Lake Kerkini

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Lake Kerkini
Lake Kerkini is located in Greece
Lake Kerkini
Lake Kerkini
Coordinates41°13′N 23°08′E / 41.21°N 23.13°E / 41.21; 23.13Coordinates: 41°13′N 23°08′E / 41.21°N 23.13°E / 41.21; 23.13
Primary inflowsStrymon River
Primary outflowsStrymon River
Basin countriesGreece
Max. length17 kilometers (11 mi)
Max. width5 kilometers (3.1 mi)
Surface area75 square kilometers (29 sq mi)
Max. depth35.5 m (116 ft)
Surface elevation35 meters (115 ft)
Official nameArtificial Lake Kerkini
Designated21 August 1975
Reference no.58[1]

Lake Kerkini (Greek: Λίμνη Κερκίνη - Limni Kerkini, Bulgarian: Бутковско езеро - Butkovsko ezero) ), is an artificial reservoir in Central Macedonia, Greece that was created in 1932, and then redeveloped in 1980, on the site of what was previously an extremely extensive marshland.

Lake Kerkini is now one of the premier birding sites in Greece and, as it is situated along the migratory flyway for migratory birds en route to the Aegean Sea, the Balkan region, the Black Sea, the Hungarian steppes and beyond it experiences an interesting migration.


Before 1932, there were irregular marsh lakes on Strymon, one of them called "Podkova" (from Slavic origin, in Bulgarian and Macedonian "Podkova" meaning "Horseshoe", found in Ottoman Turkish records: ݒودقوه كولي Podkova Gölü.[2]). The lake was created where Kerkini lake was by making embankments on the eastern and western sides and a dam was constructed near the village of Lithotopos, which started functioning in 1932. After the construction of the dam, the form of the initial hydrobiosphere changed completely.

As time went by, the lake's capacity was reduced because of the substances that were washed up by Strymon river. So the rising of the embankments and the construction of a new dam was necessary, which was started operating in 1982.


The lake's main water source is the Strymon River, although it is also fed by the Kerkinitis river from Krousia.

In the flat and semi-mountainous area, important hydrobiospheres are developing which are of great international significance and acceptance. The most essential hydrobiosphere is the one in Kerkini lake. It is a miracle of nature which came about by man's technical intervention on the natural characteristics of Strymon river. The water extent, which varies from time to time from 54 Km2 to 72 Km2, works out to be useful in two ways: as a technical work of great agricultural utility and as a hydrobiosphere for thousands of water fowls.


This biosphere is recouped by the International Convention of Ramsar and presents numerous admirable elements. Thousands of birds, both rare and protected, riverside forests, water-lilies in a large area, fish variety and fantastic panoramic view from the mountains of Belasica and Krousia give it a characteristic tone. Actually the lake hosts 227 kinds of birds, especially non-migrants. 76 of them are recorded in the National Red Catalogue, while at least 31 of them are protected by EEC's Directive concerning wild life. What makes an exceptional presence is the buffalo's herd in the area, plus the one of the jackelo in the area of Kerkini lake. In the surrounding area of Kerkini lake there are at least 10 amphibian species (frogs, salamanders, tritons), five snail species, 19 reptile species (lizards, snakes, turtles) and a great variety of insects which play an important part in the food chain and contribute towards the biological resources of the lake.

The human intervention usually retracts or takes negative action against the natural processes, Kerkini lake is a rare example, where the gentle human handling had the exact opposite result.



  1. ^ "Artificial Lake Kerkini". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^

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