Change Language:
Lakes
Small Prespa Lake
broken clouds
4°C
Humidity: 90%
Clouds: 75%

The small Prespa Lake spreads in the Prefecture of Florina at the northeastern part of Greece. Along with the big Prespa Lake, it belongs to Prespa National Park since 1974 and is one of the 11 Greek wetlands of international importance that is protected by the Ramsar treaty. Over the last years it attracts alternative tourists and the interest of individual scientists due to its rare biodiversity. The importance of its biodiversity is evident from the fact that here live over the half of the bird species, amphibians and mammals that can be found in Greece.

 

Geography

The lake’s north tip is just 4 km far from the borders of FYROM, while its southeast edge enters the territory of Albania. The lake is elongated-in-shape with maximum length 13.6 km. It covers an area of ​​48,5 km², 5 of which are located in Albania. Initially the two Prespa Lakes was a single one. Over the last thousands of years due to the deposition of various substances that carried from Agios Germanos torrent in addition to the waters’ erosion, there was created a narrow strip of land that split the lake creating into the Big and the Small Prespa. The waters are discharged through subsurface flow in Big Prespa or through the sluice that has been constructed to enable the Management Body of the National Park to regulate the height of the water level. Within the lake lie two small islands, St Achillios and Vridonisi (Longitude: 21° 06΄14΄΄, Latitude: 40° 45΄21΄΄)

 

Flora and Fauna

The striking feature of the lake is that many different forms of life are gathered in a relatively small area. The flora of Small Prespa includes 1.500 species among which many are endemic plants. One of the most important endemics is the Centaurea Prespana (thorny plant with yellow flower). The climate preserves a rare arrey of aquatic plants such as water lilies, water chestnuts, daffodils and marshes’ iris. At higher altitudes a large number of mountain cypresses and cedars as well as a smaller number of the deciduous birches grow.

The area’s rich fauna numbers 17 fish species that include carps, trout, eels, roaches and the Barbus prespensis (endemic species of Prespa Lake), 11 amphibian species such as frogs, salamanders, and tritons, 21 reptile species like tortoises, lizards, and vipers. Moreover the fauna includes also 45 mammal species with the Bear, the Wolf, and the Wild goat to be the major representatives.

But what makes the lake unique and special is its amazing bird fauna. There have been recorded over 260 species, among which stand the Dalmatian Pelican (1000 - 1200 pairs), the Great White Pelican, Cormorants, the Pygmy Cormorant, and the Eurasian Spoonbills. This long list is enriched with the Great Crested Grebe, the Eurasian Coot, the Goosander, the Common Buzzard and several birds of prey like the Short-toed Eagle, the Golden Eagle, and the Kestrel.

 

St Achillios

(Longitude: 21° 05΄43΄΄, Latitude: 40° 46΄03΄΄)

The islet of St. Achillios stands in the Small Prespa Lake. In order to reach it, one should cross a floating bridge about 650m long which has got many benches alongside. The islet was named after the three-aisled Basilica of St. Achillios. The church was built at the late 10th century by the Tsar Samuil who wished to keep the relics of the Saint there. A piece of gold-weave which is stored in the Byzantine Museum of Thessaloniki has been found on the islet.

Nowadays, its few inhabitants do not exceed the 20 people and are descendants of workers from Thessaly that the Tsar Samuel had brought them to build the church. On the island, visitors have the chance to admire Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments. Moreover here is where the heart of the festival ‘Prespeia’ bits.

 

Economy

In the past the percentage of the residents who lived in the surrounding area and were engaged in fishing, was near 90%. Today mainly because of difficulties in promoting fish in the market the majority of them has focused on the agricultural crops on the top of which is the beans’ cultivation.

 

Actions

In 1990 an attempt was made to protect the area with the foundation of the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) and the participation of 10 environmental organizations such as the Ornithological Society, Arcturus, WWF, Friends of Prespa and others. The Society aims at the proper management of natural resources, the area’s mild growth, the protection of endangered species that grow and live across the Prespa basin and public’s information - awareness. The Society is headquartered in the nearby settlements St Germanos and Lemos where you can get informed about the lake and find tour guides and drivers.

 

Useful Information

Society for the Protection of Prespa Lakes

(Longitude: 21° 08΄28΄΄, Latitude: 40° 50΄15΄΄)

Telephone: +3 (0) 2385051211 / +3 (0) 2385051233 / +3 (0) 2385051343

Website: www.spp.gr

E - Mail: spp@spp.gr