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Paranesti – Trachoni – M.L. – Frakto

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Excursion to Paranesti

Paranesti – Waterfalls of Trachoni

Five km north to Paranesti, where the old factory «Porsel» is located, we find an ascending road that leads us 1to Ano Tholos. The latter is a village with interesting traditional buildings and just a few livestock farmers live there, nowadays. Two km after the junction of Ano Tholos, there is a branching road. The left branch of the road, leads us north to the Thermia Curative Springs. After this place, we continue our way to reach the8 Virgin Forest and the Forest of Elatia. The north-east, right branching road, leads us to the villages of Silli, Prasinada, Dipotama and Valley of Arkoudorema.

There is a junction, 13km far from Paranesti, to reach Prasinada. This village has 680m altitude, so that it has a panoramic view. The view is much more spectacular, when we reach the new built Monastery of Saviour’s Metamorphosis, which is close to the village. At the junction of Prasinada, the asphalted road ends and begins another north, earthen and passable one, which leads us to 7Dipotama. In the middle of the route and 600m far from the highway, we find the marvelous waterfall of Agia Barbara, among a really idyllic environment.10

Dipotama is an abandoned village nowadays – 21km far from Paranesti. In the past, it included a number of other smaller settlements. However, the only one that still remains is Agios Nikolaos. On the other side of Arkoudorema, close to the old settlement of Trachoni – where a remarkable, domed, stone built bridge was used to link Trachoni with Dipotama – and 15km south-east of Dipotama, we find another waterfall. This is the most impressive one of the Central Rhodope. It is the monumental waterfall of Trachoni (Livaditi), which everyone admires, because of its unique beauty - as the waters fall from 35m height.

Paranesti – Dipotama – Megalo Livadi

North and close to Dipotama, 200m far from the highway, we find a small domed, stone built, bridge – lost 2into the dense flora. It still remains over the «Tsoukali Rema» (Tsoukali Stream) - as a link between the present and the past. A little bit to the north, there is a branching road again. The left branch leads to the Forest6 of Lepida and the right one, leads to the old guardhouse and the local farm houses. There is another way, which leads us to Trachoni settlement. We have the great opportunity to meet the biggest and the nicest bridge of the area – the bridge of Paleo Fylakio (Old Guardhouse). It is a stone built, monotonous bridge that looks like all the other constructions of the same architecture. However, it is an impressive one, because of its stable and perfect manufacture.

Four km after Dipotama, on the road that leads to the forest of Lepida, there is a sign of the Forest Service, which points out another attraction of the area – the 9impressive waterfall of Lepida. We can reach there, via a descending path of 700m, through very tall oaks. Four km far from the path of the waterfall and 31km far from Paranesti, we find the worksite of Lepida and the administrative, operational center of all forest activities. The worksite (1,240m height), offers a magnificent view of the plain and the round mountains and if we look much further, we can see the mountain ridges of Falakro and Paggeo.

Going on to the east and 13km after the worksite - before we reach Megalo Livadi - we pass the place of «Loukouvo» (a great biotope with loads of wildflowers). It is close to the beautiful waterfall of «Skotino Rema» (Dark Stream). Megalo Livadi is known as Oulou Giela and it is an extended, idyllic valley (1400m height). In the past, the place was a kind of summer grassland for the herds of Sarakatsani tseligata. Nowadays, it could be an ideal place for hiking and camping.

Paranesti – Thermia – Frakto

We cannot combine the exquisite Forest of Frakto with the beauty of Megalo Livadi, a part of which belongs 5to the Virgin Forest. We have to take the left road of the branch, 2km after the junction of Ano Tholos. Going north-west from the junction, we reach the hydroelectric Dam of Platanovrisi. Then, if we follow the reverse flow of Diavolorema (Devil Stream) at north, we find the Thermia Curative Springs. Here, the road is not asphalted and the forest road, after the junction «Zita» (6km northern), following the east direction, reaches the location «Afchenas» and then, the Frakto Forest.3

We can visit Frakto Forest, if we ask the permission of the Forest Service of Drama. We can also visit the facilities of the forest worksite. We are forbidden to pass the entrance of the Virgin Forest; however, we can imagine its natural beauty, by a hiking tour in the region of Achladochori (Krousovo). Walking through the impressive natural environment, we find the successive waterfalls of Achladorema, the ruins of Achladochori village and other exciting activities to do. However, it depends on what season and time we visit the place. The discovery is endless there…...