The Geopark Idea in Bulgaria. Present Stay and Future Potential
International Conference “The Earth and
Human Potentials” , October 31st – November 2nd , 2012, AstanaThe Geopark Idea in Bulgaria. Present Stay and Future Potential Radoslav Nakov, Todor Todorov The Belogradchik Rocks – The Natural symbol of Bulgaria
Tectonic Position of Bulgaria in
the Balkan - Eastern Mediterranean Tectonic Belts – resulting from collision in Alpine time (from ~ 250 m.y. to present) Ca rp Alps at Pannonian Basin hia sn D In Moesian a Black Sea rI Platform d e Balkanides s Ides Pont H el le nI es de rId Tau s Aegean Sea Eastern Mediterranean
Neotectonic setting of the Southern
Balkans and Bulgaria The Alpine Orogen of Southeast Europe splits in two on the Balkans. The Northern Branch consists of the Carpathian and the Balkanide Fold-thrust Belts. The Southern Branch consists of the Dinarides-Albanides- Hellenides Belt. Bulgaria belongs to the Northern Branch of the orogen.
Although small (110 000Rock geology
of Bulgaria km2) Bulgaria encloses the remains of various Phanerozoic and older rock complexes and terraines . The Paleozoic terraines are mainly of Peri-Gondwana origin and were docked to Europe, before the latest Carboniferous. They were heavily reworked in Alpine time. The Mesozoic evolution is marked by the opening and closing of several marginal Peri- Thetys basins.
Geomorphology and Miocene - Quaternary
andneotectonic features active structures are extensively developed throughout Bulgaria and the Southern Balkan. Undergoing active extension is forming a system of horsts and grabens, similar to well- known extensional systems, like the Western United States. Much of the present-day morphology is the immediate result of neotectonic events. In many places the topography is the direct result of expression of very young and active extensional structures
Active faults and relief buildingThe
Iskur gorge – 1500 m entrenched into the Balkan Range The active Predela Fault 2915 m Vihren Peak Rila Mountain 2925 m Fault Vitosha Mountain 2290 m Sofia Graben 550 m
Protected geosites in Bulgaria The
richness of different various rocks, rock sequences, structural events and intensive present-day relief building has led to the occurrence of different in type geosites of both special scientific and aesthetic interests. They are split all over the country
Nature and Geoconservation in Bulgaria
– a historical reviewIn 1927 an Union of Native Nature Protectionwas created.The first two reserves were declared in 1933In 1936 was proclaimed the first BulgarianNational Park, which is one of the first on theBalkans.
Present-day legislation; List of protected
geosites• In 1998 a new legislation related only to the preserved territories was adopted. According to it the preserved territories were divided into 6 categories: Reserves, National parks, Natural beauty spots, Supported reserves, Natural parks, and, Preserved sites. Four categories are of significance for the geosites. However, the geosites have little place in the text of the law. Nothing is mentioned about geoparks.• The first list of geological heritage in Bulgaria was published in 1964 and 55 geological sites were included in it. Ten years later, in 1974, they became 224 and now stands at over 360.
List of the protected geosites•
Caves 107 • single rocks of specific• water- falls73 feature 65• ground “pyramids” 6 • lakes, marshes and limans• 20 rock “pyramides” 44 • dunes 17• upright rocks 4 • fossil site 12• rock “mushrooms” 4 • karst springs 9• karst valleys and canyons 12 • upright rock columns 4• rock bridges 18 • other (moraines, palaeo - volcanoes; mineral occurrences, etc.) 3The different groups of geosites are quite irregularly represented. Withfew exceptions, these are mainly sites with geomorphologicalfeatures. Only 5% are geosites of Special Scientific Importance
Belogradchik 1998 – announcement of
UNESCO Geopark ProgramDuring the ProGEO annual meeting the concept of UNESCO GEOPARKProgram was firstly advertised and the idea for the creation of geoparkswas adopted by the Bulgarian geologists. Potential geoparks are underactive consideration, based mainly on the national Framework list.
The UNESCO Geopark Concept:• A
UNESCO Geoparks is a territory with well-defined limits and comprises a number of geological heritage sites of special scientific importance, rarity or beauty• It may not be solely of geological significance but also of archaeological, ecological, historical or cultural value• The sites are linked to one another in a formally managed park-type situation• The Geopark is run by designated authority which adopts its own territorial policy for sustainable regional socio-economic development
European and Global Network of
Geoparks As a result of further development in 2000th was created the European Network of Geoparks. Since 2001st it is under the auspices of UNESCO. Presently 52 Geoparks from 18 European countries are included in this Network. This ? very impressive Geopark concept found further development and the Global Network of Geoparks was launched in 2004th.Unfortunately, up to date no European geoparks have beencreated in Bulgaria.However, potential geoparks are under active consideration. ?
Research projects in Bulgaria as
a base for geopark creation A first project on geconservation “The Geological Heritage of Bulgaria: sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSI)”, was accomplished during 1996-2000 During 2001-2003 was accomplished the project “Register and Cadastre of the Bulgarian geological phenomena”. More than 200 geological sites have been described in details and registered in a data base form, using a unified registration form for evaluation. In 2005 was published a framework list of the Bulgarian geosites Since 2010 started the project “Scientific ground for the creation of Belogradchik Geopark”All these project as well as numerous publications provide a significantscientific base for the creation of geoparks.Unfortunately all projects aiming the creation of a EuropeanGeopark were not supported by the responsible state institutions
Geopark Iskar-Zlatna Panega ?Does it
exist really?? In 2002 a project with the financial support of PHARE created some geotrails in a spectacular carstic area, declaring it as the first Bulgarian geopark. However, this territory has neither administrative, neither legal bases and is difficult to be considered as a geopark or even as a protected territory.
Potential Geopark: Pobitite Kamani (Dikili
tash)(the upright stone columns) - a spectacular natural andgeological phenomena subject of severe scientificdiscussions and surrounded by a unique landscape,built up in Paleogene sediments.
Some years ago Belogradchik area
was proposed to become part of theEuropean Network of Geoparks, but it was rejected, as one of the basicrequirement to have a designated authority was not met. In 2011 a newcampaign to turn the area into a Geopark started again, but so far is notsuccessful, due to the existing legislation. However, Belogradchik won therecognition as “Natural Symbol of Bulgaria” in a national investigation
The general overview of all
discussed areas is completedby the required numerous historical, archeological, cultural and biological sites. The Madara Horseman – a UNESCO Monument
Multi valuable protected natural site
National Park Pirin a UNESCO siteSome of the Bulgarian geosites represent a combination of sites ofgeological and biological interest (like some lakes on the Black Sea cost,National Parks Rila and Pirin,etc.), however they are under protectionmainly for their significance for the biodiversity.
Ivanovo rock churches – a
UNESCO World monument Some other sites having mainly historical value are include in theUNESCO World Heritage List, but they have also a value as geological sites in a broad sense.
Final Notes:General conclusions:The creation of
geoparks not only enlarges the opportunities for tourism innew areas as well as in such with already established touristic interest, butalso contributes to the sustainable development. The experience from the lastdecade shows the economic and cultural profit from their existence.In difference to other protected areas, the Geoparks do not imposesignificant restrictions on the environment and for this reason may easily beaccepted by the local people (farmers, wood industry, mining industry, etc.) Bulgaria: Bulgaria has a divers and rich geological heritage. The creation of national geoparks is considered by the geological community as a very important goal and several prospective areas are regarded as potential geoparks. Unfortunately, the main obstacle for the creation of national Geoparks is the lack of understanding from the state authorities and the national legislation. However, we believe Bulgaria will have its geoparks soon!
Thank you for your attention!
Спасибо за Ваше внимание и гостепреимство ! Todor Todorov – ProGEO Past PresidentCultural tourism and wine-tasting in support to geoparks