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Municipality of Farsala - Environmental reserve

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Christos Karagkounis - Vasso Noula
Αgronomist M.Sc. - Archaeologist
Municipality of Farsala

 

SECTION A - ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIFICATIONS OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF FARSALA

1. VEGETATION ZONES - FLORA
2. FAUNA
3. WATER RESOURCES
4. CLIMATE

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SECTION B - SPECIAL PROTECTION AREAS IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF FARSALA

1. FARSALA AREA
2. PLAIN OF THESSALY
3. LANDSCAPES OF PARTICURAL NATURAL BEAUTY
4. NATURAL HABITAT OF THE FARSALA AREA
5. AESTHETIC FORESTS

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SECTION C - LOCATIONS OF NATURAL BEAUTY IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF FARSALA

1. ENIPEAS RIVER
2. APIDANOS RIVER
3. HAIDARIA
4. CAVE KARAPLA
5. CAVE VASILOTRYPA
6. ALBANIAN MONASTERY AREA IN ASPROGEIA
7. POSITION "KARAGIOULI" IN KASTRO KALLITHEAS
8. FOREST OF CHALKIADES
9. FOREST OF AMPELEIA
10. FOREST OF VASILIKA

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A. SECTION

1. Vegetation zones - Flora

   The municipality of Farsala belongs to the paramediterranean vegetation zone (Quercetalia pubescentis, hilly sub-mountainous region), subzone Ostryo-Carpinion and growth space Coccifero - Carpinetum, which dominates the greater part of the Thessalian plain. The vast growth of Prina (Quercus coccifera, commonly yew) presented in this zone is mainly due to the great strength of the briar to grazing, fires and other harm, as well as its great rooting and stubbing capabilities.
   Crops like cotton, wheat, barley, corn and vegetables dominate most cropland areas.
   Several water streams in the area, which are mostly of the spatial type, are dominated by trees, oaks, poplars and willows.
  Plants and sand flowers spruce up and embellish the inner-river environment of Enipeas river offering unique beauty to visitors.

 

2. Fauna

      In the wider area of the Municipality of Farsala, important settlements exist for the nesting of the Kirkinezi (Lesser Kestrel-Falco naumanni).

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The lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a globally threatened species of small raptor birds. It is included in Annex I to Directive 79/409/EEC on the "Conservation of Wild Birds.'' The lesser kestrel lives close to man and likes to nest inside holes in the tiled roofs of buildings in lowland settlements. It hunts in open areas where large insects, especially locusts, are in abundance. The most important alterations to lesser kestrel's habitat are:


• The demolition of old houses and changing the way of new constructions, especially concerning the roof.
• Intensive farming, as well as the overuse of pesticides and insecticides.
• The lack of foraging sites and the food availability limiting.

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Other important birds that can be encountered in the Municipality of Farsala are the stork (Ciconia ciconia) and the long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus).

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The stork, like the lesser kestrel are contained in Annex I to Directive 79/409/EEC "About the conservation of wild birds." It nests on the roofs of houses, churches and poles. A large proportion of the storks are becoming victims of electric shock.

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The long-legged buzzards lives in hilly open areas with bare stony slopes.

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This is the typical large predator found in the foothills of the lowland area of the Thessaly plain. It feeds on lizards, snakes, small birds, large insects, and small mammals.

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Also, in the Municipality area one is expected to encounter various reptiles, small birds, rodents and insectivore species of lizards (Hemidactylus turcicus, Cyrtodactylus kotschyi: gecko), but also mice and bats inside and around buildings, as well as amphibians or turtles in water tanks and dry pits.


Mammal species found in this region are  populations of otters (Lutra lutra), mainly in Enipeas River, populations of rodents (mice species of the genus Mus, Apodemus) and insectivorous ( of the genus Crocidura). Carnivorous mammals are represented mainly by the weasel (Mustela nivalis), the badger (Meles meles), the wolf (Canis lupus) and fox (Vulpus vulpus).

The fauna, which occurs in the above habitats is significant, not only in terms of diversity and abundance, as in its presence in the form of isolated populations within larger areas. Those areas, where conditions imposed by human activity and particularly the agricultural use of land does not allow the existence of evenly spread population.

 

3. Water reserve

The Municipality of Farsala is part of the wider catchment of the river Peneus (GR 16). It consists of many tributaries, streams and watercourses that flow into the Peneus, with the most important tributary being river Enipeas.

There are variations in water potential of the municipality, from region to region due to differences in natural, geological, morphological and climatic characteristics of each one.

In the northeastern part, mild terrain, small rainfall, small woodland which is mainly bushy, as well as the geology of the area, has resulted in the existence of low water potential.

In contrast the central part, dominated by the river Enipeas, as well as in in areas with more intense terrain, the water potential is characterized as rich.

In recent years are encountered serious irrigation problems (needs that remained unmet), watering problems, referred mainly to water quality (nitrates etc.) and alarming environmental problems resulting from overexploitation of groundwater resources.

 

4. Climate

The City of Farsala is characterized by continental climate. In the region, the prevailing winds are easterlies, as they are encountered over 9 months a year, from February to October. These winds are generally of low intensity.

The average temperature ranges from 5,30oC in January to 26,70oC in July, while the average annual temperature is 15,98oC.

The days of rain amount to 110.8 days per year in the region. The rain occurs generally as precipitation of layered clouds, means patient and persistent. Especially during the months of May, June, July, August and September rains appear and violent storms form because of the passing of cold fronts, with values ranging from 2.9 to 5.2 days / month.

 

B. SECTION

1. The area of Farsala

Within the boundaries of the Municipality of Farsala two important protected areas of the network Natura 2000 are institutionalized:
• The Special Protection Area (SPA) under the name "FARSALA AREA" and code GR1420012.
• The Special Protection Area (SPA) under the name "THESSALY PLAIN" and code GR1420011.

The Natura 2000 network is a European ecological network of areas that provide home to natural habitat types and habitats of species that are important in European level. It consists of two types of areas:
1. the "Special Protection Areas - SPAs" for birds as defined in Directive 79/409/EOK "About the conservation of wild birds" and
2. the "Sites of Community Importance - SCI", as defined in Directive 92/43/EEC "About the conservation of natural habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora."
  

The Area of Farsala consists a Special Protection Area (SPA) by Natura 2000 with code GR1420012. It occupies a total area of 4,928.54 (hectares), with a maximum altitude of 533 m., minimum 113 m. and average 241 m.

It is an important breeding ground for the globally threatened Falco naumanni (Kestrel). One more species of interest is the Buteo rufinus (Long-legged Buzzard).

perioxh farsalwn

To have a satellite view of the area click  "here".

 

2.  Thessaly Plain

The region of the Thessaly plain, which includes part of the broader Municipality of Farsala is a Special Protection Area (SPA) by Natura 2000 code GR1420011. It occupies a total area of 95,596.12 Ha (hectares), with a maximum altitude of 725 m., minimum 65 m. and average 197 m.

It is an important breeding ground for the endangered species Falco naumanni (Kestrel).

 perioxh thessalikou kampou

To have a satellite view of the area click "here" .

 

 

3. Highly valued natural beauty landscapes (HVNBL)

According to research by the National Technical University for the creation of a data bank for Greek Nature, which has been named FILOTIS the rural area between Farsala and Larissa is designated as landscape of outstanding natural beauty (TIFK) with code AT3011122. It is both part of the Farsala and Kileler municipalities. It occupies a total area of 29,275.43 Ha (hectares).

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   This is a purely agricultural area, cultivated almost exclusively with cereals and legumes. Although the area is part of the wider region of the Thessaly plain, it is not flat. There are a number of very low hills with gentle slopes.

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Travelling on a route between Farsala and Larissa, one can have a panoramic view of the deep sides, unobstructed by tall vegetation, buildings, networks or anything else. The area color changes seasonally from green grass in the winter and spring to gold in summer. It is a very pleasant route, especially in the spring with the limitless green, which brings a kind of catharsis for the visitor.

topia fusikou kallous

To have a satellite view of the area click "here".

 

4. Farsala's Natural Habitat Area

According to the National Technical University of Athens, around the city of Farsala the area called "Area Farsalon" is identified, with sort code AB3080136. This is a natural habitat covering a total area of 7086.7 acres, with a maximum altitude of 369 m and a minimum of 150 m. The condition of the landscape is degraded under steady state conditions. Vulnerable species of flora with special ecological value, such as the remarkable plant Agrostemma githago thessalum (Field Crown the Thessalian) are identified there.

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viotopos farsalwn

To have a satellite view of the area click "here".

 

5. Aesthetic forests

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South of the city of Farsala lies the scenic Farsala's Forest (PD 02/24/1977 (FEK103/D/1977), covering a total area of 345 acres.

Farsala's Forest occupies the northern slopes of Prophet Elias hill, dominated by the homonymous chapel at the hilltop, where the strong walls of ancient and Byzantine Pharsalus are being preserved (see the link "Chronology").

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It mainly consists of pine and cypress trees as well as islets of natural vegetation. It is characterized as a suburban grove and it is an important recreational area for residents.

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It is one of a total of nineteen (19) aesthetic forests, which are classified as protected areas nationwide. According to ND 996/1971 (Government Newspaper A 192 06/10/1971) as aesthetic forests are defined "forest or landscapes having special aesthetic hygiene and tourist importance, and as such requiring the protection of fauna, flora and natural beauty."

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C. SECTION

1. Enipeas River

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An important natural landscape of the Municipality of Farsala is River Enipeas, which is ranked in the Corine habitats with code A00020007.

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 Enipeas is also known as Tsanarlis (in Turkish, meaning Platanos leaf) or Chiliadiotikos. It is the tenth longest river in Greece, with serpent-like shape and with a total length of 84 km it flows from the northern slopes of Mount Othrys and crosses the plain of Farsala, leading to the river Peneus, between the low hills and Titanos and Zarkos.

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It is bridged by many bridges, with the most important and valuable architecturally and aesthetically being the arched bridge under the street that connects Farsala and Larissa (immediately north of the town of Farsala in "Dendrakia"). It was built in 1752 by the late Ottoman governor of Thessaly Ramit Ahmet Pasha.

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According to mythology, as delivered in the Odyssey of Homer, Enipeas was the most handsome of the river gods and fell in love with Tyro, who bathed in its waters. The god Poseidon, however, saw Tyro and fell in love with her. Recognizing that Tyro will not accept his love, he deceived her by taking the form of Enipeas, joined with her and so she gave birth to the twins Peleus and Neleus.

Historically, the river's name is connected with two very important battles, one ancient and one of the modern period. In 48 BC beside Enipeas a battle took place between the Roman contenders for power, Pompey and Julius Caesar, and in modern times, on April 23, 1897, there was again a battle near Enipeas between the Greek and Turkish army (the famous "Battle of Farsala").

Etymologically, the name of the river comes from the ancient verb ?νιπάω -?, that means I am  roaring. Therefore, Enipeas was a river rich  in dynamically-flowing waters.

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 Today, the water state of Enipeas is degraded, tending to slow but continuous degradation due to pollution from agrochemicals and urban sources and for this reason it should be put into "priority protection". A major problem is the vast decrease in its flow rate during the summer months, a fact that causes a significant burden on the quality of its waters.

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The river Enipeas was, until recently, an important natural wetland for the presence of mammals Lutra lutra (otters) which are subject to legal protection regime and threatened by hunting, farming and the drying of the river.

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The river gets staggered in places, however it flows ragingly elsewhere, in places where there are no rocks and narrow passages and the slope of the terrain is flat, the river bed spreads and flows smoothly, with no perceptible flow. In addition, the fauna and flora of the river is interesting, varying from region to region.

 

2. Apidanos River

Apidanos river originates in the northwest of the city of Farsala, from the foot hill of Agia Paraskevi. Its flow was north-south in direction and after turning to the west, was then joining Enipeas. It stopped flowing in late 1970s.
It constituted a place of recreation, both for locals and for foreigners as well.
The sources area of Apidanos is called "Tampakos." This name prevailed during the Ottoman era. It is derived from "Tampak-Chane", referring to the tannery, which also existed in the area.
Herodotus wrote that Apidanos's waters quenched the thirst of the numerous army of Xerxes as he was crossing ancient Farsala.

 

3. Haidaria

Haidaria is located south of the acropolis of Farsala. It is obscured by dense trees and crossed by a small stream, known as "Chaidarorema." It is an area of exceptional natural beauty and on its side-river axis the Municipality of Farsala is about to develop a walking trail.

4. Cave Karapla


 Cave Karapla is located in the  Alogopati area of  Karapla mountain, 1 km southwest of the city of Farsala. This is a huge cave, which was situated on the ancient road that connected Thessaly with Fthiotida and which also stood in ancient times as sacred to the Nymphs and Pan.
 The entrance of the cave, a narrow strip, which can be crossed only on foot, is paved just a few meters above the base of a rock.

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 The entrance of the cave, a narrow strip, which can be crossed only on foot, is paved just a few meters above the base of a rock.

For the cave's history, see the link "monuments."

 

5. Cave Vasilotrypa in Vrysia

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The cave Vasilotrypa is located south of the village Vrysia of Farsala. The entrance to the cave is situated at an altitude of 355 meters and measures 5 meters long and 2 meters high.

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It consists of a series of large rooms, with a total length of about 200 meters. The ceiling height in some places reaches 8 meters.

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In several places there are drip columns, covering the walls of the cave.

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The most impressive thing one can gaze at the cave, are the thousands of bats that live there. In addition, there is existence of rock art on its walls, indicating that the cave was once inhabited.

This cave calls for further research and study by biologists, cavers and archaeologists.

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6. Tekes Ntourbalis Sultan (Asprogeia)

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In the settlement Asprogeia of the local community Eretria Farsalon, on the eastern edge of Farsala, in an idyllic landscape a monastic complex of the Ottoman period rises, which belonged to the Order of Bektashi dervis. Today it is a listed monument.

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The position in which the Tekes was built was considered the most beautiful in the area, as it is on a hill with trees, cypresses and oaks among the wheat fields of the plain and the adjacent rocky hills.

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7. Kallithea Castle (position Karagiouli)

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'Karagiouli", at the foot of "Kallithea Castle" near the modern homonymous village, is an idyllic location crossed by the waters of a stream, flowing down from the mountain, shaded by tall trees and adorned with a picturesque two-arched, marble, traditional fountain. On the top of the mountain, at an altitude of 618 m., the ancient city of "Perioikidos Achaias Fthiotidas" Pefma was built. The city stands at a crossroads crucial point, as it controlled the passage from the valley of Enipeas to the plains of Almyros.

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     The river Enipeas flows over the base of the hill on three sides giving the landscape a rare and unique beauty.

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From the regional dirt road that hugs the base of the mountain, begins a path leading east to the eastern gate of the ancient citadel 'Pevma ", with a total length of about 1,000 meters. In this path, the Municipality intends to create projects that include the removal of vegetation (yews), the lateral delimitation of the trail and its marking, as well as the creation of a leisure area with kiosks and picnic tables at the start of the pathway in "Karagiouli". This project will be designed with the mildest possible intervention and with respect for the archaeological and natural environment of the area.

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8. Chalkiades Forest

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n Ano Chalkiades lies a grove of oaks and spectacular flora, where visitors can relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the valley, the surrounding hills, mountains and villages. In the area there is a shop serving beverages.

Generally, the area of the forest of Chalkiades is available for cultural events and school excursions.

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9. Ampeleia Forest

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o the southwest of the local community Ampeleia lies a forest composed of dense oaks.

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10. Vasilika Forest

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To the west and east boundaries of the local community Vasilika two small forests of pine, cypress, oaks and yews can be found.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Επιχειρησιακό Πρόγραμμα Δήμου Φαρσάλων για την περίοδο 2011-2014
2. Μπουρογιάννης Γεώργιος, Ενιπέας το θεϊκό ποτάμι, Λαμία 2004
3. http://www.farsala.gov.gr/
4. http://filotis.itia.ntua.gr/home/
5. http://www.ypeka.gr/
6. http://www.tedklarisas.gr/index2.php
7. http://www.neomonastiri.net/2010/02/blog-post_16.html
8. http://fysiolatres.blogspot.gr/2009/04/blog-post.html
9. http://www.panoramio.com

TEXTS:

CHRISTOS KARAGOUNIS - VASSO NOULA

PHOTOS:

VASSO NOULA

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It mainly consists of pine and cypress trees as well as islets of natural vegetation. It is characterized as a suburban grove and it is an important recreational area for residents.

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