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Rivers
Axios River
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Axios river, also known as Vardar, crosses Central  Macedonia and it is one of the largest rivers of the Balkan peninsula. Apart from the enormous ecological value, Axios is very important for the irrigation of the plain of Thessaloniki.

 

Geography

Axios river begins its journey from mountain Shar in the northern part of FYROM and heads south-southeast. After traveling a distance of 300 km, enters the Greek area, crosses the plain of Thessaloniki and ends into Thermaikos bay. The Greek part of the river is 80 km long.

The width of the river's bed ranges from 50 to 600 meters, depending on the landscape of each region. The depth of the river is not bigger than 4 meters.

The river  forms a complex Delta that occupies an area of ​​more than 20,000 acres. In 1934 diversion projects of the river  were implemented in order to protect the port of Thessaloniki from the transported sediments of the river.

 

History

Axios River was first mentioned by Homer. It is speculated that the name of the river originates  from the Macedonian word 'Axos' who means forest. The limits of the river were clearly different as the largest part of the plain of Thessaloniki was under the sea in the Classic period.

Axios River was one of the few paths that people and tribes of the North used to travel South.

 

Ecological value

Axios river  along with the rivers Aliakmonas, Gallikos and Loudias form the ecosystem of the plain of Thessaloniki. The rivers have created  a large wetland with great ecological values ​​that is now protected by international conventions. The wetland hosts many species of aquatic birds that include among others herons, skylark and eagles. The biodiversity of the ecosystem increases with the seasonal influx of migratory species.

On the river grow willow clumps, alder and planes.  Shrubby vegetation dominates the low areas

In the riparian forests are hosted wild mammals (wolves, jackals, etc). In contrast, in the alluvial plain are reared bovines and horses.



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