Troodos National Forest Park – A Haven Of Wildlife And History

The Troodos National Forest Park is located at the centre of Cyprus, covers an area of 9337 hectares and hosts invaluable plant and animal habitats. Many villages maintaining local culture, tradition and customs can be found scattered all over the Troodos range.

The Troodos forest occupies the heart of the range and includes its highest peak, Mount Olympus, which is also the highest peak on the entire island. The area was designated a National Forest Park in 1992 in an effort to safeguard it’s rich plant and animal life and to research the values and functions of the area, be they ecological, scientific, recreational or economic.

To say that Troodos is rich in wildlife would be something of an understatement, with the area featuring 770 plant species, 12 of which are exclusive to the Park; that is, they can’t be found anywhere else in Cyprus or indeed, the world. The Park constitutes the main habitat in Cyprus for many plant species, such as the wild service tree, cotoneaster and barberry. As a result of these characteristics, Troodos is considered a botanical heaven and has been classified among the most important mountainous habitats of flora in Europe.

It’s not only plant life that brings people from all over the world to visit Troodos however; animal life in the Park is also rich and of high conservational value. The warmest seasons of the year see various reptile species appear, including the blunt-nosed viper and the Mediterranean chameleon. Several mammals can be found in the Park too. A casual visitor to the north and west parts of the Park is the rare – and scarcely seen – Cyprus mouflon, while the fox and hedgehog, which both live in the Park, have evolved to an indigenous subspecies, most likely due to the long periods of isolation in the habitats of Cyprus. Bats can also be found in large numbers in Troodos, setting up home in the old buildings and mines that are strewn across the Park.

The bats aren’t the only species enjoying the old buildings situated in the Park, however. Tourists from all over the world come to the Park, not only enjoy the wildlife but to discover 12th to 15th century churches, winemaking villages and pine forests, as well as some monasteries dating from the Byzantine period. Quaint villages offering shops and bakeries and a laid back alpine atmosphere are also just waiting to be found by travellers visiting the Park.

Seeing all there is to be seen at Troodos National Forest Park can be a challenge, but with hiking trails covering a total of 50 kilometres as well as mountain cycling opportunities, roaming around the Park will certainly be an adventure. So, whether you hike, cycle or simply go for the option of car hire in Cyprus, the Troodos National Forest Park in particular, won’t fail to impress even the most jaded traveller.

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