The rocks, the mountains, and the myths…
The UNESCO World Geopark Chelmos Vouraikou is located in the northern Peloponnese, 100 km from Patras and 200 km from Athens. It covers an area of 647 km2 where 62 municipalities are located, while the total population consists of 27,125 inhabitants.
As a member of the World Geoparks Network, it is valued for its rich geological heritage, combined with its natural and cultural wealth. The protection of its geological heritage, the development of education programs and the sustainable development of local communities are among its main objectives. Its geology is complex due to intense tectonism resulting from the tectonic regime of the Corinthian Gulf trench to its north. Three alpine geotectonic units are found in the Geopark area (Tripoli Zone, Pindos Zone, Phyllite – Chalazite Series) and the post-alpine sediments associated with the moat of the Corinthian. Most of the Geopark area is covered by limestone, creating important karstic geomorphs, caves, poles, and sinkholes. The high peaks surround river valleys and deep gorges creating stunning landscapes, some located on high and steep slopes of conglomerate rocks. Remnants of glaciers from the last glacial period have also been preserved on Mount Helmos (glacial deposits, moraines, amphitheater valleys, alpine lakes). The exceptional geodiversity of the area is also linked to its important and rare biodiversity.
The rich flora with many endemic species (6 local endemics, 33 endemics of the Peloponnese) and the important fauna make the area a National Park.
Apart from the many important archaeological, cultural, and religious monuments, the Geopark has a unique intangible heritage. To date, 40 geotopes have been designated in the Geopark, indicating its rich geodiversity. The Cave of Lakes, the Mega Spilaio, the waters of Styx, the gorge of the Vouraikos River, and Lake Tsivlou are some of the most important geotopes of the Geopark.
To date, 40 geosites have been designated in the geopark, highlighting its rich geodiversity. Among them, the Cave of the Lakes, Mega Spilaio, Styx Waters, Vouraikos Gorge, and Tsivlou Lake are some of the most eminent geosites of the Geopark.
Eleni Koumoutsou, Environmental Scientist MSc., Head of the Management Department of Chelmos-Vouraikos National Park & Protected Areas of Northern Peloponnese, OFYPEKA
Photo Credits: Socratis Tsakos
e-mail: [email protected]