In the village of Kanalia near Lake Karla, the Museum of Lake Karla’s Civilization offers precious insight on life around the lake before it was drained, how the livelihood of the inhabitants was compromised, and what opportunities exist for its future.
The museum was recreated out of the abandoned cinema theatre that was also used as an almond processing plant and then a storeroom. Today it offers a multi-use space that enables visitors to travel back to a time when communities lived off a very healthy lake that produced much fish.
If you ask for a guided tour of the museum (English or Greek) you’ll be impressed by the symbiotic relationship that the fishermen had with the lake and how the communities around it thrived. The narrator at the museum tells a fascinating story of customs, traditions and tales that revolve around the lake and its people. He also highlights the catastrophic consequences that the draining of Lake Karla – or ancient Lake Voivis – brought to the area, an economic experiment that went very wrong.
A sizeable photo exhibition exists on the museum’s walls that also reveals the lake’s story and the people who are around it. The museum also highlights the hope that the restoration efforts of the lake, with the help of EU-funded programs, will support the regeneration of the local economy. Today Lake Karla is being reborn, and the efforts must continue. The museum is an excellent place to learn about it and support this cause, demonstrating to the locals that people are interested in its natural beauty and the possibilities it brings such as ecotourism.