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Limassol salt lake, Photo: Augusta Stylianou Artist

Limassol salt lake (also known as Akrotiri salt lake) lies due south-east of the sprawling city of Limassol and measures 10.65 square km. Its lowest point is 2.7m below sea level and at its deepest point the water depth measures 1m. [1] Geologists hypothesize the lake was formed over the gradual joining of an offshore islet off the southern coast of Cyprus. [2]

The lake itself is considered to be one of the eastern Mediterranean’s most important wetlands. The fact that the water level over 50% of the lake is less than 30cm deep attracts thousands of wading birds to use it as a stopover during the migration seasons. Birdlife International estimates that between 2,000 and 20,000 Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) spend the winter months on the lake. [3]

The lake lies within the boundaries of the British Sovereign Base Area of Akrotiri, an area governed by the UK under the conditions of independence set out in 1960. In 2003 the British military caused controversy by erecting two gigantic antennas as part of their espionage network in the Middle East.[4] Local and European environmentalists fear the proximity to this fragile ecosystem could have a significant impact on wildlife. [5], [6], [7]

Limassol salt lake, Photo: Augusta Stylianou Artist

References

  1. ^ Σημαντικές Περιοχές για τα Πουλιά της Κύπρου (Important areas for the Birds of Cyprus), by Ζώτος Σάββας. Birdlife (Cyprus) booklet publication
  2. ^ School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton University, UK [1]
  3. ^ Birdlife International [2]
  4. ^ Britain got ‘one-time-only’ deal on antennae (Cyprus Mail archive article - Friday, December 3, 2004) [3]
  5. ^ EFGP 3rd Congress, Berlin, Germany, 17-19 May 2002 Adopted resolution Cyprus: British military antennas. [4]
  6. ^ Birdlife Cyprus Newsletter [5]
  7. ^ Ramsar mission report, Akrotiri Wetland Complex, Cyprus, 17-21 June 2002 [6]

Images Cyprus, Limassol District

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