5 wonderful UNESCO geoparks

From dinosaur fossils in Brazil to the towering Meteora monasteries in Greece, 18 new geological features have been added to the list of UNESCO geoparks.

These objects highlight the natural, cultural and intangible heritage of the region in which they are located. In some of them you can see lakes with crystal clear waters and archipelagos created during the last ice age. These are spaces with unique geological characteristics.

António Abreu, Director of the Department of Ecology and Earth Sciences at UNESCO, explains: “UNESCO Global Geoparks are landscapes where geological heritage of international importance is closely linked to the history of species and supports rich biodiversity”. "Each new geopark tells a unique story, using geology as a lens", he added.

New UNESCO Geoparks

  1. Uberaba, Brazil
UNESCO geoparks

Nicknamed the "Land of the Giants"For its rich paleontological heritage, this new geopark covers the city of Uberaba, in southeastern Brazil. It contains impressive geological formations, including the Serra da Galga and Serra Geral mountains, which were created by basalt flows and tell the story of ancient Volcanic eruptions.

It is also home to more than 10.000 fossils of dinosaurs and other prehistoric life forms, as well as a 2th-century agricultural tradition of raising a unique breed of cattle that produces lower COXNUMX emissions and contributes to the ecological conservation of part of the area.

Several themed "routes" or suggested itineraries allow visitors to explore the area's unique geological and cultural features.

The museum route takes visitors to places such as the Paleontological Research Center and the Uberaba Dinosaur Museum, while the "places" route highlights sites such as the Enchanted Valley, a protected reserve of 38 hectares of forests, waterfalls and prehistoric rocks.

Adventure lovers can take advantage of several hiking routes that leave the city, through the Serra General National Park. This mountainous area, now part of a geopark, allows tourists to immerse themselves in the local ecosystem.

2. Lake Biokovo-Imotskie, Croatia

UNESCO geoparks

Two distinct and unique geological formations make up the Biokovo-Imotskie Lakes Geopark in southern Croatia.
The first is the Biokovo Mountains, which can be accessed through the famous Biokovo Nature Park, which offers a host of outdoor attractions, including educational nature walks, picturesque sites and even a botanical garden that shows the flora found on the slopes of the coastal mountains.

There is the third highest peak in the country, San Jorge, which rises to 1.762 m above sea level. The second formation can be found in the beautiful blue waters of the nearby Red and Blue lakes in Imotski, a small town in the region.

At the bottom of the crater is the deepest limestone lake in Europe, the Red Lake, named after the reddish color of the iron oxide-stained cliffs that surround it, while the Blue Lake is named for its disturbing blue color due to the melting of the nearby mountains.

However, while Blue Lake is easily accessible for those interested in swimming and other water sports, Red Lake is more difficult to access due to its location at the bottom of a 500m deep cave.

There are also man-made sites to explore, including several medieval tombstones and a modern glass walkway in Ravna Vlaška, an area of ​​the park with views of nearby towns, mountains and rivers and the Adriatic Sea.

3. Meteora Pyli, Greece

UNESCO geoparks

Located in the Greek region of Thessaly, Meteora Pyly bills itself as "a journey through space, time and geology," and this is not surprising, as many of its locations seem to combine the perfect blend of nature. and culture.

For example, the impressive rocky hills of Meteroa, some of which reach heights of 300 m, provided the basis for Byzantine monasteries built between 1200 and 1600 AD.

Although this famous site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, this is another of UNESCO's new geoparks that includes nearby geological wonders such as the Tafoni Formation in Kalambaka, famous for its honeycomb erosion patterns and the diverse biosphere of the Pindos Mountains, a favorite of Tourists.

"Visitors can live a unique experience in our region"said Eleftherios Avramopoulos, mayor of Meteora.
"Especially for the unique routes to the sacred rocks of Meteora and the villages hidden among the rich fauna of the Pindos mountains.. "

4. Longyan, China

UNESCO geoparks

Considered the center of China's Hakka culture, the city of Longyan in Fujian province is famous for its distinctive round houses and cobblestone streets.

The Hakka people who live in the area still maintain unique traditions such as the Yu Da Long Festival, in which locals perform the great dragon dance, and the Zou Gu Shi Festival, a local carnival with carved and decorated works in wood and use of traditional clothing.

In addition to its cultural and architectural history, the geopark also extends to the natural forest surrounding the city, which is the densest in western Fujian province.

The new designation will help protect many of the region's endemic plants and animals, including the Chinese yew and the South China tiger, which lies in the shadow of Mount Meihuashan, known as the "Mother Mountain of Fujian Province".

5. Southern Funen Archipelago, Denmark

UNESCO geoparks

The southern Funen archipelago is an example of a "flooded" Ice Age landscape created by a sudden rise in water level more than 10.000 years ago. Sometimes known as the "Garden of Denmark" due to its long history as an agricultural area.

It is made up of around 55 islands and islets located in some of the best swimming areas in the world and is one of the new UNESCO Geoparks.

Visitors can explore the archipelago's islands by sailboat or scuba dive to learn about the endangered marine ecosystem.

On land there are many opportunities to walk, explore and support small farm networks by buying local products.

"UNESCO only lists geoparks after careful consideration and evaluation"said Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, president of the Danish National Commission for UNESCO. “If the southern Funen archipelago has passed through the eye of the needle, it means that the area can illuminate both the past and the future. He gives hope and is a fantastic example to follow.", he added.

Ecoportal.net

With information of: https://www.bbc.com/