Geopark Naturtejo Meseta Meridional – Portugal
Highlights from a special place of Earth
Naturtejo Geopark is located in the centre inland of Portugal, near the border with Spain, and covers an area of 4617 km2. It is located 200 km from Lisbon and 350 km from Madrid, right in the middle of Iberian Peninsula. The application to join European Geoparks Network started in 2003 and the decision occurred in September 2006.
Naturtejo territory is rich in Geological Heritage, starting some 600 million years ago, with shales from the deep seas, until nowadays’ plains. The Geopark has also a strong historical, cultural and human legacy linked with nature, promoting the integrated development of tourism. The Geopark is a stronger partnership of municipalities and local entrepreneurs fostering innovative synergies in local economy and sustainable development.
Geopark’s territory is characterized by very ancient landscapes, such as the 70 million years old Meseta Meridional peneplain from where residual mountains grow gigantic into the sky. Examples are the Appalachian-type quartzite crests which represent the former Ordovician ocean, cradle of paleobiological diversification and innovation where Trilobite mood ruled; Variscan-type granites cropping out as inselberge archipelago and as horst mountains with wonderful fractal landforms.
The outstanding geomorphological, paleontological, tectonic and mining heritages are composed by geosites with national and international relevance, such as the Ichnological Park of Penha Garcia, Portas do Ródão and Vale Mourão gorges, the Roman gold mine of Conhal do Arneiro and the granite morphologies from Serra da Gardunha and Monsanto, among many others.
Geoconservation is one of the main aims of the Geopark. It is important to preserve Geological Heritage to present and future generations. Naturtejo has several areas protected by local and national laws, providing promotion to sensitize people for the importance of the Geoconservation inside Nature Conservation. Ichnological Park of Penha Garcia, Granite morphologies of Gardunha and Conhal do Arneiro are protected with municipal laws and Portas do Rodão Natural Monument integrates the National Network of Protected Areas.
Several Educational Programs adapted to the school curricula are available, including one-year school projects, where students and teachers together can apply what they are learning in the classroom with real examples. The first aim is to sensitize and educate young people to respect, value and conserve Nature. It is possible to develop practical approaches in many different subjects of Geosciences and integrate them with Nature understanding. The Educational Programs are targeted by specialized guides in geosciences and run in different places of the Geopark depending on the Program’s aims, enabling the students to meet the geosites and nature protected areas and to understand that they are the key to the past, present and future history of our planet.
Naturtejo offers a trekking network with more than 500 km of both short and long trails that invite tourists to discover the Geopark’s nature and culture while they walk across the territory. Boat trips and geokayaking in Tagus and Zêzere rivers may also be enjoyed. Geocircuits in the geomonuments and historical sites, by minibus or own car, are available for those less adventurous. There is also the museum network that provides to the visitor the discover of hundreds of thousands of years of human presence, Rock Art, Roman cities and such ancient culture. Schist shops are available in the Schist Villages, places where schist and local products prevail as in old times. New ways to find old tastes are a joy for the senses in geo-restaurants and geo-shops. There are also Historical Villages, where the time has stopped, but life goes on. At the end of the day a very special offer of local lodging provides the right accommodation in the Earth, Rock & You spirit of Naturtejo Geopark.
Centro Cultural Raiano,
Av. Zona Nova de Expansao,
E-mail: Carlos Neto de Carvalho firstname.lastname@example.org
Armindo Moreira Palma Jacinto email@example.com