Host Country Studies Trip to Alexandroupoli-Evros


“Πριν πλημμυρίσει ο Έβρος δοκιμάζουν
την αθωότητά μου οι ήχοι του”
“Before Evros floods, my innocence is tested by its sounds”
by Thanasis Tzoulis, an Epirote surrealist poet and psychologist who chose Evros as his place of residence.

Thursday, April 11

It’s an exciting, long trip to Alexandroupoli, crossing Eastern Macedonia and the plains of Thrace. Half way through, we stopped at Porto Lagos on Lake Vistonida, a unique Mediterranean type ecosystem that hosts a variety of fauna: several types of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds as well as flora. In the middle of Vistonida Lake, the Athonite Monastery of Vatopedi has a small but beautiful Dependacy dedicated to St Nicolaos. We were greeted by Father Andreas who welcomed us with sweets in a very typical Orthodox monastic style and talked to us about his monastery. Inspired by the beauty of Porto Lagos our students started writing a special project for their English Classes.

Friday, April 12

Friday morning was sunny and bright, a perfect day for a long trip on the banks of River Evros. First stop the Silk Museum in Soufli, where all the phases and the stages of the pre-industrial process of rearing silkworms (sericulture) and of silk processing (silk manufacturing) were presented in a noteworthy way within the wall of a small, but beautifully restored 19th century local mansion.

Then, we visited the forest of Dadia. Located along one of the most important migration routes for birds of the western ecozone, Dadia is one of the few regions in Europe cohabitated by so many and different species of birds of prey and where three of the four European species of vultures can be simultaneously found, the Eurasian Black Vulture, the Egyptian Vulture and the Eurasian Griffon Vulture. Guided by the local scientists of the Documentation Centre of Natural Environment our students learnt how to best appreciate the great beauty of Dadia forest and the rich riparian flora that offers suitable biotopes for the nesting and the finding of food for many different species.

Our last stop on Friday afternoon was the Ethnological Museum of Thrace in Alexandroupoli, where Ms Valentina, the Museum’s educator introduced our students to local Traditional Professions through a fun, interactive educational program.

Saturday, April 13

It was time to return back to Thessaloniki, but the Delta of river Evros, an important wetland on a national, European and international level, waited our exploration. By bus, on foot and by boat we explored an area of unique beauty where hundreds of thousands of birds find shelter and food all year round, and the local community flourishes on its important natural resources.

Last stop the great 12th century Byzantine church of Panagia Kosmosotira, a unique architectural building with an iconographic decoration of the highest quality representing the best of the Constantinopolitan School.

Amalia Spiliakou

Host Country Studies Coordinator