The Turkish organization "Association of Back to Nature Youth and Sport Club" and the Bulgarian partners from Green Balkans celebrated the European Green Belt Day 2023 in the Turkish part of Strandzha Mountain

Sep. 27, 2023
With a series of events, the two NGOs celebrated the European Green Belt Day in the border areas of Strandzha. The celebration had a purpose to populaze the European Green Belt international initiative, which covers territories with preserved nature, life and culture. Due to the limited access to the border areas falling on both sides of the former "Iron Curtain" from the recent past, these areas have preserved their authentic appearance, and at the same time remain little known to the general public. Traditionally the European Green Belt Day is celebrated in a number of countries covered by the Initiative in the period 18-24 September with a series of events.

In this regard, in the period 22 - 23.09., the partners visited the territory of the “İğneada Floodplain Forests National Park”, where the event was hosted by representatives of the Park Directorate. In the Information Centre of the Park in the small town of İğneada, the participants presented in detail the international initiative and the benefits of joint nature conservation on both sides of the border. The Director of the Park Mr. Zafer Kemai personally told the guests details about the lakes, floodplain forests and biodiversity on the territory of the Directorate. The bird watchtower, hiking trails in the Park and camping sites were also visited during the event.

For their part, the guests from Green Balkans presented the Information Center of the Park, pair of realistic models of Lesser Kestrels, made within the project “Life for Lesser Kestrel” LIFE19 NAT/BG/001017, implemented by Programme LIFE of the EU. The exhibits immediately found their place in the permanent exhibition of the Center, where the guests will be able to be acquainted with one of the rarest birds of prey distinctive of the border regions of Bulgaria and Turkey.

Given that this year, the focus of the Green Belt Day celebration, was on the fertility and the harvest in the border areas (which was also celebrated earlier with a Fertility Festival in Bulgaria), the participants also visited the traditional bazaar of local foods, drinks and other homemade products located in front of one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Kirklareli region - the Dupnitsa cave. In the peculiar discussion, the representatives of Green Balkans and the Agriculture University - Plovdiv in Bulgaria, which  were also participants at the event, told about an extremely interesting plant - Crimean tea. In Bulgaria, it is very rare and protected by law, while in the southern parts of Strandzha it is quite common and is a popular herb for making medicinal tea. The traditional ways of preparing food and drinks on fire were also demonstrated on site, various recipes from the area, and last but not least the warm hospitality of the local people!