PARIS – UNESCO’s Executive Board has endorsed the addition of 18 sites to the UNESCO Global Geoparks network, including Lavreotiki in Greece, according to a May 24 news release. This brings the total number of geoparks to 195 in 48 countries. Two UNESCO Member States join the network: New Zealand and the Philippines.
The UNESCO Global Geopark label was created in 2015. It recognizes geological heritage of international significance. Geoparks serve local communities by combining the conservation of their significant geological heritage with public outreach and a sustainable approach to development. The 18 new designations have brought the network up to 195 UNESCO Global Geoparks, covering a total surface area of 486,709 km2, equivalent to twice the size of the United Kingdom.
Greece: Lavreotiki UNESCO Global Geopark
Famous for the abundance and variety of its mineralogical specimens, many of which were first discovered in the area, this geopark is known around the world for the silver that is extracted from mixed sulfide deposits. The region has been inhabited since antiquity due to its underground geological wealth, and is currently home to 25 102 inhabitants. Lavreotiki UNESCO Global Geopark also houses the Byzantine Holy Monastery of St Paul the Apostle. The monastery continues to promote Orthodox monasticism and practice fresco mural painting, a traditional technique which uses natural colors ground from rock.
Lavreotiki is a municipality at the southeastern-most tip of the Attica peninsula in the Greek regional unit of East Attica. Its municipal seat is the town of Lavrio.