Prespa Lake - an area of stunning nature and human sadness.

After several campaigns of ethnic purges: the aftermath of the Balkan wars, the 1920s, the Greek Civil war of 1947-49 the Slav speakers - Bulgarians and Macedonians - largely disappeared from Northern Greece. Their houses are sill there in ghost villages, the stories of survivors in remote pockets still untold.

The last wave of refugees from the area came in 1947-49. About 30.000 children in territories controlled by the Communist guerrillas in the north were forcibly removed across the Eastern Block. Others were sent to foster homes in the US, all victims of one the first conflicts of the Cold War. The return of Slav-speaking refugees to Greece has been extremely slow and painful, the return of confiscated property virtually non-existent.

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© Velislav Radev

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