PSILORITIS GEOPARK (Greece)
Within the island of Crete is a place where the secrets of life and nature have been preserved for hundreds of centuries. Psiloritis Monts rose up through the sea a few million years ago when the African continent encroached on Europe.
Conservation, Education & Tourism
Psiloritis Geopark is characterized by its superb geodiversity. This is reflected by a great variety of volcanic, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks aging from Permian to Pleistocene (300 to 1 million year ago), outstanding folds and faults, fascinating caves and deep gorges with rich biodiversity. The combination of rocks with hundreds of plants and animals, such as wild cats, orchids and tulips which live exclusively in these mountains, explains Psiloritis Geopark great biodiversity. Both the outstanding scenery and the wonderful climate are embedded in the cultures of all the civilizations that lived there.
Shepherds’ houses, called "mitata" are landmarks of Psiloritis Mountains, made by local, platy, dry-stone material. Totally weatherproof and fully adapted to the landscape, they are still used for cheese production.
Many antiquities can be found within the geopark, such as the Minoan settlement of Zominthos (that was a laboratory closely connected to Knossos palace), the Idaion Andro cave (where, according to Greek mythology, Zeus grew up) and the classical city of Eleytherna.
Psiloritis Geopark provides excellent opportunities for both recreation and education. The visitor has an extensive choice of activities ranging from sports (such as swimming, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing) to getting associated with the breathtaking science of geology, to observe birds, animals and plants, to visiting the archaeological sites of Zominthos, Idaion Andro and Eleytherna, and to flavoring the traditional Cretan cuisine, renowned worldwide as among the most healthy and tasty in the world.
The Global Geoparks Network is supported by UNESCO at the request of Member States