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Alonnisos

A: Is the only habited island of the Park. The usual entrance to the Park is that used by the shipping lines bringing visitors to Patitiri, the largest community on the island. Patitiri with a population of about 2000 inhabitants today, used to be a harbour for the mountain village of Alonnisos (today Palia(Old) Alonnisos), where the existing wine presses for the production of grape juice and wine, gave it its name "Patitiri" which means wine press. The population of Alonnisos moved to Patitiri after an earthquake in 1965 which made most of their houses uninhabitable. Patitiri is the administrative centre of the island and all public services are based there. The village of Roussoum Gialos and Votsi lie north of the harbour. Organized boat trips from Patitiri take visitors to neighbouring beaches as Milia, Chrisi Milia, Kokkinokastro, Lefto Gialos, Megalo & Mikro Mourtia, Agios Dimitrios etc. and on day trips to permitted islands in Zone A.

There is an asphalt road network mainly in the south of the island. Leaving Patitiri in a westward direction, the road leads up to Palia Alonnisos. There is also a footpath for those wishing to walk (20 minutes from the harbour). The scenery here is completely different with narrow roads, narrow paved streets and stone houses in a fortified arrangement for protection against raiders, mostly pirates. The dwellings on the edge of the village have fortified walls and small windows on the outward facing side, doubling as a perimeter wall. There is a striking view of narrow rocky caves and the open sea on all sides. Unfortunately, earthquake damage is evident, although restoration work has begun lately, especially by private owners of the houses. Sections of the old fortifications, well-preserved threshing floors and several churches complete the picture.

Towards the north east part of the island lays Steni Vala. The small natural harbour is a refuge for fishing vessels and pleasure craft. With its picturesque view of the surrounding hills and the island of Peristera and abundant fresh fish - as was once the case in all of Alonnisos - it is an attractive summer seaside holiday area, with accommodation available in the village. The Rescue Centre, run by Mom-HSSPMS, which cares for wounded and orphaned seals and reintroduces them into the wild, is to be found here. The bond between mother and young, as for all mammals, is vital for the survival of the pups. Often, mainly due to bad weather conditions, pups are separated from their mothers. In such cases, they may be saved by human intervention.

After Steni Vala, newly constructed asphalt road continues north, ending at Geraka Bay and the Biological Station of the Park. During the drive, the view of the neighbouring islands of Peristera and Dio Adelphia is spectacular. In good weather conditions the islands in ZONE A are visible. The northern part of Alonnisos is inhabited only by a few shepherds. Continuing northwards, the macchia vegetation becomes progressively sparser. To the sides of the road, farmers' dwellings may be seen, some with old oil mills - remains of a forgone way of life. Reaching the area called Diaselo, the large white building of the Biological Station in the distance, indicates the end of the route.

The purpose of the creation of the Biological Station is to support scientific activities related to the study of the monk seal and in general, the ecosystem within the Park and acts as a centre for scientific meetings. In the future, it may be also be used as an exhibition and public information centre. The station is equipped to host at least 12 scientists and has a laboratory, freezer for preserving samples and a conference room. A resident keeper with his wife is employed to take care of and maintain the building.