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Arachthos
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Arachthos river crosses a large part of Epirus and ends into Amvrakikos gulf. The ecosystem of the river hosts a great number of species. Meanwhile, the river is very important for the irrigation of Arta's plain.

 

Geography

Arachthos river, with a total length of 110 km, is the eighth largest river of Greece. It stems from Lakmonas mountain of the northern Pindos range in an altitude of over 1,500 meters. During his journey, the river crosses the prefectures of Ioannina and Arta, heads south, crosses Tzoumerka, descends to the plain of Arta and finally it forms a delta at the mouth of  Amvrakikos gulf.

The river has many tributaries that drain the northern Pindos mountain range. The most important of them are Dipotamos, Metsovitikos, Kalaritikos, Zagoritikos and the river of Peta. In 1981, an artificial lake was created due to the construction of the hydroelectric dam in Pournari.

 

History

Arachthos river is famous for its 55 arched bridges. The 2 most famous are the bridge of Arta, framed by folk legends and the bridge of Plaka, which is the largest single-arch bridge in the Balkan peninsula.

From 1881 and for a period of more than 30 years, Arachthos was the natural border between Greece and Turkey.

Today, Arachthos irrigates more than 45,000 acres of lowland areas while electrifies the surrounding area thanks to the two hydroelectric dams.

Ecosystem

Arachthos river has been integrated in the European network of protected areas NATURA 2000 because of the rarity of the species of flora and fauna who live in the broader area.

Along the river, grows riparian vegetation consisting mainly of elms, poplars and sycamores. At slightly larger distances from the river grow chestnut and oaks. The rare endemic plants of the region include the bluebell of Choougkins, the centaur of Epirus, the alpine Ramna etc.

The riparian avifauna consists of Dalmatian pelicans, ducks, owls, kingfishers etc. Important representative of mammals that live in the area are otters. Otters are small mammals that live on the rocky shores of Arachthos. Finally, the fish fauna of Arachthos, as studied in the artificial lake Pournari, includes carp, pindovinous, wild trout etc.

 

Activities

Arachthos river is offered for a variety of tourism activities. In particular, the river, is ideal for kayaking, canoeing and rafting. The number of paths that are developed on both sides of the river along with the dozens of stone bridges that intersect the river  are ideal  for eco-tours.