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Natural Park of Siteia

The Natural Park of Siteia in the European and Global Geoparks Network

The Geopark site in Siteia, located on the easternmost edge of the island of Crete, will be included for the next four years in the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), according to the council's decision that took place during the 4th Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network Symposium at San’in Kaigan Geopark in Japan, from 16 to 20 September 2015. See more here.

© UNESCO/Sitia Global Geopark/Traditional village Zakros - Siteia (Greece)

The GGN’s selection followed the European Geoparks Network decision, taken during the 13th European Geoparks Conference which was held in Rokua Finland, from the 3 to 6 September 2015. The UNESCO-supported Global Geoparks Network includes 120 geoparks in 33 countries. Geoparks are territories that promote their geo-diversity through community-led initiatives in order to enhance regional sustainable development, promote awareness of geological hazards and help local communities prepare disaster mitigation strategies. Geoparks celebrate the 4.6-billion-years of our planet’s history and the geo-diversity that has shaped every aspect of our lives and societies. Siteia’s territory was included on the list along with eight other geoparks in China, Cyprus, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and Spain.

© UNESCO/Siteia Global Geopark/The Miocene period in the park area is represented by one of the most impressive and important fossils, the Deinotherium - Sitia (Greece)

The reasoning behind this decision is that Siteia’s territory has abundant mammal fossils of the Pleistocene Epoch (2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, last part of the Quaternary Period). The on site discovery of three fossils of the elephant-like Deinotherium giganteum, the extensive cave systems and the palaeo-shorelines around Zakros are unique to Crete. Furthermore the site’s most significant characteristic is the large number of karsts on the surrounding limestone environment. More than 170 caves and numerous gorges have been found in the area.

Siteia’s Geopark runs throughout the east side of Crete including areas of Siteia, Itanou and Lefkis as well as the shorelines from North to South. The most renowned areas within the park are: Zakros, Palaiokastro, Ziros, Xerokampos, Sitanou and Karydiou. The integration of the park in the European and Global Geoparks Networks is expected to significantly contribute in promoting and enhancing Siteia’s natural environment, tourism, local economy and the promotion of its rich cultural heritage and local products.

Find detailed information about the Siteia’s Geopark here.

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