VIKOS AOOS GEOPARK (Greece)
Vikos Aoos Geopark is located in the region of Epirus, Ioannina, northwestern Greece. It occupies the NW part of the Pindus Mountain Range and is characterized by high rugged relief and an impressive landscape. It includes Mt. Smolikas (2,637 m asl), the 2nd highest mountain in Greece, and Mt. Tymfi (2,497 m asl), and the two spectacular gorges of Vikos and Aoos.
Conservation, Education & Tourism
Vikos Aoos Geopark is made of deep sea sedimentary rocks that, 20 million years ago, due to the collision of African and Eurasian plates, were folded and faulted by the powerful compressive movements that prevailed in the Greek area. The present-day landscape reveals a 2500 metre high elevated karstic field, which was sometimes covered by glaciers during the Pleistocene. The alternating glacial and interglacial environments, and the geodynamic processes which created fast ascendant movements, combined with the tectonic – karstic phenomena, resulted in favorable conditions for intense erosion, giving the relief of the area its present form. On the other hand, the large amounts of water released have flown amid the discontinuities caused by the faults and have deeply carved the limestone blocks, creating deep gorges. These deep gorges reveal the stratigraphic column of rocks making up the geological structure and history of the area.
Mt. Tymfi with its calcareous bedrock is associated with steep, rocky slopes and cliffs, deep gorges, glacial lakes, springs, streams and rivers with pure water. Evergreen shrubs, deciduous oak woods, sub-Mediterranean conifers and beech forests cover the area, whereas the higher altitude zone is characterized by Balkan pine woods, sub-alpine pastures, bare rocks and screes.
The territory also contains several traditional settlements and monuments dating back to the 14th - 19th centuries including monasteries, schools, churches, chapels and arched stone bridges.
The Global Geoparks Network is supported by UNESCO at the request of Member States