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The village of Ano Poroia: the perfect combination of a mountain and a lake

24 November 2013 / 15:11:46  GRReporter
4286 reads

Northwest of Lake Kerkini, very close to the borders with the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria, you will find Ano Poroia, one of the most picturesque villages in the region of Serres. Turkish Beys, whose rural houses were located here, called it "The Little Istanbul". Doctors recommended that patients with tuberculosis should stay in the village as therapy.

Groups of persecuted families were the first immigrants and the core of the villagers in the early 19th century. Later, refugees from Asia Minor, expelled from their ancestral homes, settled there, creating an interesting mix of people.

Looking at the lake

The village lies at the foot of Mount Belles (or Kerkini), at an altitude of 400 metres, overlooking the valley and the lake still retains the characteristics of Macedonian architecture brought by Wallachian-speaking Greeks from Epirus and Western Macedonia, together with their customs and traditions, which mixed later with those of refugees from Asia Minor in 1922.

Take a walk along the streets of the old districts in order to soak up the history of the place, talk to the hospitable locals and try the best delicacies in the taverns on the main square and the whole area, such as sausages, roast goat, buffalo meat in various dishes as well as buffalo milk cheese, roast pork and fish from the lake.

Enjoy the fresh air in the forest with plane trees and abundant waters, where there is a place for relaxation with restaurants. Be sure to also visit the chapel of St. George, with unique icons, from where you can enjoy incredible views over the village, Kerkini and the valley.

Ano Poroia enjoys tourism throughout the year and each season "dresses" the village in different colours. If you plan to visit Ano Poroia soon, choose the period of the Christmas holidays. The most famous custom of the village is on 26 December - pork is prepared and served in the village square to the sounds of traditional music.

A mountain or a lake?

Mount Belles is an important reserve which is included in NATURA 2000. The best place to access the mountain is Ano Poroia, from where marked hiking trails start. If you follow the path in the forest with plane trees, you will also see maples, birch, fir, black pine and the rich fauna of the area. After two hours on the mountain, you will reach the plateau of Asprolimni where there is a shelter. The view over the lakes of Kerkini and Doiran is magical. You can also ride horses or drive 4Χ4 cars.

Lake Kerkini is one of the few rich water reserves in Greece, and one of the most important in Europe. It monopolises ecotourism in Greece and is the centre of international ecological interest. It is located about 10 kilometres southeast of the village of Ano Poroia.

Kerkini is protected by the Ramsar Convention and included in Natura 2000. Many species of mammals live around it, such as jackal, wolf, wild cat, otter, as well as 30 species of fish - mainly eels, as well as about 300 bird species. Also, the greatest number of buffalo in Greece lives around the forest.

Worthwhile Excursions

Besides Mount Belles and Lake Kerkini, there are many other interesting places in the area. One of them is the fortRoupel, located 40 km from Ano Poroia - a strategically important location that is part of the "Metaxas Line" north of the border. Part of it is now open to the public. There is also a museum. It is located 3 km from the Promachon border post and 7 km from the bridge of the Strymonas River (Struma).

There are mineral springs in the area in Angistros and Siderokastro. The Byzantine Hammam in Angistros is considered the best bathhouse in Greece and is a cultural monument. The springs in Angistros are among the best in Europe. The water temperature is 40.5°C and is ideal for rheumatism, arthritis, disc disease, etc.

You can also visit interesting monasteries such as that of John the Baptist in Akritohori and St. George in Monastiraki.

How to get there:

Ano Poroia is situated 65 km north-west of Serres, 100 km from Thessaloniki and 604 km from Athens. You can get there by car or train. From Thessaloniki, drive along the road Thessaloniki – Kilkis – Promachon and turn left at the Porion junction. In about 1 km you will reach the centre of the village.

Tags: Ano Poroia Serres Belasitza Lake Kerkini
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