Taygetos, one of the largest Greek mountains is 2407 m high
and 40 km long. It is located between the provinces of Messinnia and Laconia and
stretches from the Megalopolis plateau to the Tainaro cape. The Taygetos and
Parnon mountains are the two most ancient areas of the Peloponnese.
The mountain got its name after nymph Tayget, the daughter of
Atlas. The mountain has five peaks and its other name if "Pendadaktilos"
(five-fingered). One of these peaks is well known for its pyramidal shape and
can be seen from the side of Sparta as well as from Kardamili.
The high peaks of Taygetos, such as Profitis Εlias,
Xerovouna, Neraidovouna, Zitali and others are usually covered with snow and the
alpine zone is located on this height. But at the same time some sparse dolomite
rocks are also found here.
Taygetos has rich flora and fauna but unfortunately in spite
of many efforts it is still not a national reservation as it should be. The
Taygetos flora numbers about 160 Greek endemic plants out of which 28 exist only
The Taygetos fauna is rich in reptiles as well as in birds
and mammals. Today its fauna includes 85 species of birds, 19 species of mammals
and 33 types of reptiles.
On Taygetos there are many gorges and ravines, such as the
Rindomo ravine and the Viros gorge.
It is not at all accidental that the famous tortoise caret-caret
has chosen the clean and pure Selinitsa shore (between Githion and Trinisa) as a
place to lay eggs.
On Taygetos many beautiful caves were found. In the interior
of some of them fossil animals have been discovered that existed about 2 million
years ago. A lot of different reptiles and mammals such as snakes, scorpions and
bats find their shelter inside the caves.
Many metals and different sorts of marble as well as
construction stones were mined on Taygetos in old days. They include for example
the red marble or rosso antico as Romans called it from the Maniot village of
Dimariotika (Dimaristika), the Serpentitis marble from Laconia, the Maniot white
The majestic Taygetos Mountain dominates the area, while the
Tainaro cape of the Maniot peninsula is the most southern point not only of
Greece but also of the whole European continent. The deepest point of the
Mediterranean (4850m) is located 62 miles to the southwest of the cape.
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