Log in
A+ A A-

Meteora Pyli Geopark added to UNESCO Global Geoparks network

Featured Meteora Pyli Geopark added to UNESCO Global Geoparks network

The Meteora Pyli Geopark is part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks network as of Thursday, becoming one of the now 213 Geoparks located in 48 countries around the world. It was among a group of 18 new geoparks whose addition was announced on Wednesday following a bid submitted by the Thessaly Region, the Natural Environment & Climate Change Agency (N.E.C.C.A.), Trikala Chamber, the Trikala Development Agency (KENAKAP S.A.) and the municipalities of Meteora and Pyli.

Welcoming the news, Meteora Mayor Lefteris Avramopoulos said that it put the region on the global geoparks map and highlighted the role of geoparks in serving local communities, helping in the preservation of their geological heritage and a sustainable approach to growth.

"It is a significant recognition that opens new avenues, strengthening developmental momentum with the aim of extending the tourist season on terms of quality and sustainability," he said, thanking all the agencies involved in this result.

Covering an area of 2,409.5 square kilometres, the Meteora Pyli UNESCO Global Geopark is notable for its unique landscape and natural environment, as well as its rich biodiversity, geological monuments and geodiversity.

Nestled within the picturesque Thessaly region at the centre of mainland Greece, the Meteora Pyli UNESCO Global Geopark is famed for the towering Meteora sandstone columns that reach heights of up to 300 meters. Perched atop these 'columns of the sky' are the iconic Byzantine monasteries, constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries. They are adorned with 16th-century frescoes, which mark a key stage in the development of post-Byzantine painting and offer an insight into the region's rich religious history and artistic heritage.

Among the other geological wonders of the geopark are the Tafoni formations of Kalambaka, with honeycomb weathering patterns carved into the rock by millennia of erosion. In the western part of the geopark, the Pindos mountains offer a haven for biodiversity and outdoor enthusiasts with rugged peaks, alpine meadows, lush forests and meandering rivers. Trekking through the region's unique terrain, visitors can encounter rare plant species, including the Chalcedonian lily (Lilium chalcedonicum) and the endemic chasmophyte Centaurea kalambakensis which thrive in the area's distinct microclimates.