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Naturtejo Geopark

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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 entrance occurred in September 2006.

Naturtejo territory is rich in Geological Heritage, starting some 600 million years ago, in schists of the deep seas, until nowadays’ plains. The Geopark has also a strong historical, cultural and human component connected with nature, promoting the integrated development of tourism. The Geopark is a stronger partnership of municipalities and local entrepneuers for developing innovative synergies in local economy and sustainable development.
Geopark’s territory is characterized by very ancient landscapes, such as the 70 miilion years Meseta Meridional peneplain from where “erupt” residual reliefs, as quartzitic crests, gigantic white ramparts which represent the former Ordovician ocean, cradle of paleobiological diversification and innovation; there are also granites cropping out as inselberg archipelago and as demi-horst mountains with wonderful landforms.

The outstanding geomorphologic, geological, paleontological 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.

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.

There are several Educational Programs adapted to the Portuguese school curricula where students and teachers can apply together what they learn in the classroom and found in real context. The first aim is to sensitize and educate young people to respect and conserve Nature. It is possible to have approaches in many different matters of Geosciences and integrate them in 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, allowing the students to know the geomonuments and to understand that they are the key to the history of our planet.

Naturtejo offers a trekking network with more than 260 km of both short and long trails that invite tourists to discover the Geopark’s geodiversity and culture while they walk through the territory. Boat trips and geokayaking in Tagus and Zêzere rivers, may also be enjoyed. Geocircuits in the geomonuments by minibus are available for those less adventurous. There is also the museum network that enbles the visitor to discover about archeology and local culture. Schist shops are available in the Schists Villages, places where schist and local products prevail as in other 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.

Naturtejo Geopark
Centro Cultural Raiano,
Av. Zona Nova de Expansao,
6060-101 Idanha-a-Nova,
E-mail: Carlos Neto de Carvalho
Armindo Moreira Palma Jacinto