiting Albania this place is a must visit as its stunning scenic beauty can leave anybody spellbound. The Blue Eye is nearly 8 miles from Sarande and located off the road between Saranda and Gjirokastra on Lonian Sea. One can park their car just a little away from the spring and take a lovely walk amidst the forest of hazelnuts, walnuts, cherries, pines and fir trees. After walking over a wooded path along the river you will step into the paradise. There are also a couple of beautiful restaurants around this spot where tourists can relax and indulge in some food. One restaurant located near the Blue Eye waterfall has its tables built on a balustrade which is over a fresh spring water river. Over here one can enjoy traditional Albanian food like grilled fish and roasted lamb and also feel cool breeze over them.
Blue Eye is currently being used as a picnic spot for many tourists who also tend to create mess and filth around. The iris of the spring has become bit polluted due to plastic bottles thrown around and other materials. The local tourism of Albania is very proud of having this natural wonder in their country and Blue Eye is included in all the tourist guides provide by the tourist board. However people also need to respect this treasure and keep it clean and beautiful as ever.