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Dipotama – Megalo Livadi – Lepida

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We return to Paranesti and drive north, in order to find the wonderful waterfalls and the north-east forests. 6After 6km, we pass on Tholos Bridge, in order to reach the north side of «Arkoudorema» (Bear Gully). Then we drive on a branching road that leads us east to Prasinada and west, towards the Frakto Forest. The east road follows the route of «Arkoudorema» (which is full of trout). Waters from the east part of the region flow into this stream and the closest rivers and then, as a result, «Arkoudorema» flows into Nestos. We make out the abandoned fields and the old fruitful trees – a sample of human presence – after 4km from Tholos Bridge. 213km after Paranesti, we meet the junction of Prasinada, where from the north road leads us to the village Prasinada (6km). There, we find the Monastery of Saviour’s Metamorphosis (Transfiguration of Christ), where an old Christian Temple existed in the past. There is an earthen road at east, towards the last village, before the boundaries, named Dipotama, at the east edge of the prefecture of Drama.

 

5The riverbed, close to the road, is accessible and people can visit it. We can enjoy our way (on the 17th km, there is a faucet) and after 2km, we stop our vehicle, in order to pass through «Arkoudorema» and enjoy the waterfall of the stream «Agia Barbara» (Santa Barbara).The stream passes through the abandoned villages of Ano and Kato Potamaki (Up and Down River). Before it links with «Arkoudorema», in 500m, there is a beautiful landscape of a waterfall and a small lake among the dense forest of oaks and other broadleaved trees.3

We continue on the central road and we can make out, at the 21rst km, the dispersed ruins of the village Dipotama. This is an extensive place, because it consists of other, smaller ones. A few dwellers live there nowadays in the central place, named Agios Nikolaos (in the summer-time live farmers and loggers and a few farmers during the winter). In Dipotama live refugees of 1922 from Pontos and till the 1960 decade was a well organized village. People tried to exploit this place lately, mainly, via the evolving eco-touristic activities and the systematic livestock. At the same place, we find a junction and follow the road that leads us to the abandoned Trachoni village. There, we can find the waterfall of Trachoni-Livaditi (accessible, only through a small path of 500m).

Going on to the north from Dipotama (we leave «Arkoudorema), we enter the forest of Lepida. Through the beech woods and after a route of 7km (from Dipotama), on the left side, we see Lepidas waterfall. It is the 1largest waterfall of the area (40m height) and we can approach it, using a path. After 4 km (32km far from Paranesti), we find the forest worksite Lepida. Hospitality can be offered here, after an agreement with the Forest Service and we can also continue the route till Megalo Livadi Lepida (Large Meadow of Lepida), which is 13km far from the worksite or 45km from Paranesti.7

The way is pleasant, because we pass through the high beech and the scot pine woods and thanks to the magnificent view of the waterfall. After 2km, before we enter Megalo Livadi - at the place of the unique clusters of spruce - the «Dark Stream» (Big Stream) or the «Gully Kampa», creates a marvelous waterfall - it seems as if it splits the rock. The Large Meadow of Lepida is a smooth, flat region at 1,300 latitude, close to the Greek-Bulgarian border. It is a widespread grassland, which is surrounded by young pine forests.

In this area, the beds of the «Dark Stream» - and other smaller streams, which pass through - create a part of 9«Arkoudorema». The ecosystem of the region is a like a moist meadow, because of the rich hydrographic network, which is important for the vegetation of the area, too. There is everywhere lash herbaceous vegetation, where we can find flowers, such as crocus (saffron), orchids, violas, bluebells and so many other species.

The region is offered for camping and touring, if we use the forest road network.

We have to be very careful, going back, because the exit from Megalo Livadi has to be done by the same entrance of the road. This is necessary, because all the other roads 8lead us to an impasse, before the Greek-Bulgarian boundaries. At the municipality of Paranesti, environmental centers are going to open, in favor of the wild fauna, the energy sources in Karpoforo and another center of the Natural History in the seat of the municipality. As a result, the visitors can take useful information about the flora and fauna of the region, especially for the Virgin Forest of Frakto and will also have the opportunity to learn about the importance of the dams and the energy’s in our lives.

Today, a special guestroom of panoramic view in Paranesti, guarantees the visitors’ stay. There, they can find taverns and have tasty meals. There are a few cultural events – which are worth to see, those take place in Paranesti at the end of July – such as the feast of Mesochori in 15th of August and the traditional food «keskeki» (chicken with wheat), in Xagnanto – on the day that the orthodox celebrate the Holy Spirit in June.