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Easternmost Greek Macedonia and Greek Thrace

map of north eastern greeceIt should be pointed out here that the ancient region of Macedonia is now split between three modern nations, with the largest portion in Greece, which is referred to as Greek Macedonia, to distinguish it from both the Former Yugolslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and from the Pirin mountain region in southwestern Bulgaria.

The old region of Thrace has also been portioned out to three modern nations, the part belonging to Greece (and only since 1923) known as Western Thrace, in terms of the old region, with Eastern Thrace constituting the European portion of Turkey, and Northern Thrace taking up much of southern Bulgaria. It is important to remember that present day borders are political realities that do not efface common geographic, geologic, botanical, and ethnographic/cultural unities belonging to these old regions on either side of the presently drawn political boundaries.

Mount falakor bald mountainSince Greek Macedonia is by far the largest of the major regions of modern Greece, stretching from Albania in the west to Greek Thrace on the east, and touching Greek Ipiros, Thessaly and the Aegean Sea along its southern boundaries, we will demarcate the area to the east of Thessaloniki as Easternmost Greek Macedonia, for our purposes here. Both this area and Greek Thrace, which it borders, have bounded by the Aegean Sea to the south and FYROM and Bulgaria to the north.

These two areas are most significant in terms of conservation, for their wetlands and the birdlife in them, and include five of Greece's ten Ramsar Sites (internationally recognized significant wetlands ). Most of the wetlands along the Aegean coast south of these areas are at river mouths, and all have suffered major ecological damage from human activities during the course of the past few decades, some to such an extent (for example, the Strymon delta) as to be eliminated from consideration here. Those that remain are all the more so crucial, and some are quite extensive.

The area is on major migratory routes, and, because almost ice-free during the winter, despite the harsh climate farther inland to the north, are significant wintering areas for vast numbers of birds.

Both the hilly, partly wooded, country found inland from the river mouths along the coast, and the Aegean sea, rich in marine life and mostly unpolluted, together comprise a superb double habitat for migrating and visiting birds. In addition to these delta areas, the lakes, mountains, forests and forested mountains, and islands in this region (all of which will be dealt with below) make it a richly varied and fascinating area for naturalists and nature lovers. May and June are good for nature here in general, though most of the year from August through June good for birds.

Eastern most Macedonia & Thrace North Greece : Intro, Chalkidiki & Mt. Athos, Holomondas Mts., Kassandra Peninsula, Dadia Forest, Evros Delta, Lakes Koroni & Volvi, Mt. Falakro, Mt. Meniko, Mt. Pangeon, Mt. Vrondous, Lake Kerkini, Nestos river valley, Porto Lagos, Rhodopi Mts. Macedonia, Rhodopi Mts. Thrace,