The Region of Epirus

Epirus lies in the northwest of Greece, a Balkan country that penetrates deep into the Mediterranean Sea. It is the most mountainous region of the Greek peninsula, which is in southeastern Europe, the southern-most part of the Balkan Peninsula. The Pindus mountain range, whose tallest peak reaches 2,600m, forms a natural border which separates, yet at the same time, forms a link with the rest of the country. To the north lies Albania, to the east, Macedonia and Thessaly, to the south it reaches the Gulf of Ambracia while to the west is the Ionian Sea and its seven islands. It consists of the Prefecture of Ioannina, whose seat of administration is Ioannina, that of Arta, whose seat is Arta, that of Preveza, whose seat is Preveza, and that of Thesprotia, whose seat is Igoumenitsa. Its capital is Ioannina, located in the northwest. Its area is 9,203km², approximately 6.7% of the territory of Greece. The population numbers 336,392 inhabitants. Its geographic morphology is characterized mainly by mountains and abundant surface water. The result is that this particular region has a rare beauty, especially rich in flora and fauna.

The Region of Epirus contains two of the ten largest national parks of Greece: the Vikos-Aoos National Park and the Pindus National Park (Valia Calda), as well as important wetlands such as Lake Pamvotis, the Kalama and the Ambracian Deltas, which have been declared vulnerable areas and have been included in the Pan-European Ecological Network Natura 2000. A virgin natural habitat, one of contrasts, it combines the green of the mountains and their wild beauty with the calming blue of the sea. It is covered for the most part by massive mountains with soaring peaks, shutting in between them forests, valleys, large and small, lakes, rivers, ravines, gorges, springs gushing crystal-clear water, with glorious flora and fauna, a totality of stunning beauty. And at the same time, it boasts magical beaches along its extensive coast on the Ionian Sea and the Ambracian Gulf. Of paramount importance is the protection and the preservation of the natural environment and all the species in it.

The establishment of zones of protection in this region, with the founding of the North Pindus National Park, the Tzoumerka National Park and the creation of the Management Authorities of Lake Pamvotis, of the Kalama, and of the Ambracian Gulf, aims to instill a new awareness. The purpose is the maintenance and the proper management of these rare habitats with their varied flora and fauna and the institutionalization of procedures and measures to ensure the harmonious coexistence of Man and Nature.

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