Prespes

Prespes consists of two lakes located in the northwest corner of Greece at a height of 850m above sea level. It is an area of rare natural beauty with eleven small, picturesque villages. Lake Megali Prespa is one of the largest lakes in the Balkans, and is separated from Lake Mikri Prespa by only a narrow strip of dry land. Originally one lake, over the last ten thousand years the gradual deposition of sediment from the Agios Germanos river, in combination with the action of the lake water, created a sandy strip of land which has divided Megali from Mikri Prespa. The forests of Prespa are among the richest in our country, and they are dense with oaks, towering beeches and birches. Prespa has many plants unique to Greece, such as the Prespa Centaury, as well as ancient juniper forests. Lake Mikri Prespa is recognised as a unique wetland, particularly the area known as Vromolimni or Viro, which resulted in the area being declared a National Park in 1974. Prespa is known for its great natural beauty and extraordinary biodiversity. More than 1,500 species of plants (out of a total of 6,000 to be found in all of Greece), have been recorded here, two of which are endemic to the area. Prespa is also home to brown bears (Ursus arctos), wolves (Canis lupus), otters (Lutra lutra), as well as 11 amphibian species, 22 reptile species and 17 species of fish, eight of which are endemic to Greece. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the local fauna is the birdlife. Out of more than 260 bird species the populations of Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) – two species which are threatened with extinction – stand out. Prespa is one of few places in Europe where the two species are found together and breed side by side; moreover the Dalmatian pelican colony is the largest in the world. An exploration of this very special place begins in Agios Germanos, the largest village in Prespa. The village, one of the most beautiful in the area and with well-preserved local architecture, has been declared a traditional village. Do not forget to visit the small island of Lake Prespa, Agios Achilleios which has long been the center of events "Prespeia" with major concerts. On the island of St. Achilleios are archaeological and Byzantine monuments and the most important the Basilica church of the namesake saint.

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