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National Park of Parnitha

The mount Parnitha is the highest mountain of Attica and has one of the densest forests in Greece. In its forests what dominates is the fir tree - Abies Cephalonica at an altitude of 800-900m, while on north and southwest slopes extensive forests of pine trees are developing. Besides the fir trees, there are hollies - Quercus coccifera, oaks, arbutus and cedars- Juniperus oxycedrus, while at more wet grounds Osrtya carpinifolia, planes, poplars, Populus alba etc. The last thirty years, many pine trees-Pinus nigra, and acacia, but also some cedars of Lebanon and lindens Tilia sp., have been planted in the area of the fir trees. Of course, there are heaths (Mediterranean maquis), which occupy large areas of land, mainly at the north side.

Parnitha’s flora is one of the richest throughout Greece. More specifically, 1100 kinds of plants exist in Parnes and they are spread to small or bigger areas of the mountain. The flora of Greece consists of 6000 kinds of plants, so Parnes’s flora makes up 15% of the whole flora of Greece. There are also two scarce endemic species, Kabanoula - Campanula Celsii and the wild clove - oligantha. With the term “endemic species” we mean the plants that exist and reproduce naturally only in one place. Greece has 92 endemic species. They are very important because they give us information about the past and the ecological factors. They usually germinate in little soil, on steep rock crevices and they achieve to live in adverse weather conditions. Species under threat are the yellow lily and the white peony.

Moreover, 29 kinds of mammals have been recorded at Parnes, among them the deer - Cervus elaphus, which holds a prominence. Some more are hares - Lepus europaeus, foxes - Vulpes Vulpes, badgers - Meles Meles, ferrets - Mortes foina, jackals - Canis aureus, squirrels - Sciurus vulgari, hedgehogs - Erinaceus concolor etc.

Bird population is especially remarkable. Until 1997, it is estimated that there were 131 kinds of birds. However, in 2011, 82 endemic and migratory kinds of birds were recorded based on survey of Hellenic Ornithological Society. Some of them are the Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nisus, Peregrine - Falco peregrinus, Fieldfare - Turdus pilaris, Nuthatch - Sitta europaea and Eagle Owl - Bubo bubo.

In 1961, an area of 3,800 hectares in the mount Parnitha was declared National Park due to its environmental value, its need of protection and a sustainable forest management.Parnitha has been chosen to join the European network of protected areas "Natura 2000".

There are many beautiful paths to go hiking through the whole year. Some of them will lead you to magnificent and charming scenery. In general, short or longer trips can be arranged. This depends on the time that you have at your disposal and the level of your physical fitness. It’s high time you visited the mountain! A trip can fill you with energy and unwind mind and body. Moreover, we should not forget that mountain hiking is not only entertainment but also a beneficial exercise, a lifestyle that can teach us to protect nature and enjoy its beauties.

© 2014 - All rights reserved. The photos taken by photographer Athanasios Benisis are registered and copyrighted. Use in any form (web, paper publication, public exposure, etc.) is strictly forbidden without the written permission of the photographer. To contact with photographer please use his intro page Hellas on TrekEarth.

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Additional Photos by Athanasios Benisis (Hellas) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1200 W: 175 N: 1268] (6747)
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