TROODOS UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK
The formation of Cyprus is directly linked to the creation of the Troodos mountain range, as a result of a series of unique and complex geological processes which have made Cyprus a geological model for researchers from around the world, contributing to a better understanding of the development of the oceans and of the planet in general.
Neither the residents of Cyprus nor the island's foreign visitors would ever suspect that the wooded peak of Troodos is actually the deepest layer of a section of oceanic crust and the Earth's upper mantle. In other words, an ophiolite complex that was formed 90 million yearsago, 8,000 metres below sea level.
The Troodos Geopark is located in the central part of Cyprus and its area is approximately 137,000 hectares (1,370 sq.m.), covering 45% of the total area of the Troodos range and 15% of the total areaof Cyprus.
Administratively, the area belongs to three districts – Nicosia, Paphos and Limassol - and covers the altitude from 300 metres to the highest peak, Mount Olympus, which stands at 1,952m above sea level. It includes 110 communities with a total population of approximately 25,000 residents. The region combines enormous geological interest with the unique natural environment of Troodos, a long history of human settlements and the population’s local customs and traditions.
Troodos Geopark is part of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) of UNESCO since 2015.Troodos Geopark Visitor Centre
The Troodos Geopark (an area of 1.147 km2) Visitor Centre is located in the old Asbestos mine (Amiantos mine), an area with enormous historical value which now hosts an extraordinary botanical garden with information about the flora of the area, a seed bank of endemic species and also a plethora of evidence for the past mining activity and the community which once flourished there. The Geopark Visitor Centre is situated in the newly restored elementary school of the abandoned asbestos mine. The building is an impressive listed structure and an example of fine architecture with historic characteristics and features such as its fireplaces, one in every room, and a beautiful internal yard.
At the entrance of the Geopark Visitor Centre the visitors are welcomed by an amazing geological garden consisting of all the rock types encountered in the area, in stratigraphic order, representing the Troodos ophiolite sequence. An outdoor classroom is operated in the garden of the centre, where interactive lessons and demonstrations are delivered to visiting students and the general public. Impressive rocks and minerals, a maquette of the geology of the area, depicting sites of geological importance and interest (faults, mines, geo-trails, etc.), informational panels and a conference room where the visitor can watch documentaries, of the significance of the geology of the Troodos mountain range are only some of the exhibits in the visitor centre.
The Geopark Visitor Center also, hosts exhibits of the abandoned Asbestos and Chromite mines, representations of an ancient pyro-metallurgical furnace for the production of copper and a gallery of the last century for the exploitation of sulphate deposits.
Finally, on the way out a shop gives the opportunity to the visitor to buy handcrafted art products and other geo-products, made by raw materials encountered in the Troodos area, as well as an eco-tourism guide and the Troodos documentary movie.
We are confident, that a visit at the Geopark Visitor Center will be an interesting educational journey for the visitor providing an inside to the geological uniqueness of the Troodos area, the most complete piece of oceanic crust on earth. Troodos has been and still is the scientific inspiration of geoscientists from all over the world enlightening them of the geological processes that are taking place in the depths of the recent oceans and the formation of new oceanic crust.
For more information: http://www.troodos-geo.org