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Sounio National Park

The National Park of Sounio was founded in 1971. It lies on the southeastern edge of Attica, in the area which is commonly called Laureotiki and ends up at the cape of Sounio. It is comprised of about 4,000 hectares, of which the 500 are the nucleus of the park where the established order of conservation is absolute. 

The decision for the establishment of this specific park was taken after having co-assessed that the ecological, historical, geological and paleontological value of the area. That is the pine forest of pinus halepensis which is the prevalent vegetation of the park was (and to a certain extent continues to be) the most extensive and well-preserved pine forest of eastern Attica. The overland section of the area is an example of a Mediterranean landscape.

The three main types of Mediterranean ecosystems of the country can be discerned, that is the Mediterranean pine forests, maquis (continental and seaside) and brushland. Prevalent in the arboreal maquis is the holm-oak (Querqus coccifera) which is subjective to intensive grazing. In the area there are mines and places of archaeological and paleontological interest.

The importance of such a forest for the microclimate of the wider area of the urban sprawl of capital is obvious. Also, the flora of the national park although not sufficiently studied, is of special interest. Two types are closely endemic of Laureotiki, that is belong only to this area, which are Centaurea laureotica and Centaurea attica ssp. asperula. The flora of the national park includes many other Greeks endemics. Also, more that 260 minerals have been collected in the area, some of which are completely unknown to science. This exact variety of minerals favored the development of a unique mining “industry” during ancient times. 

The area of the national park is interspersed with caves and other karstic formations. These formations functioned as traps for a variety of organisms in a variety of geological ages resulting in the creation of fossils at a high frequency which have been discovered mainly in the north of park. From the plant fossils of interest is the fossilized samples of Pinus maritime and Quercus suber, a species of western Mediterranean which do not have living representatives in our country and fossils Pinus nigra and Buxus sempervirens, species which are today restricted to areas of high altitudes. 

From the animal fossils a species Spalax was found which today does not exist in Greece, Ursus arctos which has become extinct from southern Greece and Cervus elaphus which does not exist if Laureotiki any more. Apart from the national park, a larger area, which includes the park, has been designated as a region of singular natural beauty and cultural heritage. "

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