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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Geographical Areas

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Acheron river and Delta
Geography, Chemistry, Biology, Geology
From Kilkis we take the road to Thessaloniki and after 44km we turn right to Exit E75 to Athens. Then, we take the exit E90, into route Egnatia, until the Exit 2A leafing to Souli – Vereniki. At the end of the road, we turn left to Souli – Agia Kiriaki and after 7.6km in the round – about, we take the 3rd exit to Paramithia. After 4.1km we follow the left turn to Dafnoula – Vouvopotamos, drive along for 16km and we finally reach Gliki. Gliki is built on the banks of Acherontas, the natural boarder of Thesprotia and Preveza prefectures.
The study area belongs to the Site of Community Importance (SCI) with the code GR2140001. The study area is also included in the European network of protected areas ‘Natura 2000’ with the code GR2120008.
The Acheron River and its delta act as an invaluable ecosystem which is home to over hundreds of plant and animal species. Much of the fauna found within the area are endangered such as the Dalmatian Stork (Pelcecanus crispus) and the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), which has been spotted throughout the beaches where the river meets the sea. There are even some endemic species that are rarely found anywhere else, such as the Govios fish. The river also constitutes a vital habitat for numerous species of birds including the Levant sparrowhawk, Golden eagles, Short-toed eagles, and Bonelli’s eagles as well as a variety of terns, buzzards and gulls.The wider Acheron area is also home to an impressive array of flora which attracts a large number of insects and amphibians to its shores. Several varieties of willow, ash, elm and oak trees encompass the river. Reeds and beautiful lilies can be seen floating within the river itself. Batrachospermum sp. and Chara vulgaris f. longibracteata are reported for the first time from Greece as well as three taxa Chara gymnophylla, Plagiomnium cuspidatum, and Najas minor are up today rare species for Greece. Furthermore, the bryophytes taxa Cinclidotus aquaticus, Oxyrrhynchium speciosum, Eurhynchiastrum pulchellum and Plagiomnium cuspidatum are reported for the first time from Western Greece
The threats for this protected area come from human intervetions in the form of deforestation, of riparian vegetation, fire wood collection, uncontrolled deposition of waste, solid domestic and agricultural waste which leads to contamination – pollution, hunting – poaching, oversized pasture and industrial activities. The impact to the wetland environment as a result of human activities demand scientific study and research.


Acheron river The Acheron or Acherousius is a river located in the Epirus region of northwest Greece. Acheron was known and as Mauropotamos too (meaning black river) Fanariotikos or Kamariotikos river. The name of Acheron river comes from the ancient Greek word achos which means distress referring to the sorrow we suffer from death. Acheron was the river without joy the river of sadness. According to another aspect its name is a combination of two Greek words “achos” that means sound and ”reo” means flow. The river with the powerful flow. Acheron was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld. According to the tradition, Zeus was devastated when the Titans drunk from the water and then he condemned the river to remain eternally under the earth while its water became darker.
Acheron river mythology According to Greek mythology in antiquity it was believed that Acheron was the river that through its waters, Hermes delivered the souls of the dead to Charos to arrive at the kingdom of Hades. Every soul should pay their fare ‘ovolos” to Charos for the transport, and for this reason, ancient Greeks buried their dead with some coins. What is remarkable is the case of Menippos, who, according to Loukianos, was the only man who crossed the Acheron without paying. On his way, Acheron intersected the rivers Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus at the region where the Necromanteion is now located.
Acheron’s river banks Acheron River is located, in a beautiful surrounding with rich vegetation and crystalline waters which comprise a unique natural landscape. In many parts of the river where the water flow is normal, there are lakes and water pits which have the ideal living conditions for many amphibians and fish. In other locations, the river flows impetuously through steep and precipitate high cliffs. In the rocky side slopes of Acheron, dozens of stones built bridges connected the banks of Acheron. The peaceful river in the summer becomes a wild beast in winter destroying all that tries to stand in its way.
Ajuga Reptans Ajuga Reptans is a perennial plant growing up to 30cm with erect and fluffy stalk purple flowers and oval dark green leaves. It contains alkaloids and iridoidi. It has an exceptional ability to cover the ground and grows fast. Ajuga Reptans likes to be out of the sun, demands major amount of water and survives successfully low temperatures. Because of its rapid growth it is used as a plant suitable to cover the ground in areas with plenty of shade irrigated under trees and bushes. It tastes bitter but it is restorative and styptic. It has lenitive and healing properties when dermatological problems are involved. It helps digestive problems and cleans the liver.
Acheron’ s flora While the river is steaming the waters create small waterholes and lagoons, ideal for the fish and amphibians to live. You can also see bushes such as quercus coccifera, Rhamnus alaternus and many other plants belongs to macchia scrubby. All along the river met forests of Arbutus Unedo, oak trees, willows, wickers, osiers and sycamores. The total amount of the area’s plants comes up to 509 different species. This rich fauna makes an ideal place for 196 different species of birds to live and breed. A great number of these birds are protected by an International agreement as the wetland is an immigrant road for the birds.
Acheron’ s fauna The fauna of Acheron river consists of plenty of small fishes, eels, crabs, frogs, butterflies and some harmless watersnakes. Rarely someone meets otters. At the end of the river, the nests of the nightingales hanging from the willows are so unique. At the rocky slopes of the Acheron’s straits, many kinds of raptors as hawks, sparrow hawks and snake eagles make nests. In the Acheron waters more than nine kind of fishes are breeding. One of them is acheronogovios, which is endemic in this area and can be met nowhere else.
The pollution of Acheron’s estury Scientists have found the antibiotic resistant salmonella in the river Acheron as well as in marine waters which come from the river, they even go so far as to speak of \"super\" salmonella which is resistant to more than three antimicrobial drugs, which in case of infection makes the treament of contaminated human organism difficult. Scientists have concluded that the deterioration of the Acheron pollution may be due to high rates of rural activities (farms) on the river banks, and the situation is impaired by heavy rains which result in high agricultural runoff into the rivers. The infection can also come from the droppings of wild birds which are carriers of salmonella, which has been observed by other researchers in the areas where there is a large population of wild birds. There are also studies from other countries where often salmonella is found in coastal areas where there are many seabirds and the waters are shallow and warm, as in the areas mentioned above.
Parga Parga is located 25km from Acheron river. Amphitheatrically built, the city of Parga situated between the coastal region of Preveza and Thesprotia which uniquely combines mountain and sea The village of Parga stands from the early 13th century. In 1360 the Pargians, in order to avoid the attacks of the Magrebins, transferred the village to its present location. Scenic town with island color significant tourism excaptional natural beauties and rich historical past. The traditional two-floor and three- floor buildings, the coastal road, the castle, the small islands in the harbor combine a romantic scene. Parga’ s population is 2.171 people.


Ardea Cinerea Cinerea Ardea Cinerea is a bird of the Heron family which is native in the Acheron Delta and the entire landscape of Greece. The scientific name of the species is Ardea Cinerea and includes 4 kinds. The species we meet in Greece is Ardea Cinerea Cinerea. (Linnaeus, 1758). The biggest heron lives in Europe, is 90cm long and it is noticed in Greece during the whole year. The top of its body is grey, the bottom is white and it is carrying a characteristic crest on the top of its head. A white strip begins from the eye and goes down to the neck. The face is white, the beak is long and yellow. During the time of matching the beak and the brown legs turn to red. Ardea Cinerea Cinerea lives near lakes, lagoons, rivers and forests where there is plenty of water and food. It is fed on fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, worms, little birds, insects and grass. It builds its nest on the top of the trees or lower under the bushes or even on the ground into canebrake along with other species of Heron. It breeds 2-6 eggs colloured in light blue. Both the mail and the female bird brood the eggs for 23-28 days and take care of the fledglings while the later stand in the nest for 50-55 days.
Ardea alba alba The Ardea alba alba is a large bright white heron which is native in the Acheron Delta and the entire Greek landscape. The scientific name of the species is Ardea alba. The species we meet in Greece is Ardea alba alba. This species can reach a length ranging from 85 to 102cm and has a wingspan of 140- 170cm. The body mass can range from 700 to 1,500 gram. It has a long thin neck, a yellow beak, black legs and feet, although the beak may become darker and the lower legs lighter in the breeding season. It has a slow flight, with retracted legs. This is a characteristic of herons and distinguishes them from storks, which extend their neck in flight.
Pancratium maritimum Pancratium maritimum, or sea daffodil, is a species of bulbous plant native to both sides of the Mediterranean region where it is threatened with extinction. Pancratium maritimum grows on beaches and coastal sand dunes, often with many of the leaves and scapes buried in the sand. Pancratium maritimum is a bulbous perennial with a long neck, broadly linear leaves, evergreen, but the leaves often die back during hot summer. The flowers have a pleaseant, exotic and very subtle lily scent, which only becomes apparent during still, windless summer nights that allow the delicate fragrance to become perceptible. Flowering is from August to September. Pancratium maritimum grows easily but requires a very sunny position and a very well drained, sandy soil. Needs hot summers to induce flowering and is often a shy bloomer in cooler climates. On the banks of Acheron river Pancratium is endangered despite its easy multiplication and durability.. The population of Pancratium maritimum consist of a small number of plants on the beach Amoudia because of man’s abiding devastation of the natural environment in recent years.


Acheron river

Acheron river springs from the mountainous area of the prefecture of Ioannina and after a route of 64km it reaches Ionian sea, creating a lot of ecosystems which provide shelter to a lot of animals and plants. The area strait and estuary of Acheron is one of 18 natural regions recognized as the most remarkable in whole Epirus .the area occupies a great extent of land of 4630 acres and it is so important both in European (SCI code GR2140001) and National level ( Natura 2000 code GR21200080) due to its distinguishing features and its biodiversity. The water of Acheron irrigate almost 85.000 acres.


Necromanteion was devoted to Hades and Persephone. According to tradition, it was located on the banks of the Acheron river in Epirus, near the ancient city of Ephyra the capital of ancient Thesprotia. This site was believed to be the door to Hades, the realm of the dead. The site is at the meeting point of the Acheron, Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus rivers and was believed to flow through and water the kingdom of Hades. The meaning of the names of the rivers has been interpreted to be \"joyless\", \"burning coals\" and \"lament.\" The word Necromanteion means “Oracle of Death”. The ritual of the Necromanteion involved elaborate ceremonies wherein celebrants seeking to speak to the dead would start by gathering in the space of temple and consuming a meal of broad beans, pork, barley bread, oysters, and a narcotic compound Following a cleansing ceremony and the sacrifice of sheep, the faithful would descend through a chthonic series of meandric corridors leaving offerings as they passed through a number of iron gates. The Necromanteion functioned until 167 BC when it was looted and destroyed by the Romans.

ph measurement

We measured the pH of the Acheron water in order to estimate its rate and also to find out approximately wether it contains increasing agricultural runoffs. If agricultural runoffs exist in the river’s water the pH will deviate from the neutral price to acidic or basic, depending on the use of acidic or basic fertilizer. During the measuring procedure we use colour-fixed indicator sticks. The stick was put into the river’s water and the ph was coloured accordingly. This colour was compared with specific coloured indicators and lead to a good approximation of the pH in question. The ph rate was approximately to 7. So in that time the agricultural runoffs were insignificant.

Delta of Acheron

The protected delta of the Acheron is in danger of complete extinction because of large-scale drainage works. According to the environmental organizations, the environmental conditions which were set for the realization of these works do not ensure the integrity of few wetland areas which will have survived after the drainage works. At the same time there is a risk of loss of the protected species and important habitats. The drainage - irrigation project “Vathipedo Amoydias and Valanidorrachis” which covers the area of approximately 7,000 acres, has already begun. The project includes, above all, the construction of a drainage tunnel with the length of 280 m. with the aim of the \\\"sanitation\\\" of the bay of Ammoudia which will result in the disappearance of important bogs that develop in the lower parts of the delta. The river is at risk also because of polluted waste and sewage. The environmental organizations warn that the area is threatened with serious ecological disaster if the flow of waste to the river Acheron continues.

Presenting of our team

1st Vocational school of Kilkis