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Skyros is located almost in the center of the Aegean Sea among the Sporades group of islands. Skyros is mountainous, having two distinct mountain ranges in the north and south respectively. The northern part of the island contains several dense pine forests, with successive hills leading to the highest northern peak, Olympus. The southern part of Skyros is dominated by the mountain Kochylas.
Skyros is hard to reach by sea and perhaps as a consequence has retained the unique architecture so highly praised by Le Corbusier. The rich natural environment of the island was recently threat¬ened by a huge wind turbine project proposed for the Natura protected area on the south of the island. The local community successfully resisted this proposal, with the assistance of environmental NGOs such as the Hellenic Onrithological Society and ELLINIKI ETAIRIA (Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage).
The northern part of Skyros is related to the natural landscapes that are encountered in the Sporades group of islands and the northern part of Euboea, while its southern part resembles the landscapes of southern Euboea and of the Cyclades. Thus Skyros displays an unique variety of natural landscape.
On the steep cliffs of Mount Kochylas and the nearby islets, are nests of Falcon (Falco eleonorae), a migratory falcon that is a globally threatened species.
Rare endemic plants such as Aethionema retsina, Campanula merxmuelleri, Centaurea rechingeri, Scorzonera scyria, Aubrieta scyria, Galanthus ikariae grow in inaccessible rocky places, mainly in the southern part of the island. These species exist in small populations, they are protected through Greek and European laws while some of them are considered to be found on Skyros and nowhere else, worldwide.
On uninhabited islets around Skyros and on Skyropoula island live and reproduce protected seabirds such as Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea), the Shearwater (Puffinusyelkouan), the Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) and the Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii). These islets shelter many birds especially during the migration period. There are also recorded appearences of Monk Seals (Monachus monachus). Another resident of the islets is the endemic Skyros Lizard (Podarcis gaigeae). Southern Skyros has been for centuries the natural habitat of the indigenous breed of Skyros horses (Equus cabalus skyriano), unique in the world today, considered to be under threat of extinction by the European Union.
It should be also mentioned that Chora, the Saracen island, the area of Ormos Kalogrias, Atsitsa and a neighbouring pine forest have been designated as Landscapes of Outstanding Natural Beauty according to Greek legislation.
The ENtopia project should assist in preserving Skyros’ authenticity and the outstanding beauty of its nature and architecture.
22_Black Eared Wheatear
27_Black Winged Stilt2