Gala Lake, also known as Paddy Lake, is located between Enez and Ipsala districts of Edirne. Alluvials carried by the Evros River for thousands of years have created a unique ecosystem for both forest and lake life in the region. The area, including Gala Lake, was declared a nature reserve in 1991. The boundaries of the area, which was 2,369 hectares, were increased to 6,090 hectares in 2005 and were renamed Gala Lake National Park.
The lake, the most important wetland of the Delta of the Evros River, has an area of about 8 square kilometers. The average depth varies between 70 and 80 centimeters seasonally. The lake’s main source of nutrition is the Evros River. The region is an important wetland area for migratory birds between Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Many waterfowl also stay here during the winter months due to their temperate climate. About 20 fish and more than 150 bird species, mainly carp, cranes and eels, were found in the lake, which is 10 kilometres from Enez. It is also a shelter for rare birds such as white-tailed eagles, crested pelicans and small cormorants.
Like all lakes in Turkey, Gala faces threats. Nitrate and phosphate-containing water spilled from paddy fields after irrigation causes plants in the lake to grow larger and faster. Rapidly growing plants are also causing the lake to dry out. The ancient city of Ainos must be visited before heading from Enez to Gala Lake. It is possible to travel by boat between the reedbeds and reach every corner of the lake by signing with a fisherman who knows the area well.