KILKIS - HIDDEN BEAUTIES
Kilkis, which is also the capital of the prefecture, is a city rich in history which becomes a pole of attraction for those who love holidays close to nature. It is located in the north of central Macedonia, bordered by the mountains Paiko, Belles and Krousia, while it borders with Fyrom and the prefectures of Serres, Thessaloniki and Pella. The main areas of the prefecture are Kilkis, Axioupoli, Goumenissa and Polykastro. On the hill of Agios Georgios dominates the homonymous post-Byzantine church, from 1830, which has an amazing wood-carved iconostasis. The Cave on the hill adorned with impressive stalactites and stalagmites is the most important tourist attraction of the city. It has a rare decoration of coral material that gives it a special beauty. One of the most important sights of the prefecture of Kilkis, is the imposing Doirani Allied Monument, a monument to the victims of the First World War. Kilkis has an Archaeological, Folklore and War Museum with remarkable exhibits but also important places of worship.
Skra is a small village of Kilkis 4 km from Skopje and is located on Mount Paiko. The village is of great historical importance as one of the most important battles of World War it was fought there, known as the Battle of Skra. It includes one of the most beautiful lakes in Greece, the emerald lake. The lake is created by waterfalls and owes its turquoise waters to fossilized organisms at its bottom. A rope, tied by a tree, hovering above the small lake, helps visitors to enjoy its emerald waters by making fun dives. Lake Kerkini, 10km. southeast of the village of Ano Poria, is one of the only rich wetlands in Greece and one of the most important in Europe, attracting international ecological interest. It is protected by the Ramsar Convention and is part of the European Natura 2000 Network. It hosts many species of mammals such as jackal, wolf, wildcat, otter, etc., 30 species of fish, mainly eels and about 300 species of birds.
At the base of Mount Belles lies Lake Doirani, which is an important and protected wetland, and has been included in the Special Protection Areas, as it provides shelter to 36 rare bird species. The fish that live in the waters of Doirani are the carp, the gulianos, the platitsa, the perch, the pike, etc .. The beach of the lake is planted with trees and there are playgrounds, basketball, volleyball, football and other facilities for the visitors. The vegetation around the lake is dazzling, while in the northeast is the forest "Thousand Trees", of Mulberry, which has been characterized as a natural monument, with oaks, white willows and plane trees to compose a beautiful landscape. After the forest at the foot of Mount Belles, is the seasonal waterfall of Mouria at Ano Sourmena, near the tri-national. On the lake, is the Museum that was established in collaboration with the Goulandris Museum and the Hellenic Center for Wetlands, which is a treasure for nature and its Greek identity.
At a distance of 15 km from the city of Kilkis is the Gynaikokastro with the ruins of the Byzantine castle built in the 14th century. Goumenissa is famous for the traditional architecture, the abundant waters, the delicious wines and the unique "Bronze" of its self-taught musicians and is an attractive destination. Through the narrow streets with the old houses is the folklore museum with the wonderful exhibits of folk tradition, on the road to the neighboring village of Griva. At a distance of 8 km from Griva is Kastaneri, a beautiful mountain village surrounded by a wonderful forest of chestnuts and beeches, full of trails and unique views. Europe is an important archeological destination, with findings from prehistoric times. The ancient city of Europe belonged to the cities of Lower Macedonia. Important finds of the area are the gold bracelet of the box-shaped tomb and the gold wreath kept in the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
One of the most important sights of the prefecture is the Balkan Botanical Garden of Kroussia located near the sources of the French river. It is one of the youngest botanical gardens in Europe that entered the "Natura 2000" network as a protected area. The environment of the Garden is rich in native plants (about 700), but also from waterfalls, artificial lakes, landscaped paths, streams, observatories and meadows. The route of the French river also combines the natural beauties and the intense relief that a cyclist is waiting to find.
The route has a length of 40 km, passes through 7 villages of Kilkis, and crosses the French river and its tributaries in 4 different places. Pikrolimni is located 22 km from Kilkis and 31 km from Thessaloniki famous for its healing properties as the bottom of the lake consists of clay. There is a Pilotherapy Hospital on the lake and there are also sources of mineral water.
Axioupoli is a town in the prefecture and owes its name to the Axios river. Attractions include the Natural History Museum, the library, the Great Stream, the Mine Lake and the Statue of Liberty. At 15 km is the 2 km long artificial lake also known as "Mine Lake", ideal for trout fishing, rest and nature activities such as canoeing and kayaking. Polykastro is a town in the prefecture where the cemetery of the English soldiers from the battles of the First World War is located. Polykastro took its name from the many castles and fortifications that the allies had during the First World War.
The local cuisine is intensely multicultural with Pontian dominant. Homemade pickles, cheeses and pasta, carp, cow's milk and sausages are some of the local products. In the area of Goumenissa, which is a center of wine production, the Xinomavro and Negoska varieties are remarkable, as well as the spoon sweets.