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Culture, Environment & History Route in "Messolonghi-Aetoliko" Lagoon


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Messolonghi-Aetoliko lagoon is the largest in Greece, and the second largest in Mediterranean area.

It is creation of the evolutionary natural process from the estuaries of two rivers of Aitoloakarnania, Achelous and Evinos.

It is part of "Messolonghi-Aetolian Lagoon National Park", lower reaches and estuaries of Achelous and Evinos rivers and Echinades islands" (Government Gazette 477/31 May 2006) and is one of the most important wetlands in the Mediterranean area with rich flora and fauna (Ramsar and Natura2000).

Nature has created one of the most beautiful environmental areas with a diverse microclimate which is the most ideal place for fish production, offering plenty of fish food and the most ideal conditions for breeding, while the reproduction and living are favored for many species of birds.

More than 300 species of birds are recorded in the area, in all 4 seasons of the year, throughout the environmental complex of “Messolonghi-Aetoliko” lagoon and constitute about 80% of the total number of species found in Greece. It is worth mentioning 32 of the 38 vultures that exist in Europe. The Bonelli's Eagle, the Lesser Spotted Eagle, the Black Vulture, the White – tailed eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle , the Short-toed Eagle, the Common Buzzard, the Peregrine, the Kestrel, the Goshawk, the Sparrowhawk, and the Eurasian spoonbills, live either all year round or seasonally in the wider area of the Lagoon and in the surrounding semi-mountainous areas, as they find ideal living and accommodation conditions.

A unique special experience is the observation of flamingos that beautify with the presence, in recent years for almost the whole winter until Spring and in large populations, large water parts of the lagoon. With them, the Greek Dalmatian Pelicans spend the winter, but also other birds such as Sanderlings, Tringas, Curlews that we see throughout the entire ecosystem of the lagoon, forming a beautiful canvas for the observation of bird-lovers which we observe throughout the lagoon ecosystem, forming a beautiful canvas for bird-watching lovers.

The importance of this environmental diamond of nature, which is very purposefully described as the ark of life, led to its protection from the Ramsar Convention and its inclusion in the Natura 2000 network.

The special landscape has profoundly influenced the human activity of which the first signs of life are traced from the Neolithic years (Red cave on the south side of the hill of St. Elias), and continue tirelessly through centuries, from prehistoric times, Hellenistic and Roman, Middle Ages, modern times, until nowadays.

The anthropogenic interventions throughout the period of its presence in the area but especially in the period 1960-1995, shaped the geomorphology of the area by creating a system of 6 lagoons that present special and different characteristics and are specifically distinguished in, 

1) North Channel Lagoon Kleisova

2) Kleisova Lagoon

3) Central lagoon

In front of the central lagoon there are fish farms (fishing positions): Tourlida, Vasiladi, Schinias and Prokopanistos.

4) Tholi Lagoon

5) Paleopotamos Lagoon

6) Aetoliko Lagoon (Aetoliko Canal).

The wider area of ​​the “Messolonghi-Aetoliko” lagoon wetland includes coastal ecosystems, swamps, saline areas, and drained areas that have been attributed to agriculture.





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