Olympus national park

Vikas Acharyaa
In 1938, Olympus, the highest Greek mountain, the residence of the twelve ancient gods, was the first area which was declared as a National Park. About 50 years ago a special regime was enforced to protect this unique part of our country. The aim was the preservation of the natural environment; of the flora, fauna and natural landscapes, as well as of its cultural and other values. Scientific research had to be supported and people had to become aware of the environmental conditions. Furthermore tourism had to be developed in the wider area. Specific laws prohibit any kind of exploitation in the east side of the mountain, about 10,000 acres, which constitutes the core of the National Park. The wider area around it was designated as “peripheral zone of the National Park” so that its management and exploitation won’t affect negatively the protection of the core. The mountain’s highest peak, Mytikas, tops out at 9,573 feet (2,918 meters). The ancients called Mytikas “Pantheon” and believed it was the meeting place of the deities. The 12 gods were believed to have lived in the alpine ravines, which Homer described as the mountain’s “mysterious folds.”The village of Dion, on the mountain’s flanks, was a Macedonian holy city where King Archelaus (414-399 B.C.) held nine days of games to honor Zeus. Today Dion houses a remarkable archaeological site, where work is ongoing, and an archaeological museum in which much of the region’s rich Classical history is on display. In the summer the Olympus Festival includes performances at the ancient theater. Olympus is a Mediterranean mountain; summers are typically warm and dry and winters are wet. High elevations are typically covered in snow for a full seven months (November to May). During any season the climate is apt to change as one climbs—for each 100 meters of ascent the average temperature typically drops by half a degree Celsius.