Zanjan to develop its first geopark 

November 21, 2020 - 23:51

TEHRAN – Zanjan, the west-central Iranian province famed for having a variety of historical, natural sites, aims to develop its first geopark. 

Zanjan has vast potential for the creation of a geopark as the province is home to many natural and mineral attractions such as colorful mountains, lead and zinc mines, and wildlife reserves, the deputy provincial tourism chief announced on Saturday.
 
Ali-Akbar Sharafi, who was addressing an ecotourism committee meeting, added: “Natural capacities of the province could cater to the tourism, empowerment the local communities, economic growth and protect natural heritage.”

“The launch of geopark will lay a great opportunity for investors… and its boundaries are being determined accurately,” he added. 

On a high plain, surrounded by stark, eroded hills, Zanjan makes the perfect base for wider explorations. It is home to many historical structures, sites, and monuments including the UNESCO-designated Dome of Soltaniyeh (“Soltaniyeh Cupola”), which is constantly being monitored and restored under the supervision of the provincial Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department. 

Enticingly scenic roads radiate to Khal Khal and the Caspian, the subterranean delights of the Katale Khor Caves, and the superbly lonely Takht-e Soleiman ruins, while the battered hoodoos of Behestan Castle and the bizarrely striped Colourful Mountains lie further afield.

A geopark is a unified area that advances the protection and use of geological heritage in a sustainable way and promotes the economic well-being of the people who live there. A UNESCO definition of the global geopark is a unified area with a geological heritage of international significance. Geoparks use that heritage to promote awareness of key issues facing society in the context of our dynamic planet.

Many geoparks promote awareness of geological hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis and many help prepare disaster mitigation strategies with local communities. Geoparks embody records of past climate changes and are indicators of current climate changes as well.

AFM/ 

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