Epirus

Epirus lies in the northwest of Greece. The country itself is part of the Balkan region, yet it reaches as far as the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This is the most mountainous region of the Greek peninsula, here in southeastern corner of Europe, the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula. The Pindos mountain range, its tallest peak reaching a height of 2,600 meters, forms a natural border and at the same time is the area through which the region connects to the rest of the country. To the north of the administrative region of Epirus lies the border with Albania, to the east lie the regions of Macedonia and Thessaly, and to the south it reaches as far as the Ambracian Gulf and the border with the region of Aitoloakarnania. To the west is the Ionian Sea and its seven islands. The administrative region consists of the Prefecture of Ioannina, its administrative centre being the city of Ioannina, the Prefecture of Arta (the city of Arta being the administrative centre), the Prefecture of Preveza (its administrative centre being the city of same name, Preveza), and lastly Thesprotia, the centre of which is the city of Igoumenitsa. The capital city of the administrative region is Ioannina, located in the northwest. The region covers an area of 9,203 square kilometers, approximately 6.7% of the total land area of Greece. Its population numbers some 336,392 inhabitants. Its geomorphology is primarily characterised by mountainous terrain and abundant surface waters. The result is that this particular region is especially beautiful, with a richly diverse flora and fauna.

The Epirus region contains two of the ten largest national parks in Greece: the Vikos-Aoos National Park and the Pindos National Park (Valia Kalda), as well as important wetland reserves such as Lake Pamvotida and the Kalamas and Ambracian Deltas, which have been declared vulnerable areas and are part of the Pan-European Ecological Network Natura 2000. It is a virgin natural habitat, one of contrasts, harmoniously combining the wild beauty of green mountains with the calm blues of the sea. It is covered for the most part by large mountains with towering peaks. Sheltering among them lie forests and valleys, large and small, lakes, rivers, ravines, gorges, and springs gushing with crystal-clear water. Lush vegetation and a variety of fauna complete the wild and beautiful whole. At the same time, some of the most entrancing beaches can be found along the extensive coastline of the Ionian Sea and the Ambracian Gulf. Protection and preservation of the natural environment and the many species that can call it home is of critical importance.

The establishment of protected zones in the region, with the founding of the Northern Pindos National Park, the Tzoumerka National Park and the creation of the management authorities of Lake Pamvotis, Kalamas, and the Amvrakikos Wetlands, has the aim of instilling new awareness. In particular, their objective is the preservation and proper management of these rare biotopes and the species of flora and fauna native to the region, as well as instituting processes and measures to ensure the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.

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