The huge limestone massif of the White Mountains towers over western Crete and is characterized by its bare peaks, plateaus and gorges. The latter, of which there are more than ten, cut through the mountain chain from north to south; the most important is the Samaria Gorge which, like a gigantic wound severs the massif into two, creating the most majestic gorge in Europe. Since 1962, the region of the gorge and the peaks which surround it have constituted the Samaria National Park, an area of breathtaking botanical richness, since it is home to almost five hundred different species of plant, many of which are endemic to Crete and to the gorge. Another jewel of Samaria is the agrimi, the wild goat of Crete, which lives and reproduces in freedom within the boundaries of the national park. This book, with its pleasing description of the region and its history, is illustrated with detailed maps and a wealth of photographs, giving particular emphasis to the natural environment of Samaria, a locality whose unique beauty, wildness and majesty have been celebrated like no other; it has been awarded the European Diploma (first class) for Protected Places, and characterized by UNESCO as a "Biosphere Reserve".
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