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Doirani lake - Charming but decadent


"Until 1986 we all used to swim in the lake along with our children, we didn't even know what the sea was like. People used to come from nearby villages on carts, tractors or on foot, to swim and fish. The waters were very clean, there were no sewage or trash, both Greeks and Yugoslavs were very careful. During World War I, English soldiers used to wash their wounds in the lake's water, because they believed it was thermal water and it would heal their wounds".

The beach is desolatedDoirani's village in the front, FYROM's mountains in the background.

Dimitris Ntenas is one of the few people who were born beside Doirani lake and he never left. The small hotel that he owns near the lake's banks survives thanks to the few truck drivers who cross the borders with FYROM, and the few Greek military officers as well.

A few kilometres away, in a patisserie in Mouries town, two pieces of cake and a glass of orange juice used to cost only four euros. The kind waitress had a sad tone in her voice: "We no longer go on excursions to the lake's banks with school, like we used to because the beach is desolated and there is also mud all over the place. The distance from the village to the lake is now longer as if a magical hand pulled the lake away".4

The residents saw their lives start to unravel in 1986. Due to a huge drought, Greek and Skopjan authorities pumped water from the lake in order to irrigate the crops in Chalastra's fields, 80-90 kilometres away. However, the canals were grassy, the ruts broke and the water never managed to reach its destination. The water was lost and all that was left behind was destruction. 

It was a total catastrophe for all the Greek and most of the Skopjan villages around the lake, once filled with tourists. The lake's level fell from ten to two and a half metres and all the fish and the mussels suffocated to death.

The cleanest in Europe

The Greek state has always had a problem concerning the management of the water. It either flows in the gorges of Mpeles  and nobody cares enough to direct it to Doirani, which is right beside it, or it makes the Kifissos river overflow and 'drowns' entire neighbourhoods in Athens. But even though Doirani is fading away, it is still the cleanest lake in Europe and enchants whoever looks at it.

Tourists don't go to Doirani, but travellers and naturists do. They walk on the thick layers of dead mussels, they kneel before the tombs of thousands of soldiers who died in Balkan wars, they taste carps that only eat grass, and they break the frozen surface of the water in winter, to help the few fish "breathe".


A small oasis at the banks of the lake. Beside, though, the mud is in excess. A small oasis at the banks of the lake. Beside, though, the mud is in excess.


*Mandatory Fields


Athens - The brand new "Stavros Niarhos" Cultural Cente…

The "Stavros Niarhos" Cultural Center enchants numerous visitors. The "heart" of the center is the amazing building of architect Renzo Piano. The complex is surrounded by a huge garden and a water canal for sailboats.

Syrrako, Ioannina - A pleasure for the eyes

Vlach village at the tops of Tzoumerka with a rich history and traditional houses of a unique architecture.

Acropolis Museum, Athens - This is the home of the Parthenon Marb…

It houses only half of the marbles of the Athenian Acropolis. The rest were stolen years ago and are held by the British Museum in London.

Oia, Santorini Island - A miracle of folk architecture

A village which is "nailed" upon the vertical rock of the volcano’s crater. The settlement is traditional and building arbitrariness is strictly forbidden.

Constantinople (Istanbul) - Zografeion Greek High School

The graduates of Zografeion are a Greek core of enormous cohesion that can never be broken. They withstand the persecutions, because they draw strength from one another.

Amari, Rethymnon, Crete - Small feast under the locust tree

At the almost southernmost part of Greece, beside the Libyan sea, there are peaceable and religious people who still find the simplest ways to have fun.

Thessaloniki - At the arcades after sunset

When the sun sets, the arcades around Aristotelous Square are almost deserted and look like a nostalgic old dark "labyrinth".

Nicosia, Cyprus - A patisserie in the Dead Zone

In Nicosia, Cyprus there is a traditional patisserie next to the fortification sacks and barrels that separate the free from the occupied part of the city.