If you walk from the city of Thessaloniki to the Axios Delta National Park, you will find the Delta of the Gallikos River right behind the lagoon of Kalochori. Gallikos is one of the four rivers whose deltas and estuaries are located in the national park.
“The Gallikos river springs from the Krousia mountains, at Kilkis. Following a route of 65 km, it flows into the Thermaic gulf. In antiquity it was called Echedoros, ‘the one bearing gifts’, as its riverbed contained traces of gold. Herodotus mentions that when Xerxes travelled through Macedonia on his way to Greece, his army drank all of the river’s water and dried it up!
The Gallikos river does not maintain a steady surface flow in a large part of its bed, due to the long years of exploitation of its water resources. The Gallikos river was ‘resurrected’ during recent years thanks to the Aliakmon river! Large quantities of water, intended to supply the urban complex of Thessaloniki were superfluous and therefore driven towards the riverbed of the Gallikos.
At the Gallikos estuary we meet a system of three large pools, created from soil extractions of previous decades. These ‘ponds’ were created accidently, but they are today full of life, as they are home to coots, cormorants, pygmy cormorants, rare species of herons as well as ducks, Dalmatian pelicans, flamingos, swans and buzzards in the winter.” *
During our walks, we encountered different bird species, such as river terns, brandies, coots, silkworms, cormorants and mute swans. Of course we also photographed the beautiful flamingos. Hundreds of them have created beautiful images for our pictures through their slow and harmonious movements.
We have seen herds of farm animals, such as sheep, goats and pigs, and one day we were lucky enough to witness the only herd of water buffalos in the area crossing the river.
We were also there when not only the Kalochori lagoon was frozen, but also the water of the Gallikos River due to the extremely low temperatures of the last winter.
Unfortunately, the short distance to the metropolitan area of Thessaloniki has negative effects, which were visible during our walks. We encountered rubble, garbage and abandoned car tires.
Nevertheless it is a beautiful area, which is worth visiting in connection with the neighboring lagoon.
* Source: Axios Delta National Park