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Rivers
Gallikos River
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Gallikos River or Ehedoros is located in the central Macedonia. It springs from Mount Kroussia (Prefecture of Kilkis) and flows into the Thermaikos gulf western from Kalohori. Gallikos is 70km long and one of its longest tributaries is Spanos. Herodotus refers to the river with the names Ehedoros or Hidoron (the one that brings gifts) because apart from the various substanves its waters brought gold too. In fact, Alexander the Great exploited the mines that were located near the river’s spring which gave him significant economic power. During the Roman Rule and when the Galatians settled the area they named the river Galykos. The last century it was named Gallikos after the French army forces that camped here during the World War I.

The area according to Ramsar Treaty is one of the 11 Greek wetlands of Worldwide Importance. Moreover it constitutes one of the Greek protected areas due to its rich bird species (European Union regulation 79/409) and is about to be incorporated in the Natura 2000 Network of Protected areas.

Mythology

According to mythology Hercules dueled with Kyknos, son of Ares at the river banks. Hercules on his quest to Geryon’s Cattles passed from the spot where Kyknos was cutting the passengers’ heads in order to erect a Temple dedicated to his own father. When Ares intervened in order to favor his son, Zeus threw a thunder between them and the duel stopped.

The River today

Until recently Gallikos River was dry but for in winters that a small quantity of water from rainfalls was captured. The area has been under radical human-made procedures since 1930. The arising irrigation needs of Thessaloniki and the surrounding areas led to the biotope’s downgrade and its Delta degradation. Over the last years the set has somehow changed, the area regained its true environmental value and there are developed certain activities that favor nature and move towards making it a recreation place. Aliakmonas River contributed a lot in Gallikos River reborn! Today great quantities of water, left over from that which arrives at the local purification plant of the Thessaloniki Water Company (EYATH) and is headed for the city of Thessaloniki, is pumped into the Gallikos riverbed. So the riverbed has been reborn and the river’s Delta teems with life again. Moreover there are planned some mild interventions to make the wider area an environmental educational park and a recreation place for the locals.

Flora and Fauna

The area’s ecological and environmental significance has been recognized over the last years thanks to its rich variety of flora and fauna and the rare bird species that live here.

The wetland’s form is a result of various processes, natural and human, in the course of time. The wetland is not united and uniformed but rather consists of many smaller ones as a result of the waters’ existence and the salt quantities in the ground. Consequently the plants that grow here are mostly aquatic, salt-resistant and sand-adapted like reeds and many more.

Flora

In several parts there are individual or groups of trees as well as areas of native aquatic vegetation (also there are some manmade forested areas). The large number of tamarisk trees signifies the salt quantity of the ground. The native plants that grow here are: the Musk Willow, the White Willow, the tree of Heaven, the Elm, the Alder and the Plane tree. Halophytic plant communities are typical of the river’s estuary areas.

Fauna

The estuary areas of Gallikos (along with Kalohori Sea Lake) are listed at the 196 most important spots for the Greek bird species. 45 bird species have been recorded which are waterfowls and either make here their nests or simply have a stop. At Gallikos area visitors will see the Little Tern, the Collared Pratincole, the River Tern, the Black winged Stilt, the Kentish Plover as well as many Buzzards, Long-legged Buzzards and Ospreys. Furthermore many mammals live in the area like Hares, Hedgehogs, Ferrets, Badgers, Jackals, Wild cats and others.

Actions

The ‘Ecological Festival of Gallikos River’ (Kalohori) takes place in the beginning of the autumn at the river’s Environmental Park. The festival is organized by the Management Body Delta-Axios-Loudias-Aliakmonas in cooperation with the Municipality of Delta. It includes various events like crafts exhibitions, biological and local products exhibitions, workshops and tours to the park. In detail, the visitors of this Eco-Festival have the opportunity to get informed on the wetland’s significance and to be toured to the park’s small lakes by the Hellenic Ornithological Society. Furthermore visitors can be toured on bicycles and horses by the Horse Riding Club of Nea Ionia and attend to workshops that cover various fields of interest.

The park’s Management Body organizes frequently educational tours for schools and other groups.

Contact the Management Body Delta-Axios-Loudias-Aliakmonas. Tel: +3(0) 2310794811, fax: +3(0)2310794368, e- Mail: info@axiosdelta.gr.