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Rivers
Evros River
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Evros is one of the biggest rivers in the southeast Europe and the biggest in the Balkans. It springs from the northeast slopes of Rila mountain range in Bulgaria and flows into the Thracian Sea eastern from Alexandroupoli city. It is 530km long, 204 of which cross the Greek dominion. Evros irrigates the whole valley of the homonymous regional unit. Its tributaries are Adras at the north, Erythropotamos, Megalo Rema, Kamilopotamos and Diavolorema. The fact that Evros River neighbors with Rodopi mountain range has resulted in the creation of various biotopes with rich flora and fauna. In fact, the river’s Delta at its estuary is protected by the Ramsar Treaty and has been identified as a unique area due to the fish and bird srecies that live here.

Mythology

Evros River was originally called Romvos. It took its name after the son of the king Kassandros of Thrace. According to the myth Evros threw himself into the river and got drowned to avoid the punishment after his stepmother had accused him for inappropriate behavior to his father. The river is connected with one more myth too, according to which Maenads devoured Orpheus and threw his head in the river.

Economy

Evros River has contributed a lot in the regional unit’s economy and development. Its waters cover the irrigation needs of the valley, enforcing the local communities. Except for the river, its tributariesAdras and Erythropotamos supply large plain areas with good quality aggregates. Moreove Evros Delta has been set one of the most famous hunting destinations, enhancing the area’s tourism market. Today the area has been recognized as a place of high ecological and environmental value and various activities on the terms of ecological tourism have been developed that attract many visitors throughout the whole world.

Problems

One of the major problems that face the regions that Evros flows are the frequent, disastrous floods in the winters. Floodings are caused due to 2 reasons; on the one hand the Ivailogkrant dam in Bulgaria overflows and this increased quantity of water flows into Evros through Adras tributary and on the other hand the Greek and the Turkish soil embankments have decreased its width to 200m (from the 2000) hardening the water’s flow.

Furthermore human activity has burden the wetland, playing down its environmental importance. The extended irrigation and reclamation works in order to create new areas for cultivation altered the bank’s morphology, disappeared biotopes of rare flora and fauna and changed the hydrologic cycle in many areas near the river’s delta. Also the extension of the crops limited the fallow lands.  The uncontrolled grazing throughout the year exceeds the area’s abilities and results in the deforestation of areas that constitute a shelter for rare bird species. Finally, although hunting and fishing are processes that contribute in an ecosystem in this case they have led to a significant decreasing of some fish populations and of birds that spend the winter in the river’s wetland.

Flora

More than 350 plant species have been recorder in Evros Delta and along its banks. The halophytic plant communities are typical of river estuaries, regarded the largest in Greece and constitute a nutritious source of food for several bird species. In drainaged areas the vegetation is mainly xerophytic. The vegetation depends on the ground composition, humidity and salt quantity. The river’s area is covered in brackish marshes, grasslands, corn crops, tamarisks, small forests, sea lakes, reed groves and sandy parts.

Fauna

Evros Deltadue to its location hosts many bird species that are rare in the European landscapes. In the area have been recorded 50 fish species, 20 reptile species and about 40 mammal species. The greatest treasure of the area’s biodiversity is the bird species. Evros is the natural habitat of more than 300 bird species (400 species nest in whole Greece) some of which like the Cormorants, the Common Terns, the Peregrines, the Short-toed Eagles, the Golden eagles, the Imperial eagles, the Black vulture and others make here their nests and use the biotope to find their food whereas other aquatic species like Sarsellas, Gadwall ducks, White-fronted Goose and others find here a shelter during the winters. Many migratory birds like the White Pelican, the Phoenicopterus flamingo, the Coot, the Black Stork and other rest here on their way to Africa and Asia.

Further Information

Municipal Tourist Centre of Evros Delta: +3(0)2555024310

Information Centre of Evros Delta: +3(0)2551061000