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Balkans & Black Sea Forum 2017
Stability | Growth | Cooperation
May 25-26, 2017 | Serres, Greece

Lake Kerkini & Fort Roupel


13:30 Departing from Serres, across the Valley of Strimon River, you head towards Fort Roupel.

Guided visit to the underground galleries, the stand, the observatory and the Memorial monument.

On arrival at Kerkini, a boat ride to the lake will unfold the secrets of this incredible wetland which is protected by the Ramsar Convention.

At the shores of the lake, a light snack will be offered before departure to Serres

18:30 Tour ends at the hotels

An experience at lake Kerkini (a premier Natura 2000 birding site in Greece) and Fort Roupel (a great defense line against German invasion in Greece on 1941)


Strimon River

Strimon aquatic power and the excellent topography were the main reasons of the great euphoria in the overland of Serres. According to Herodotus, this area was so popular hence more than 100 cities were built close to the river. A peculiarity of Strimon is the two embouchures, one in lake Cercinitis and another in the sea. The river springs are at an altitude of 2,200m on Vitosha Mountain southwest of Sofia, Bulgaria. From its length of 392 km, 274 belong to Bulgaria and 118 in Greece. Strimon valley is the regional communication passage between Bulgaria and Greece, and the road connection from Thessaloniki to Sofia.

Fort Roupel

It is the largest fortified complex along the Greek-Bulgarian borders, built in 1936 after an extensive military program started in Greece to be protected from invasions by enemies. Also known as ”Metaxas Line”, the Fort was constructed by shelters and galleries 4,250m long. During World War II, on April 6, 1941 Germans attacked Greece through the Greek-Bulgarian borders with heavy bombardment, supported by endless convoys of soldiers, paratroopers, airplanes and motor vehicles. Despite the aggressive efforts of Germans, the Fort remained intact. Four days later, Thessaloniki had fallen to Germans. Greece was forced to capitulate, to sign and deliver Roupel and advised the Greek Commander, Major Douratsos to evacuate the Fort. However, the Major said that «Roupel cannot be delivered. It can only be occupied». Finally, the Fort was delivered to Germany. The German army congratulated the Greek Major and expressed admiration and respect for the resistance and the heroism of the Greek soldiers.

Lake Kerkini

This incredible wetland is one of the 10 wetlands of international importance in Greece, also declared as National Park protected by the Ramsar Convention. The lake offers ideal conditions for birdwatching as hundreds of rare and protected species of birds live and breed in it. There are recorded more than 1300 species of plants, many of which are rare, more than 300 bird species of which, 137 species have nests, 134 species are wintering and 163 species use the wetland as a resting and feeding place during their migration journey. In the lake area live the greatest buffalo number in Greece, 32 fish species and at least 25 species of reptiles.