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Parnitha National Park

The area constitutes the nucleus of the Parnitha National Park and spans over the highest parts of Mount Parnitha. It is a wooded area noted primarily for its spreads of the endemic Kefalonia fir (Abies cephalonica) on relatively poor and dry soil, for temperate coniferous-tree forests (mainly consisting of Pinus halepensis), maquis, mountainous grasslands, rocky hills, springs and streams. Two main vegetation zones can be discerned in the area. One of the Kefalonian fir (at 600-800 m or above) consisting of Abies cephalonica forests, Quercus ilex formations, also harbouring Q. pubescens, Fraxinus ornus, as well as other Mediterranean bushes at high elevations; and the other of the zone Pinus halepensis and hard-leaved evergreen shrubs which either occur on their own or form a sub-level in pine forests. The area has been designated as a National Park since 1961.

The Parnitha National Park commands particular ecological interest and can constitute a reserve for the protection and preservation of Southern Greece's flora and fauna. The Parnitha flora is one of the richest in Greece, boasting 818 recorded plant species, certain among which are endemic or listed as critically endangered. The area’s fauna includes many species protected under law both at national and international level. Indicative is the fact that Parnitha is the only area in Southern Greece where the red deer (Cervus elaphus) still survives. Parnitha’s proximity to Athens, coupled with its great aesthetic and ecological importance advocate its importance.

Area: 20,000 hectares

URL: www.parnitha-np.gr

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