Place Prespes

Prespes is an area in the Prefecture of Florina situated in the northern borderline of Greece, bordering to Albania and FYROM. It is 551 klm away from Athens, 240 klm from Thessaloniki, 48 klm from Florina, 51 klm from Kastoria and 214 klm from Ioannina.

Prespes is an environmentally protected area; The rich flora and fauna and the impressive variety of natural environment in general, had as a result the proclamation of the area as a National Park since 1974. The National Park of Prespes (853 m. above sea level) includes two lakes (Mikri and Megali Prespa) that are separated from a narrow strip of land. The mountains around them are part of the National Park. Prespes is an area unique for its ecological system, its history and the overwhelming beauty of the landscape.

The area is also protected from the Ramsar Convention. Prespes is one of the richest areas in Greece as far as its natural environment.  One can observe here a large variety of plants, animals, birds, fishes. The fowl fauna is rare and particularly important with 260 different species of birds. More remarkable among them are Pelecanus crispus (Dalmatian Pelican) and Pelecanus onocrotalus (Great White Pelican). The first (Dalmatian Pelican) is almost in the limit of extinction with only 1000 surviving pairs all over Europe, 300 of them in Prespes. Prespes is their biggest reproduction colony world-wide. One can also find in Prespes seven out of the eight species of egrets that can be found in Greece (more rare of them being the egretta alba). There are also cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo). The National Park has a remarkable variety of different kinds of plants with 1500 being identified in the area. There are 23 fish species, 12 of which are endemic (such as grivadi, brana, tsironi, platica, kefalos, skoubouzi) and can only be found in Prespes.  Finally there are 42 mammal species, 11 amphibian species and 21 reptile species.

The area has also a historic interest both for the sites that have been preserved and for the memory of the events that took place there. Prespes are situated in middle of the ancient road connecting the cost of Adriatic to the Aegean Sea.  In the island of Agios Achilios one can visit the ruins on the churches and monasteries. The more important of them is the basilica of Agios Achillios built in late 10th century and the church of the Virgin of the Porphyra (15th century). Other interesting sites are the traditional village of Aghios Germanos, the hermitages and fresco paintings on the rock in the area of Psarades dating from 10th century AD.

Prespes was also the theater of fierce battles during the First and Second World War and most notably during the last year of the Greek Civil War (1946-1949). One can visit in the area close to Pili and Vrontero important sites from that period (Kokkalis Cave, Zachariadis Cave).