The sand hills of the Limassol 'desert'!

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West of Limassol, approximately 10 kilometers from the city, there is a landscape that holds quite a few surprises for visitors. There, you will see rising before you sand hills of various heights, stretching across a large expanse of land to create a unique, desert setting.

The sand is as fine as powder, and this, combined with the sparse shrubbery and absense of any movement whatsoever beyond the gentle breeze leaving its mark on the sand hills, make this a truly special location. This is not, of course, a sign that Limassol is turning into a desert. Rather, it is a phenomenon that is found in some coastal areas of the Mediterreanean. These sand dunes, as they are otherwise known, located on the Akrotiri peninsula, have also become a refuge for rare species of flora and fauna, which have adapted to living only in the conditions of this particular ecosystem.

Essentially, sand dunes are created by the force of the wind, and are considered to be the transitional zone from sea to shore. Their presence there is especially important, as they absorb the force of the waves and protect the coast from erosion. Sand dunes may take centuries to form, but they can easily be destroyed within minutes, and human intervention (such as removal of the sand or driving across the dunes) could be fatal to this unique ecosystem.

The sand hills in Akrotiri are home to endemic species but also a stopoever for migratory birds (such as turtledoves stopping for a rest on their way to Europe). The coves below the hills also provide shelter to sea turtles seeking to lay their eggs in the summer.