Mount Parnonas

Mount Parnonas extends along the southeastern Peloponnese, from Doliana and Vervaina in Arcadia to Geraki in Laconia. Parnonas, a predominantly mountainous area which has an altitude of 1.935 m and a length exceeding 100 km, is characterised by extensive forest landscapes and rich biodiversity, legends and traditions, monasteries, castles, old mills and historic villages. The main mountain extends along approximately 45 km. The highest peak is named Megali Tourla (1.935 m), while ten other peaks exceed 1.500 m. This is one of the oldest areas of Peloponnese which, similar to Taygetos, has been isolated for a very long time.

Geologically, Parnonas belongs to the zone Gavrovo-Tripoli and consists mainly of limestone with extensive karstic formations. The terrain is generally mild. The steep slopes are few; nevertheless some impressive gorges occur in Parnonas, like the gorge of Leonidio.

On the slopes of Parnonas coniferous forests grow, with the black pine (Pinus nigra) and the Greek fir (Abies cephalonica) being the predominant species. In the northern part of the mountain lies the only region in Europe where Juniperus drupacea (Syrian juniper), a species of Asian origin, can be found. In several places, large areas of chestnut forests originating from chestnut grooves occur.

The fauna is particularly interesting from a geographical and ecological point of view. More specific, the avifauna of Parnonas is extremely rich and includes birds that live permanently in the region, such as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the black kite (Milvus migrans) and the ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus).

The main land use in the region is forestry, followed by grazing and extensive farming, practiced mainly in a traditional manner. According to the program CORINE LAND COVER 2000, 88,1% of the area is covered by forests, 38% of which is occupied by coniferous species (mainly black pine and Greek fir but also aleppo pine). Most of the area and all forests belong to the Greek State.

The broader region of Mount Parnonas and Moustos Wetland is a Site of Community Importance (SCI GR2520006) - Oros Parnonas (and area of  Malevi) of the NATURA 2000 Network, according to EU Directive 92/43/EEC (Habitats Directive). Also, according to National Law 3044 (Gov. 197/A/27.08.2002), the area falls in the responsibility of the Management Body of Oros Parnonas and Moustos Wetland.

Last update 05/11/2010