Definitions

Pindus

Pindus

[pin-duhs]
Pindus, Gr. Píndhos, chief mountain range of Greece, extending c.100 mi (160 km) S from the Albanian border through NW Greece. Mt. Smólikas (8,650 ft/2,637 m) is the highest peak. The Pindus are a continuation of the Dinaric Alps but have a lower limestone content than the Dinarics. The steep western slopes of the Pindus intercept moist westerly winds, causing a rain shadow on the gently sloping eastern side. The sparsely populated range is rich in timber and in wildlife.
This article is about the mountain range called Pindus; for other uses of these names; see Pindus (disambiguation)

The Pindus (Πίνδος) mountain range is located in northern Greece. It is roughly 160 km long, with a maximum elevation of 2637 m (Mount Smolikas). Because it runs along the border of Thessaly and Epirus, the Pindus range is often called the "spine of Greece". The mountain range stretches from near the Greek-Albanian borders in Northern Epirus, entering the Epirus periphery and Macedonia region in northern Greece down to the north of the Peloponnese.

Wider geographical context

The Pindus range is the southern part of a large arc of mountain ranges spanning southeastwards from the Alps, via the Dinaric Alps, and includes the Šar-Korab massive, Pindus, Parnassos, Chelmos and the rest of Peloponessus, having its southern extreme in Mount Taigetos.

The cordillera system then continues by the southern Aegean islands of Kythera, Antikythera, Crete, Karpathos and Rhodes, as well as many islets around the larger islands. The mountain system comes ashore again at the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey.

Population

There are many villages in the Pindus, one of them being Samarina, which boasts one of the highest elevations in Greece. Many of the villages such as Perivoli include communities of Aromanians (Vlachs), originally shepherds and farmers. In the last decades, a number of villages, such as Metsovo, developed into touristic resorts with ski facilities.

Transportation

As of 2006, the east-west crossing on the road can be done via the Greek National Road 6, a sinuous road which climbs high in the mountains. A highway, Via Egnatia, named after an ancient Roman road in the region, is currently under construction and when finished, this highway would make crossing the mountains by road much faster.

Nature and wildlife

The Pindus ecoregion covers a wide range of elevations and habitats, from deep canyons to steep mountains. The wide range in altitude results in two major forest zones:

Large breeding colonies of herons, spoonbills, egrets, and pelicans fish the cool waters of the mountain lakes of the Pindus Mountain Conifer and Broadleaf Mixed Forests ecoregion. This is one of the few areas in Europe where the rare Dalmatian pelican can be found. Wolves, jackals, and bears are found in the forests.

Ecology

The forests of this ecoregion have faced many threats over the course of human history, including overgrazing, agriculture, and deforestation. The greatest threats now come from the development of mountain tourism and ski resorts. Because of the instability of the soil on steep mountains, road-building and clear-cutting operations have led to dangerous landslides and the collapse of mountain slopes. Mining for bauxite, overgrazing, and over-collection of plants are also threatening the great biodiversity of this ecoregion.

See also

References

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