The island of Euboea or Èvia, called by the Venetians Negroponte, is an island of 3658 km², with a population of approximately 218,000 inhabitants.
It is an island of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea, adjacent to part of the south-eastern coast of the peninsula, with the capital Chalcis, where the island is only 40 m from the mainland. It is the second largest island of Greece, as well as the sixth in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Corsica and Crete.
It is connected with the mainland by two bridges in Chalcis.
The etymology of the name Euboea has ancient origins and derives from the ancient Greek word “Euboia” (Εύβοια), which in turn can be traced back to the root “Euboe-” (Ευβο-) combined with the suffix “ia” (-ία) .
The exact meaning of the term is not fully understood, but there are some theories about it. One of the most accepted theories suggests that the name comes from the Greek “eu” (ευ), meaning “well” or “good”, and “boos” (βοός), meaning “cattle”. Hence, “Euboea” could be interpreted as “land of good cattle” or “fertile land for cattle”.
Another theory suggests that the name derives from “Euboea”, which was the name of a mythological figure in the Greek tradition. According to this theory, Euboea was one of the daughters of Asopus, a god of rivers, and therefore the name of the island could be connected to this mythological figure.
However, it is important to note that the exact origin of the name may still be a matter of scholarly debate, and there may be other possible theories or interpretations.
Geographic Features –
Evia Island is the second largest island in Greece, after Crete. It is located in the Aegean Sea, facing the eastern coast of mainland Greece, separated by an inlet called the Euripus Strait. Here are some of the main geographical features of the island of Euboea:
– Dimensions: Evia extends for about 180 kilometers from north to south and has a variable width from 6 to 50 kilometers. The total area of the island is approximately 3,655 square kilometers.
– Mountainous landscape: Much of the island is characterized by a mountainous landscape. The main mountain range, called the Euboean Mountains, crosses the island from north to south. The highest point is Mount Dirfis, which reaches a height of 1,743 meters.
– Coasts: Evia is surrounded by a long coastline, which extends for about 680 km. Its coasts are varied and offer a combination of sandy beaches, rocky coves and picturesque bays. Some of the more popular beaches include Eretria beach, Agia Anna beach and Chalcis beach.
– Rivers and lakes: There are several rivers that cross the island of Evia, the largest of which is the Lelas River. Also, the island is home to some small lakes, such as Lake Dystos and Lake Evvian.
– Nature parks: Evia is rich in natural beauty and is home to several nature reserves and national parks. One of the most important parks is the North Euboea Forest National Park, which covers a large mountainous and forested area.
– Main cities: The main cities of Evia include Chalcis (the administration of the island), Eretria, Aliveri, Karystos and Kimi. Chalkida, located on the Euripo Strait, is the capital of the island and is famous for its bascule bridge which connects Evia to mainland Greece.
– Evia island is a major tourist destination due to its natural beauty, beaches and mountainous landscapes. It also offers an opportunity for lovers of outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling and swimming.
Historical Notes –
The history of Euboea dates back to ancient times and has a rich mythological and historical tradition.
According to Greek mythology, Euboea was inhabited by the first colonizers from the continent, led by King Euboeus, son of Poseidon and Alcyone. The island was often associated with the goddess Artemis, as it was considered one of her residences. During the Mycenaean era, Euboea was involved in the Trojan War, siding in favor of the Trojans.
During the Archaic period, the island of Euboea became an important maritime and trading power. The cities of Chalcis and Eretria became the main city-states of the island and established colonies in different parts of the Mediterranean. However, the rivalries between these two city-states led to a series of conflicts and clashes.
During the classical period, Euboea was involved in the Persian wars. Eretria was destroyed by the Persians in 490 BC, while Chalcis collaborated with the Persian Empire. Subsequently, the island came under the rule of Athens during the Peloponnesian War.
After the classical period, Euboea was contested by various powers, including the Macedonians, the Romans and the Byzantines. During the Roman Empire, the island of Euboea became part of the Roman province of Achaia. Over the next few centuries, Euboea came under the rule of the Franks, the Venetians and the Ottoman Empire.
During the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century, Euboea rebelled against Ottoman rule. The island was liberated in 1830 and joined the newly formed Kingdom of Greece.
During the 20th century, Euboea suffered some damage during the 1953 earthquake and was involved in the resistance during the German occupation during World War II.
Today, Evia Island is a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque mountain villages and archaeological remains. Its rich and varied history has left a lasting impression on the island, which continues to be a place of great historical and cultural interest.
Euboea is the closest island to Athens, separated by a strait called the Euripus Strait. The island has a rich ecosystem due to its variety of landscapes, ranging from sandy beaches to mountains and forests.
The climate of Evia is typically Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot, dry summers. This climate favors a great diversity of flora and fauna on the island.
In the coastal areas, many sandy and pebble beaches are found, providing habitats for a variety of coastal plant and marine species. The waters around the island are rich in marine life, including fish, crustaceans and molluscs.
Within the island, mountain ranges are found, including Mount Dirfys, which is the highest peak on the island. The mountains are covered in deciduous and coniferous forests, providing shelter for numerous animals, including deer, wild boar, foxes and a variety of birds.
Euboea is also crossed by rivers and streams that nourish the vegetation along their banks. These wetlands provide habitats for waterfowl and specific flora species.
The island is also known for its caves, such as Agios Georgios Cave, which is a sea cave with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. These caves are ecologically important, as they are home to several species of bats and other cave-dwelling animals.
Furthermore, Evia was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1989, thanks to its exceptional biodiversity and unique landscapes.
Overall, the ecosystem of Evia is characterized by a great variety of habitats, from the coast to the mountains, from forests to caves. This diversity supports a diverse range of plant and animal species, making the island an important wildlife sanctuary in the Aegean Sea.
Euboea is characterized by a diverse and rich flora due to its varied topography, climate and geological formations.
The vegetation of the island is made up of a combination of Mediterranean, Balkan and Anatolian elements. Euboea is characterized by its mountainous terrain, dense forests and coastal areas. Here are some of the notable features of the flora found on the island:
– Forests: Evia is known for its lush forests, which cover a significant part of the island. Dominant tree species include pine (Pinus brutia and Pinus pinea), fir (Abies cephalonica), oak (Quercus spp.) and chestnut (Castanea sativa). These forests provide habitat for various animal species and contribute to the island’s biodiversity.
– Mediterranean shrubs: the lower slopes of Evia are covered with typical Mediterranean shrubs such as thyme (Thymus spp.), sage (Salvia spp.), lavender (Lavandula spp.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). These aromatic shrubs create a fragrant landscape and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
– Wildflowers: Evia is home to a wide variety of wildflowers, especially during the spring and early summer. You can find colorful blooms of orchids, anemones, tulips, poppies, daisies and many other species. The diverse flora creates a vibrant and picturesque scenery throughout the island.
– Coastal Vegetation: The coastal areas of Evia have unique plant communities adapted to the harsh conditions of salt spray and sandy soils. Salt tolerant plants such as sea daffodils (Pancratium maritimum), sea lavender (Limonium spp.) and sea holly (Eryngium maritimum) are common along the coasts.
– Wetlands and Rivers: Evia has several wetlands and rivers that support a diverse set of plant species. Reed beds, aquatic plants and wetland grasses provide habitats for various birds, amphibians and other wildlife. These areas are important for maintaining the island’s ecological balance.
– It is worth noting that the flora of Euboea, like many other regions, can be subject to change over time due to factors such as climate change, human activities and invasive species. Therefore, the current state of the island’s flora may differ from the information available up to my knowledge limit in September 2021.
Due to its geographical location, with imposing mountains and a variable climate, this island creates a great diversity of habitats which favors the presence of a rich fauna. Here are some of the more common animals that can be found in Euboea:
– Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus): The roe deer is a deer that lives in the forests and wooded areas of Evia. It is known for its elegant shaft-shaped horns and its agility in moving through the trees.
– Wild boar (Sus scrofa): The wild boar is a wild pig that inhabits the forests and scrub areas of Euboea. It is known for its long, sharp fangs and shy nature.
– Stone marten (Martes foina): The stone marten is a small carnivorous mammal of the mustelidae family. It is present throughout the island but is more commonly found in wooded and mountainous areas. It has a slim body, a long tail, and a distinctive face mask.
– Wolf (Canis lupus): The gray wolf is a predator that can be found in mountainous areas and remote areas of the island. It is known for its social spirit and its ecological role in the balance of ecosystems.
– Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis): The goshawk is a medium-sized bird of prey that can be found in different areas of the island. It has dark gray plumage with white bands on the tail and wings. It is an adept hunter and feeds mainly on small birds and mammals.
– White-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla): This large sea eagle can be seen along the coasts and wetlands of the island. It is characterized by its white plumage on the head and tail and brown colored body.
– Sea turtle (Caretta caretta): The waters around this island are the habitat of several species of sea turtles, especially the common turtle (Caretta caretta). These turtles migrate across the Aegean Sea and can be seen during the summer trying to nest on the island’s beaches.
These are just some of the animals that can be found in Euboea. The island is home to a variety of species including migratory birds, reptiles, amphibians and a diverse range of fish in its surrounding waters.
Furthermore, once famous for its numerous oxen (hence the name), today its breeding is concentrated almost exclusively on sheep.
Environmental Protection Actions –
The island is home to a variety of ecosystems, including mountains, forests, rivers and sea coasts, which provide a rich and diverse habitat for many plant and animal species.
To preserve and protect the environment of Euboea, various environmental conservation actions have been undertaken, both by local authorities and by non-governmental organizations and local communities. Some of the major actions include:
– National parks and nature reserves: National parks and nature reserves have been established on the island of Evia to protect the most delicate ecosystems and conserve biodiversity. These areas are managed in order to ensure the conservation of natural habitats and the protection of endemic species.
– Environmental Education Programs: Environmental awareness and education programs have been developed to engage the local community and visitors on the importance of environmental conservation. These programs aim to promote sustainable practices and encourage active participation in environmental protection.
– Monitoring of water and air quality: Analyzes are carried out regularly to monitor the quality of water and air on the island. This helps to identify any negative impacts on the environment and to take corrective measures to mitigate the harmful effects.
– Protection of marine species: Protection measures have been implemented for marine species inhabiting the waters around Evia, including marine mammals and sea turtles. This includes restrictions on fishing, creating protected areas and raising awareness about reducing marine pollution.
– Waste management: Policies and programs for sustainable waste management have been introduced on the island. This includes recycling, promoting the use of recyclable materials and properly disposing of waste to reduce environmental impact.
– Renewable energy: Projects have been developed to promote the use of renewable energies on the island, such as solar energy and wind power. This helps to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and the impact on the environment deriving from the production of energy.
These are just some of the environmental protection actions undertaken on the island of Evia. Importantly, environmental protection is an ongoing endeavor and requires the active participation of all sectors of society to ensure a sustainable future for the island and its precious ecosystem.