Vissala Village is the one and only residence in the area of Hortata, within the protected zone of Natura 2000.
The area of Hortata belongs to the protected areas NATURA 2000. According to the Directive (92/43) of the European Union Committee, the evaluation of the area is due to the existence of the Paeonia plants. As this kind of plant is rare in Greece, P. mascula ssp. russi και P. peregrine plants (“askamnia” in the local dialect) grow in the particular area and these kinds are not seen anywhere else.
Vissala Village is the only refuge for wild life researchers in the area of Hortata, within the protected zone of Natura 2000 network.
In the Botanic Museum of the University of Zurich, there is a reference in the Botanic Book (edit. 1968) concerning the plant (Paeonia corallina – paeonia officinalis) and that it grows in Hortata. The ancient Greek botanist Dioskourides (1st century B.C) mentions the same plant with analgesic, anticolvusant and anti – inflammatory properties.
There are special paths that lead from Hortata to Stavrota (1141 m. altitude), where the different kinds of “askamnia” grow in spring as well as to the Eglouvi plateau where the world famous “faki Eglouvis” is cultivated. The plateau has a panoramic, breath – taking view to the whole island.