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Vai

The area consists of the palm forest of Crete which has already been designated as an "Aesthetic Forest". It is the largest area of palm trees (Phoenix theophrastii) existing in Crete in contrast to other areas (about 10) where there seem to be clusters of trees or a few individual trees but not a whole forest. It lies on the eastern tip of Crete next to the sea, a little further north from the village Palaeokastro. The palm forest of Vai is enclosed. In the enclosed area there is a small spring and stream with Nerium oleander at its bed. On its eastern end, towards the coast, there are sandhills which lend themselves to the growth of palm trees.

This site is very important to all of Europe due to its uniqueness. Nowhere else in Europe is there a forest with Phoenix theophrastii. This species is one of two non epigenetic species of the palm family in Europe (the other one is found on the Canary Islands). The Vai Forest is the biggest palm forest in Greece and perhaps also in the whole of Europe. Individually isolated Phoenix theophrastii have been found in southwest Turkey.

Area: 19 hectares

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