The United Nations’ addition of the famous Cappadocia region of Türkiye to its list of the world’s most important geological heritage sites will put its dazzling natural wonders in the spotlight even more.
Both Cappadociawith its volcanic “fairy chimney” which places it in the volcanology category, and Pamukkalewith its graceful hot spring formation as an example of geomorphology and active geological processes, has entered the list of the world’s top 100 geological heritage sites established by the International Union of Geosciences (IUGS) of the United Nations.
In the 1990s, the IUGS Global Geosites Task Force initiated the development of a database of geological sites of international significance. The project received support from ProGEO, IUCN and UNESCO and was implemented in several European countries, but it failed to gain the global acceptance initially expected.
This new UISG Global Geosites project opens up a new opportunity to make a global inventory of geological heritage of international significance in a new context where UNESCO Global Geoparks can play an important role. Geological surveys, research institutes and geoparks around the world will cooperate and contribute to a new global inventory of IUGS geosites which will be piloted and coordinated by the International Commission on Geoheritage (IUGS). This project will define a new methodology and criteria towards an effective procedure where the know-how and experience acquired will be shared and implemented.
Cappadocia enters the list
The inscription of Cappadocia among the 100 best geological sites will strengthen its recognition throughout the world, Ismail Dincer from Geological Engineering Department of Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University told Anadolu Agency.
Stating that Turkish and foreign scientists have visited and studied Cappadocia for many years, Dincer said: “We can see all the phases of volcanism that took place from 12 million years ago to 4 million years ago in Cappadocia”.
“This volcanic succession was then eroded by environmental conditions resulting in a unique set of surface shapes. The hoodoos are the most prominent of these,” he added.
The UN Geoscience List was chosen from 181 candidate sites proposed by geoheritage experts from 13 countries, divided into categories such as stratigraphy and sedimentology, paleontology, metamorphic petrology and volcanology.
Levent Ak, head of a local tourism services unionsaid, “There are many beautiful places in the world in terms of earth science. But unique natural beauty has emerged in Cappadocia with fairy chimneys and valley formations.”
“The inclusion of Cappadocia in the geoheritage list will also contribute to the visibility of our region in geotourism and boost the diversity of tourism,” he added.
Cappadocia, located in the province of Nevsehir in central Anatolia, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and has attracted more than 3.6 million tourists so far this year.
Cappadocia is a popular destination around the world thanks to its distinctive volcanic cones known as fairy chimneys, atmospheric underground cities, hot air balloon rides, rock-hewn houses and churches, chapels and shelters used in the early years of the Christian faith.