Lake Mavrobara is located at a distance of 3 km from Polichrono village in Kassandra Halkidiki Greece, at an altitude of 300 meters. It is a place of significant ecological interest, as it accommodates 3 rare species of european water turtles: Testudo hermani boetgeri, Emys orbicularis and Mauremys caspica. Mavrobara lake is protected by international agreements and considered a natural monument. The lake can be reached by following a mountainous path (hiking route to Mavrobara lake) which starts from the central road, outside Polichrono village. Someone can go there on foot, by mountain bike or on a jeep safari. The area is full of plants and trees and accommodates many different species of animals, like frogs, birds, insects, lizards and tortoises.
If you visit Mavrobara lake you 'll have the chance to see the turtles swimming and diving in the water. In the area, one can also discover many hiking routes, small churches, and some old trees. There are signs that lead you to the lake from Polichrono village. To find the starting point of the route, heading from Thessaloniki towards Polichrono, on the main road, go past the traffic lights in Polichrono and turn right, following the road that goes up the hill.
Historical facts, name and greater area
The lake was named "Mavrobara" from Polichrono residents, as they called "bara" a place full of water in a small area. "Mavro" means "black", from the color of its waters, as the trees create shadows on its surface. According to tradition, the lake is connected by an underground stream, with Sani beach. It is said that a shepherd threw his crook inside Mavrobara lake and it was later found on Sani beach.
The lake has a depth of about 10 meters and the area it covers is around 200-300 square meters. Mavrobara lake was created from geological subsidences over the years. The area around the lake is covered in lush vegetation, forming a landscape of wild beauty. In the glade just before the lake, there is a stone made spring and wooden benches, built for resting.
Testudo hermaniboetgeri turtle is mostly active at daytime and at around noon, when the sun is too hot, it returns to its hiding place. Its shell has a diverse color pattern, with yellow and dark patches that make a contrast with each other. The are fed mainly on plants. Females deposit 2-12 eggs into holes they dig in the soft soil. These turtles' lifespan is around 30 years.
Emysorbicularis species has a shell of brown color with a hint of green, spotted yellow. These turtles eat a mixed diet of plants and animal matter and their lifespan varies between 40-60 years.
Mauremis caspica turtles have dark colored shells. They lay 4-6 elongated white eggs in the spring or sometimes at fall. They feed on insects, amphibians, small invertebrates, and a variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants
Tip: You 'll have the chance to see the turtles better and closer if you throw a little bread in the lake. You will see them swim towards you, trying to catch it.