Traveler's Guide

East Macedonia & Thrace

Protected areas – preys' shelters -Municipality of Paranesti-Preserved Natural Monuments


It is situated in the northeastern part of the prefecture of Drama, below the highest peak of central Rhodope in 1,953 meters. One of its feature is the existence of a virgin forest that is the only one in the country and is considered as the most important of its kind in Europe. Logged as virgin (area of 11,000 acres.) In 1979 and immediately in 1980 it was declared as a protected monument of nature, because of the great plant geography, ecological and historical value. From then until now it is under full protection, since there is no human activity allowed except scientific research. It is virgin, because evolution has followed the rules of nature and not disturbed by humans for at least 500 years. Certainly, with the word virgin we do not mean that there was no human presence and activity, but that the mild human impacts so far did not affect the character of the undisturbed forest ecosystem. The format of a virgin forest differs from the common forests, because in the virgin forest exist various kinds of broadleaf and coniferous of early age and small height but also aged or dried trees, wich are quite tall. The visibility is low because of the dense vegetation and is impassable due to fallen trees. In virgin forest the possibility of meeting a wild animal is great, because they belong to large populations and not fear our presence, since they are accustomed to human disturbance.
Circumferentially of the virgin forest there is a wider protective zone that is called Forest of Fraktos. In the peripheral zone, the forest resemble the forests of Central Rhodope and is partially protected, as grazing and hunting are prohibited, while the production of wood and forest recreation are allowed. The operating center of the forest is the forestry construction site of Frakto which is located 8.5 km prior to the virgin.
The fauna that appears in the Virgin Forest is very rich in species and in numbers. The region is one of the most important Greek mountain ecosystems, with the appearance of almost all species living in Greek mountains. It is evident that the fauna lives and moves in the entire forest of Fraktos. The wide range of altitudes in the forest, that starts from 780 meters and ends in the Virgin Forest at 1953 meters, through dense wooded slopes, together with the appearance of ravines, steep slopes and grassland areas (higher altitudes) create the necessary conditions for the existence of numerous species. In cluster of Frakto more than 100 bird species are reproduced, among which several are included in Community Directive for species that need special protection measures. At the same time, mammals are also rich. In the wider region of the cluster live at least 32 species of mammals, and all the rare species of Greece and Europe are among them. The extent of the virgin forest is very important for the existence of most of these species.
From an aesthetic point of view the forest of Frakto is distinguished for its characteristic and unique beauty. Bold geological formations in the central part of the area along with many screes give the place roughness and wildness that eludes the usual forest landscapes. The "Achladorema", along with its streams crosses the forest, forms six stunning waterfalls and adds the necessary aesthetic element, the water. The landscape of the area is embraced by rich vegetation with wide variety of evergreen and deciduous, coniferous and broadleaf that offer many shades of green, while in the autumn colors are impressive. Also, the existence of wild fruit trees and shrubs, as well as the number of wild flowers fill the landscape with proportional aesthetics. In the Virgin Forest, of course, the landscape is characterized by virgin vegetation. The height of the trees, the forest structure and density of vegetation present an unusual landscape to the visitor. In general, the forest of Frakto it is a unique monument of nature, at least for the Rodopi mountain range. The existence of the virgin forest, the combination of the biological and geological formations with rich vegetation and fauna are a complete forest landscape that is considered one of the most beautiful in our country.

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