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Garajonay National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
LocationLa Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain
Coordinates28°07′34.5″N 17°14′14″W / 28.126250°N 17.23722°W / 28.126250; -17.23722Coordinates: 28°07′34.5″N 17°14′14″W / 28.126250°N 17.23722°W / 28.126250; -17.23722
Area40 km²
Criteria:vii, ix
Designated:1986 (10th session)
Reference #:380
State Party: Spain
Region:Europe and North America

Garajonay National Park (Spanish: [Parque nacional de Garajonay] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) is located in the center and north of the island of La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands (Spain). It was declared a national park in 1981 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. It occupies 40 km2 (15 sq mi) and it extends into each of the municipalities on the island.

The park is named after the rock formation of Garajonay, the highest point on the island at 1,484 m (4,869 feet). It also includes a small plateau whose altitude is 790-1,400 m above sea level.

The park provides the best example of laurisilva, a humid subtropical forest that in the Tertiary covered almost all of Europe. It is also found on the Azores and the Madeira Islands. Laurus azorica, known as Azores Laurel, or by the Portuguese names Louro, Loureiro, Louro-da-terra, and Louro-de-cheiro, can be found in the park, as well as Laurus canariensis, known as Canary Laurel. Although named as a single type of forest, the National Park englobes several varieties of forests. Most humid and protected valleys oriented to the North have the richest and most complex forests. It is known as valley laurisilva, a true subtropical rainforest where the largest laurel trees can be found. At higher altitudes, with less protection from wind and sun, the forest loses some of its more delicate species. Here it is called slope laurisilva (laurisilva de ladera). At the south the forest is mainly a mix of beech and heather, species adapted to the less humid atmosphere.

Other attractions of the National Park are the massive rocks that are found along the island. These are former volcanoes whose shapes have been carved by erosion. Some, like the "Fortaleza" (fortress in Spanish) were considered sacred by the native islanders, as well as ideal refuges when attacked. The park is crossed by a large network of footpaths, trekking being one of the main tourist activities in the island.

Many of the species are endemic to the islands, and harbor a rich biota of understory plants, invertebrates, and birds and bats, including a number of endemic species.

Two species of reptile, Gallotia gomerana (Gomeran lizard) and Chalcides viridanus (Gomeran skink), can be found. Amphibians include the stripeless tree frog, Hyla meridionalis.

The park is renowned as one of the best places to observe the two Canarian endemic pigeons, Laurel Pigeon (Columba junoniae) and Bolle's Pigeon (Columba bollii).

In 2012, fire burned part of this national park.[1]

Gara and Jonay

The peak and park are named after the doomed Guanche lovers Gara and Jonay, whose story evokes those of Romeo and Juliet and Hero and Leander. Gara was a princess of Agulo on La Gomera. During the festival of Beñesmén, it was customary for unmarried girls of Agulo to gaze at their reflections in the waters of Chorros del Epina. If the water was clear, they would find a husband; if it was cloudy, some misfortune would befall them. When Gara looked at the water, she saw her reflection clearly. However, she gazed too long and the sun's reflection blinded her temporarily. A wise man named Gerián told her that this meant that she needed to avoid all fire or else it would consume her.

Jonay was the son of the mencey or king of Adeje on Tenerife who arrived on the island to celebrate these ceremonies. Jonay's participation in the ensuing games attracted the attention of Gara, and the two fell in love. Unfortunately, when the engagement was announced, the volano Teide, visible from La Gomera, began to erupt as if in disapproval. This was interpreted as a bad omen and the couple’s respective parents broke the engagement. Jonay was made to return to Tenerife, but one night, he swam across the channel that separated the two islands and rejoined his beloved. Their respective fathers ordered that the two be found. The lovers were soon trapped on a mountain, where they decided to take their own lives.


External links

ca:Parc Nacional de Garajonay cs:Garajonay de:Nationalpark Garajonay es:Parque nacional de Garajonay eo:Nacia Parko Garajonay eu:Garajonayko Parke Nazionala fa:پارک ملی گاراجونای fr:Parc national de Garajonay gl:Parque Nacional de Garajonay hr:Garajonay it:Parco nazionale di Garajonay he:הפארק הלאומי גרחונאי ka:გარახონაის ეროვნული პარკი lb:Garajonay-Nationalpark lt:Garachonajaus nacionalinis parkas xmf:გარახონაიშ ნაციონალური პარკი nl:Nationaal park Garajonay ja:ガラホナイ国立公園 pnb:گاراجونے نیشنل پارک pl:Park Narodowy Garajonay pt:Parque Nacional de Garajonay ru:Гарахонай sk:Národný park Garajonay fi:Garajonayn kansallispuisto sv:Garajonay nationalpark vi:Vườn quốc gia Garajonay