Nestos (river)

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Mesta (Места), Nestos (Νέστος)
Nestos map.jpg
Origin at 42°07′10″N 23°35′10″E / 42.11944°N 23.58611°E / 42.11944; 23.58611, Rila Mountains, Bulgaria
Mouth Aegean Sea opposite Thasos, Greece
40°50′51″N 24°48′15″E / 40.84750°N 24.80417°E / 40.84750; 24.80417Coordinates: 40°50′51″N 24°48′15″E / 40.84750°N 24.80417°E / 40.84750; 24.80417
Basin countries Bulgaria, Greece
Length 230 km
Source elevation 2,240 m
Avg. discharge from 1,462 m³/s at the source of Cherna Mesta to 29,850 m³/s at Hadzhidimovo
Basin area 2767,1 km²

The Nestos (Greek: Νέστος) or Mesta (Bulgarian: Места), formerly the Mesta Karasu (Ottoman Turkish), is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. It rises in the Rila Mountains and flows into the Aegean Sea near the island of Thasos. It plunges down towering canyons toward the Aegean Sea through mostly metamorphic formations. At the end, the main stream spreads over the coastal plain of Chrysoupolis and expands as a deltaic system with freshwater lakes and ponds forming the Nestos delta.The length of the river is 230 km, of which 126 km in Bulgaria and the rest in Greece. It forms some gorges in Rila and Pirin.

The Mesta's longest tributary is the Dospat River (Bulgarian: Доспат; Greek: Δεσπάτης, Despatis). The banks of the river are covered mainly by deciduous trees that extend into halfway between Bulgaria and Greece where it forms the modern boundary of Greek Macedonia and Thrace, as well as the boundary between the Kavala and the Xanthi regional units, having first crossed the Drama regional unit. The river later forms a delta to the north where swamplands, wetlands and a lagoon once existed except in the east.


In the Geography of Claudius Ptolemy, the river is referred to as Nestus (Νέστος), and is said to form the boundary between ancient Macedonia and Thrace.[1]


Mesta Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Mesta River.



  1. ^ Geography of Claudius Ptolemy, Book 3, Chapter 11