Drama – Volakas – Potami – Mikromilia – Birch-Tree Forest


One of the most significant forest ecosystems of Drama is the Birch-tree Forest to the north side of the 1prefecture. We can approach the area from Drama, via Nevrokopi (almost 100km), or Volakas (almost 70 km).

There is an interesting, descending route of north direction – 12km – which passes through the beautiful landscapes and reaches Mikroklissoura. Left of the road, we see the peaks of Agio Pnevma (Holy Spirit - 1,629m) and Niki (1,260m). There are native walnut trees on these peaks and loads of trees round the slopes. However, there are 2small forest meadows, full of flowers. As we descend slowly towards Nestos, we find wild vegetation, which becomes denser. Then, we drive through the cultivated fields and the natural scene changes - Mikroklissoura is on the road.

A little bit further, there is a narrow road, across the right side of Nestos, which reaches the settlement of Perasma. Just after Perasma, we find a small grove of bloomed mulleins and we can go there, only via a rugged earthen road. Here is being built a little church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary - named the Liberator. Unarmed people, who passed this place - during the Second World War - vowed to build a church, in case the Virgin Mary to help them go back homes safe and sound (September of 1944) – after being hostages for six months by the Boulgarians, in retaliation to their defeat on Papades Bridge. Close to the country church of Virgin Mary, the Liberator, we find a path, which passes through the forest and reaches the place «Tilia». At the end of this path, we realize that we made a circle of 2km. The earthen road ascends from the water cistern, however it has south 3direction and reaches the forest road, which links Volakas with Livadero (or Touloubari, too) – passing through the north foothills of Falakro. We have to use a vehicle of four-wheel drive, feel optimistic and ready for adventure.

The road from Perasma – via the new built, imposing bridge – leads to the other side of Nestos, to Potami village. It is a picturesque, lakeside place - because of the hydroelectric Dams of Thisavros - and it has 276 dwellers. People call Potami – from the Prehistoric Times - as «a significant crossroad of different cultures». Recent excavations (2004-2005), revealed interesting structure relics of the Post Roman Times and the Early Christian Times. There is guestroom in the village for visitors4 and nice taverns. We find Potami on the right side of Despatis River, just before its confluence with Nestos. Nowadays, this confluence has turned into a lake. There is a branching road along the left side of Despatis. The left branch is directed towards Delta village and has a few dwellers. The right branch of the road reaches Despatis confluence, where we find Melissomandra stream (Malousta). Then, the road reaches the unexplored «Despatis Cave». At the rivers’ confluence (Nestos – Despatis), they have been appropriately exploited the area, in order to make more attractive the church of Agios Rafail (Saint Rafael). There is a pedestrian, bridge – constructed of metal and wood - which links both sides of Despatis. There is also a small bridge, which links both tributaries of Despatis. There, we find an appropriate place to have fun or get some rest. We also see some people, who fish kokkinofteres (red-wing fish).

We drive from Potami to Mikromilia of 30 dwellers– 38km far from Nevrokopi and 79,5km far from Drama. 5There is a guestroom here, named «hunting haunt». So that it attracts mostly hunters. In Mikromilia, was created the first cattle holding of biological beef production, which still works today. We can reach6 Mikromilia via Papades village (a community of Sidironero) and then, with the central provincial, rugged road – which is only for good drivers.

On the 6th km of our route from Potami to Mikromilia, the asphalted provincial road, crosses with an earthen, the good one, as well (especially in the summer) - of north direction - across the flow of kaminorema (kamino-stream). First, this road passes through the oak and beech trees forests. After 9km, we see through the forest, trees of high, white boles and hanging limbs. These are the first birch-trees. After 3km, there is a left junction, which leads to Magoula location – according to the sign towards the forest worksite of Karyotis –which is full of birch trees (betula pendula). Here, is a real Birch Forest of 72,330 square metres. It is not unique only in 7Greece, but in the whole Europe also, because it is the most south part, in which this species are so extended. We realize how beautiful the place is, especially in the Fall. The unreal, colorful landscape is magnificent – because of the golden leaves of the birch trees. This forest is one of the protected areas of Natura 2000, because of its aesthetic and ecological value. We can see the forest worksite of Magoula, after an agreement of the Forest Service of Nevrokopi.

After the Birch-Tree Forest, we can take the main forest road to reach the village of Elatia.