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EMITT 2016: Lesvos Petrified Forest Introduced to Turkish Travel Agents

A standing petrified conifer trunk of the Lesvos Geopark. Photo source: European Geoparks Network

A standing petrified conifer trunk of the Lesvos Geopark. Photo source: European Geoparks Network

Professor Nikolaos Zouros, director of the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest. Photo by GTP

Professor Nikolaos Zouros, director of the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest. Photo by GTP

The Petrified Forest of Lesvos and other unique natural monuments of the North Aegean islands were introduced to a group of Turkish travel agents from Izmir on Friday, during the East Mediterranean Tourism and Travel Exhibition – EMITT in Istanbul.

“The fact that the islands are so close to Turkey make them ideal destinations for those who want to explore the ‘hidden treasures’ of the North Aegean islands”, said the director of the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest Professor Nikolaos Zouros.

Addressing some of Izmir’s top travel agents, Professor Zouros gave a presentation on the “Geological Monuments in N.E. Aegean Islands and ‘Green’ Tourism” and informed them on the tourism potential of the earth’s heritage sites.

Petrified Forest of Lesvos

Turkish-language information pamphlet on the Lesvos Geopark.

Turkish-language information pamphlet on the Lesvos Geopark. Photo by GTP

Referring to the Petrified Forest of Lesvos, an area of intense volcanic activity that took place in the North Aegean 20 million years ago and declared a Protected Natural Monument since 1985, Professor Zouros gave the Turkish travel agents details on the “outstanding fossil site” and provided information on the various activities available to tourists.

The Petrified Forest of Lesvos, inducted into the Global Geopark Network of UNESCO since 2004, offers a variety of different educational subjects on geology and environmental educational activities.

Petrified Forest of Lesvos - Standing petrified trunk.

Petrified Forest of Lesvos – Standing petrified trunk.

The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest in Sigri village, runs educational programs for school groups, students and families, tours for adults, and educational seminars in order to familiarize the general public with the Petrified Forest, its natural history and the geological heritage of the earth.

Turkish travel agents were also informed on the “hidden treasures” of other islands of the North Aegean group such as the fossils discovered on Chios which reveal information on the life in the Aegean dating back eight to twelve million years ago; and the sea caves located along the beaches of Samos.

Geotourism in the North Aegean

Christiana Kalogirou, Governor of North Aegean Region.

Christiana Kalogirou, Governor of North Aegean Region. Photo by GTP

Geotourism is one of the tourism forms the Region of North Aegean is focusing on aiming to offer its visitors a unique experience during their holidays on the region’s islands.

“Our islands, from Limnos to Ikaria, have unique natural monuments that offer visitors the unique opportunity to admire the scenery while enjoying many activities… Upon their departure from our islands, we want visitors to keep the memory of the unique beauties of nature they saw”, said Christiana Kalogirou, Governor of North Aegean Region, during the presentation.

The North Aegean Region is currently supporting a “travelling exhibition” of the Aegean put together by the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest. Previously exhibited in Rome, Athens and Thessaloniki, the “Aegean: Creation of an Archipelago” is currently on display in Chicago’s National Hellenic Museum. In addition to the exhibition’s scientific and educational character, it appeals to a broad audience with images reflecting the beauty of the Aegean, its landscape and its flora and fauna. The “Aegean: Creation of an Archipelago” will remain in Chicago until late August.

The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is a media partner to EMITT 2016.

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