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North Central Greece

north greeceThis area includes most of the huge plain of Thessaly on the southern end, where cotton, grains and tobacco are cultivated.

To the east of the plain is the Pilio Peninsula, a unique area with villages of stone houses in steep mountain forests, where there are many fruit and nut trees from which come a large percentage of Greece's apples, cherries, and nuts.

Predictably, all of the human activities that plague coastal areas near large urban centers (draining for construction and agriculture, dumping, hunting, etc.) has wiped out a lot of these areas and the rich wildlife that they supported, though a many remain such as Lake Kastoria.

Lake Tavropoulou

Lake KastoriaThis large natural freshwater lake, at 620 meters (2033 feet) almost surrounds the town of the same name, which is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Greece, and sits on a peninsula that juts into the lake.

The name of the town comes from the Greek word for beaver, 'kastori', a mammal once found in great numbers here but wiped out by the fur trade, the beavers in the area driven to extinction by the 19th century.

dalmatian PelicanFur is still big business in this town, though, with various kinds of fur imported from Canada and Scandanavia.

Though Kastoria's lake has suffered in recent times from drainage for cultivation and pollution, it still has a good bird population.

Both white and Dalmatian pelicans come here, among many other wetland birds, and there are birds of prey in the surrounding hills which are wooded.