Prefecture of Drama: Tourism-Modern life
The Prefecture of Drama lies to the east of the Prefecture of Serres and borders the Prefecture of Kavala to the south and southeast, the Prefecture of Xanthi to the east and northeast, and Bulgaria to the north. The prefecture is well-known for the verdant mountain ranges, the water springs, the rare flora and fauna. The morphology of the natural terrain is mostly mountainous. The mountainous regions cover 63,5% of the area, the semi-mountainous 25,30%, while plains are located only within the triangle formed by Drama-Prosotsani-Kalabaki and represent the 11,2% of the entire area. The mountain range of the prefecture comprises Mount Rodopi, Mount Pangaion and Mount Phalakro. The capital is the town of Drama, famous for its water springs at Agia Varvara. The town is built at the foot of Mount Phalakro and overlooks the plain.
The population of the prefecture according to the 2001 census was 103,975. After a period of decline due to emigration, caused by a crisis in the industry and the shrinkage in agricultural economy, an 8% increase of the population has been recorded in the prefecture of Drama during the last decade. The prefecture is divided into eight municipalities (Drama, Kato Nevrokopi, Prosotsani, Nikiforos, Paranesti, Doxato, Kalampaki, Sitagri) and the community of Sidironero. All the main administration services, the health authorities, athletic and education facilities are in the capital of the prefecture. There is a modern hospital and athletic centres (indoor gymnasium, swimming-pool and sports fields). Moreover, the School of Agricultural Technology with the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management of the Technological Institute of Kavala is based in Drama.
The main touristic attractions of the prefecture of Drama are the places of natural beauty, such as the forests and the caves, as well as the local customs and religious monuments. There are many options for the visitors, namely:
- cultural tourism (Archaeological Museum of Drama, district of Agia Varvara at Drama)
- religious tourism (the monastery of Ikosifinissa at Mount Pangaion, the post-Byzantine church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary at Livadaki in Kato Nevrokopi, the three-aisled basilica of Agios Nikolaos at Perithori)
- ecotourism (the Elatia forest with the forest village, the virgin forest of Frakto, the Rodopi mountain range, the rivers Nestos and Aggitis, the cave Maara, the gorges of Petroussa and Aggitis)
- agrotourism (numerous farms has been involved in agrotourism in recent years)
- athletic tourism (the Prefecture provides opportunities for extreme sports and activities such as snowboard and ski at the ski centre of Mt Phalakro, gliding at the take-off site in Pyrgi-Petrousa at an altitude of 1,200 m, rock-climbing and trekking, following the European long-distance path E6 which passes through the Prefecture of Drama from the west, in Kato Vrontous and ends in the area of Parnestios, traversing Mt Phalakro)
The Park of Diurnal and Nocturnal Predatory Birds in Agora in the prefecture of Drama, situated in a breathtaking natural environment, offers the opportunity to watch spectacular flight shows of birds.
The prefecture is accessible from Thessaloniki via a road network or the railway, from Kavala by boat and by airplane at the airport "Alexander the Great" in Chrysoupoli. The prefecture is connected with Bulgaria by the road passing from the Exochi customs post.
The touristic facilities include hotels in Drama, Nevrokopi, Volaka and other smaller units to provide accommodation throughout the entire region. There are also four mountain refuges on Mt Phalakro managed by the Mountaineering Association of Drama.