Neda: a mythical river.

Neda: a mythical river.

The Neda Gorge is the natural boundary between the prefectures of Ilia and Messinia. Neda owes its name to Greek mythology: a nymph who first held the newborn Zeus in her arms. Neda’s long journey starts in the springs of Mt. Lycaeon and ends at the sea in the Kyparissiakos gulf. Walking along the river, or even a small part of it, promises views of spectacular waterfalls, sunless gorges and deep pools of blue waters. The middle stretch of the river is lost for awhile in a natural tunnel where hundreds of bats reside. Along the way at former crossing points little stone bridges have survived and a few mills that made use of the power of the water. The oak, wild fig trees, thick reeds and proud poplars characterize the region and all visitors will be impressed by the large blue dragonflies (Odonata galopteryx) flitting in the dense foliage. The waterfalls, the outsized white rocks and the ecosystem of the region all complement the rich vegetation.

The river is only accessible during the summer months as the remainder of the year the water is so violent that it makes any attempt at crossing impossible. The most direct and easy access Neda is from the village of Platania, where a good dirt road leads to the stone bridge. From here the path starts near the chapel of the Holy Resurrection close to the village of Neda and ends at the village Karyes. The river Neda and the sea finally blend together on the vast sandy beach of the Gulf of Kyparissia. In the warm sand, loggerhead turtles (Caretta-Caretta) have laid their eggs for thousands of years. One of the largest populations of loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean has placed its hopes for survival in this sandy bay.

 

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