Psiloritis Unesco Global Geopark

Psiloritis is connected with the birth and activity of immortal gods. At the glacis of mountain Idis, Rea hunted by Saturn, hid Zeus and the mythical goat Amalthia nurtured the king of Dodecatheon. Here, Kourites with the growl of their shields covered the cry of the little god that was meant to become the father of Gods and people. Above the table-land of Nida at Idaion Andron was the center of worship of the Cretan born Zeus. Deservingly, the cave was characterized as the Vithleem of ancient times. According to the ancient myth, Zeus disguised as a bull, crossed over the river Litheos and transferred Europe to the island of Crete ending up to ancient Gortina. Here is the labyrinth; the cave where in its rambling corridors lived the infamous Minotaur. The copper giant Talos was assigned by king Minoa to protect the island of Crete from any intruder. The mythic creature is linked with the mountainous bulk of the Talea Mountains that spread north of Psiloritis. Gerondospilios of Melidoni was the worshipping place of Talaios Hermes. The sacred mountain from the era of the first residence defines the fate of humans that are fed with myths and form history.

PSILORITIS’ GEOTOPES

The monuments of the Earth and the geotopes of Psiloritis are widespread throughout the area. They comprise unique rock formations, fossil sites, spectacular landforms, caves and many other karstic structures, faults and folds in the rocks, which are important sources of water for the natural environment, constituting elements of interaction between human, rocks and landscape. All together they constitute the history of the Earth and man on Psiloritis. Many of these geotopes are close enough to each other that they are able to reconstitute a small part of the mountain’s history. Others have similar geological and physical characteristics, where one complements the other, and together they constitute an overall view of Psiloritis. For all the above reasons, but also for reasons of displaying them to better effect, several geotopes have been grouped together in individual sub-areas. These sub-areas are the “Talea Ori section: a 250 million-year journey in the past” at the Kouloukonas mountain, the “Psiloritis Karstic Landscape” up in the Psiloritis peaks, the “From Mountain to Plain” at the eastern and southern borders of the mountain, the “Amari cliffs” in the Amari valley and the “Speleopark” which comprises all the important caves of Psiloritis Natural Park. Finally, some special or isolated geotopes, which for several reasons have not been included in the sub-areas, occur as individual sites. This subdivision of the most important geotopes of Psiloritis Natural Park will be followed in the subsequent presentation. Most geotopes are easily accessible through the existing road network, some only through hiking trails, whereas some others have been included in a network of walking routes. Information panels already exist at several sites while several others are scheduled to be set up by the Natural Park or the Local Authorities.

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