Sightseeings :: Agios Achillios
The island of Agios Achilleios is situated on Lake Mikri Prespa. The few permanent residents of the island are employed in fishing, cattle farming, agriculture and tourism. Prior to 2000 the island was accessible only by ¡plava¢, the characteristic wooden boats of the area. Since 2000 a pontoon footbridge has served as a crossing for both residents and visitors alike. The bridge also offers pedestrians the unique experience of being able to watch rare bird species and admire the amazing view of the area from the lake. The island of Agios Achilleios hosts the church of the same name. The Basilica of Agios Achilleios was built after 983 or 986 by Tsar Samuel of the Bulgars in order to house the relics of Saint Achilleios, bishop of Larissa, which the Bulgarian troops had brought after their conquest of the city. The church was founded as an Episcopal church, housing the See of the Bulgarian Patriarch for a short time, after his transfer from Edessa. After the restoration of Byzantine rule to the area, from 1018 and on, the church continued as a bishopric until the first decades of the 15th century. During the celebration of Agios Achilleios¢ name day, a church service is still carried out in the basilica.
The monastery of the Virgin Porphyra dating from the beginning of the 16th century is, likewise, a remarkable religious monument to visit. The ¡Prespeia¢ festival also takes place on the island every year in August, during which many famous Greek and foreign artists take part in an extremely popular concert.