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Drama – Volakas – Tops of Falakro – Touloubari – Livadero

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Volakas is built in a cavity, formed between the mountain masses of Falakro, at an altitude of 830m and it is 735,5km far from Drama and 24km from Nevrokopi. It has 870 native, permanent dwellers and maintains a valuable cultural legacy. There is a post byzantine, three-aisle, wood-roofed, vasilikis rhythm church - with an independent stone-built bell tower – dedicated to Profitis (Prophet) Ilias. This church was built on May of 1841, 10according to the owner’s inscription. Volakas is a lively village and contrary to other villages of the area, it is always full of children who play on the roads.

Ascending to the tableau of Agio Pnevma (Holy Spirit) – 1,700m – especially during the summer, just the day of Holy Spirit’s celebration, is a special experience of participating in a ritual, which has many aspects, apart from the religious ones. We can drive till the country church on an asphalted road, which leads us to the ski resort. Another, better way to reach there, is to take a path and walk. We start from Volakas and then, we can use the road that goes along the gorge of Leptokarya. We pass through «Kouri» 2forest, leave the mountainous shelter and continue our way to the north-east duration. After that, we ascend the diode, which is created among the tops, named «Choros» (1,800m) and «Koritsomagoula» (1,986m), till the next mountainous shelter. We turn south-east and reach the plateau and the Church of Agio Pnevma. Here, celebration events take place in the spring, which is late to come. The mountain slopes are sporadically verdant. This over-green icon is a kind of an ideal background, while the colorful populations ascend. It is about religious5 people who keep the tradition. They are young men who ride or walk. After the festival ceremony (kourbani), everybody goes back to the village, where horse races take place and people continue to have fun.

Pilgrims of Volakas use the European Path, in order to ascend the plateau of Falakro, which begins from Finland and passes through the mountains of Vrontou. Apart from the E6 European Path, there are other «traditional» mountain paths to take. Two of them are the most interesting. The first one begins from the vehicular entrance of Agio Pnevma (Holy Spirit) plateau and follows the west slope of the «Kartalka» peak – in the south-west direction. Then, we reach the Gorge of 6Pyrgi. Villagers of Volakas use the second path, in order to gather «mountain tea». This one begins from the east side of the plateau, as a kind of branch of the E6 Path and descends - via a gully - the north forest side of Falakro and reaches Bartitseva.

At the plateau of Agio Pnevma, we can find one of the best ski resorts in 1Greece, with a number of facilities to serve the visitors. It is pretty nice to spend your time in winter on Falakro, but the place is magnificent in summer either. It is known as «the flowers’ mountain» or as «the botanical paradise of the Balkans», because of the rich flora, which includes many Balkan endemic and unique species of orchids. The mountain of Falakro is offered for hiking - during our walk, we pass through the lush subalpine meadows. We have also the chance for mountain climbing through the impassable mountain tops and for rock climbing at a depth of 100m, into a gulch cave of the snow pit, where the snow never melts! The ecological and aesthetic value of Falakro was recognized, when it was included to the network Natura 2000.

We can have another interesting route from Volakas to Bartitseva - the peak of the Macedonian fighter 3Armen. It is about a very accessible, north-east, forest way. First, we ascend the hill 4and the fortifications of St. Nikolaos (980m), we leave them behind us, on the left and then, we reach (8km after Volakas) a junction, where the country church of St. Efstathios remains. We follow the left branch and after an ascent of 1km, we reach the small plateau of the Armen peak. We are impressed by the blown over ground emplacement, where the underground tunnels are located. There is low vegetation here and loads of flowers. We find the forest lower. This peak has strategic importance. It controls the Nestos valley from the bridge of Papades and further. It is also protected south, by the massif of Falakro.

We can return from Bartitseva, via Volakas or via an earthen, forest road, which links Volakas with 9Touloubari, as we pass through the north forest side of Falakro, which is full of gullies. To be more specific, this road starts from the country church of St. Efstathios and it is the right branch of the road, which comes from Volakas. It is necessary to have a vehicle of four-wheel drive; however, we can visit the old abandoned villages, such as 8Makrovouni and Agios Petros. Today, towards the ruins of old villages, we find maintenance works of the old paths - that have been almost concluded. We start our way on these paths, from the forest road (the first is just after the junction, towards Armen peak and the second, 3km after the junction, where we find the country church of St. Barbara). We descend the first path towards Mesovouni, following the cobbled road and the other, towards Agios Petros – under the shadows of the oaks, chestnuts and other broadleaf trees. We can use both of the paths to reach the territory of Perasma. Touloubari that is almost 30km far from Drama and 24,5 from Livadero.