Mount Parnassos is located in central Greece and extends through the prefectures of Viotia, Fthiotida and Fokida. To the northwest it joins the Giona mountain while to the south it connects with Kirfi mountain. With the highest peak being at 2,457 meters at Liakoura, it is one of the tallest mountains in Greece but also one of the most beautiful, full of Kefalonian fir trees with dense vegetation and rare natural beauty that appeals to visitors all year round.
Mount Parnassos in mythology and history
Like Mount Olympus, Parnassos is a mountain inextricably linked to Greek mythology and the history of the country. At the foot of Mount Parnassos is the most important oracle of Ancient Greece, the oracle of Delphi, the religious center of the ancient Greek world, which was dedicated to Gaia and Apollo. To this day, Delphi, referred to as “the navel of the world”, is a magnet for thousands of tourists globally.
Parnassos is also associated with the myth of Deucalion. When Zeus decided to destroy the human race by causing torrential rain, then Deukalion, following the advice of his father, Prometheus, boarded a ship with his wife Pyrra to escape. On the tenth day the ship is said to have ran aground on Mount Parnassos, where Deukalion made a sacrifice to Zeus to recreate human kind.
Another version states that after the deluge, the inhabitants of the city founded by the hero Parnassos, son of Poseidon, were led higher up the mountain, following the cries of wolves, to escape. There they built a new city which they named Lycoria, today’s Arachova, which means the cries of wolves. Throughout history, Parnassos was the stronghold of Greek tribes in southern Greece, holding up against invaders from the north. The mountain played an important role in the Greek Revolution of 1821, as great battles took place there between Greeks and Turks, mainly in the battles of Alamana and Gravia.
The Parnassos National Park
Parnassos provides a complex ecosystem, which has a wide variety of landscapes and biotopes. In order to save, improve and boost flora and fauna, to preserve geomorphological formations, along with the simultaneous development of tourism and the increased awareness of visitors, Parnassos National Park was founded in 1938.
The park consists of extensive flora and plant species of particular scientific importance. The flora of the area includes more than 600 species, which belong mainly to the category of aromatic, medicinal and poisonous plants. The forest vegetation is dominated by the Kefalonian fir tree, black pine and deciduous oak trees.
The fauna consists of animals common in Greece, such as foxes, badgers, hares, squirrels and other species of rodents as well as insectivores. Jackals, wild boars and ferrets are rare, while wolves and deer have just about disappeared from the area. From birds, one can find partridges, woodpeckers, ring ouzels, alpine accentors and in regards to reptiles the Mediterranean turtle, the wild lizard and viper can be seen. Outside of the dense forests, vultures, eagles and smaller predators appear -unfortunately- in small numbers. Most of them are protected species.