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The Vikos Aoos Geopark territory occupies the northwestern part of the Regional Unit of Ioannina in Epirus Region and more particularly most part of the geographical area of the Zagori and Konitsa Municipalities. The area is dominated by the high mountains of Northern Pindos: Tymfi, Smolikas, Trapezitsa and Nemertsika. The rivers of the region belong almost entirely in the Aoos basin and besides Aoos include two more, Voidomatis and Sarantaporos rivers.

The complex morphology of the Vikos-Aoos area impresses the visitor, the viewer, the hiker, the researcher with the deep canyons, the steep slopes, the lithological and color variations of the rocks, the variety of vegetation according to the change in altitude and background and the abundance of surface and spring waters. It is an area with a rich geological history and abundance of excellent geotopes that natural processes have created. The geological formations that make up the geological structure are sedimentary and magmatic rocks that belong to geotectonic unity of the Ionian zone, the Pindos zone and the ophiolite cover of Pelagonikis.

In the Vikos Aoos Geopark, there are important designated archaeological sites, many Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments and mainly modern monuments. Almost half of the area’s settlements are designated as traditional, and in all of them one can find remarkable, in terms of architecture, buildings. Among them are religious monuments such as churches in and around the settlements dated from the 16th to the 19th century as well monasteries built in remote and inaccessible areas, such as the monasteries of Spiliotissa, Rogovou and Soudenon in Zagori but also those of Stomiou, Molivdoskepastis and Kladormis in Konitsa. An integral part of the residential network of the region, that forms an excellent example of the pre-industrial technology and the work of the famous craftsmen of Epirus, is the number of the preserved arched stone bridges, such as the bridge of Kokkori in Zagori and the Aoos bridge in Konitsa.

The Vikos-Aoos Geopark encompasses the entire area of 3 Natura 200 sites (Vikos-Aoos National Park, Timfi mt and Central Zagori) and a significant part of three additional Natura 2000 sites {Smolikas mt, Mitsikeli mt and Douskon/Meropi (Nemertsika) mt}.
Moreover, almost the entire area of the Vikos-Aoos Geopark is located in the Northern Pindos Natioanl park, which is the largest mainland protected area in Greece, covering an area of 2000 km2.

Many hiking and trekking routes lead to the high peaks of Smolikas, Tymfi and Nemertsika and to all other mountains in the area. The ravines of Aoos and Vikos are of great ecological interest, while the waters of the Aoos and Voidomatis rivers are suitable for water activities such as rafting and kayaking. The region is a magnet for lovers of sport potholing, climbing and observation of flora and wildlife.

Like all the Greek Geoparks, the Vikos Aoos Geopark is a member of the European (European Geopark Network – EGN) and the Global Geoparks Network (Global Geopark Network – GGN), which are included in the UNESCO program for Geosciences and Geoparks ( International Geoscience and Geoparks Program), according to which all geoparks as recognised as “World Geoparks Unesco».

The Development Agency of Epirus (EPIRUS S.A.) is recognized by the European and Global Network of Geoparks as the Management Agency of the Vikos -Aoos Geopark. Aiming at the comprehensive and effective promotion and preservation of the Geopark, Epirus Development Agency is assisted by the Institute of Geological and Mineral Exploration (IGME), the Region of Epirus, the municipalities of Zagori and Konitsa, the Regional Tourism Directorate of Epirus and the Management Body of the Vikos – Aoos and Pindos National Park (Northern Pindos National Park), through the Conservation and promotion of the Vikos – Aoos Geopark Committee, which was established and operates exclusively for this purpose.

VIKOS – AOOS GEOPARK
DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF EPIRUS (Epirus S.A.)
Platia Pyrrou & M. Angelou 1, 45332 Ioannina
Tel. 26510- 33686, 83087, Email: epirus@epirussa.gr
(Responsible for communication: H. Papaioannou, G. Kitsaki)
www.vikosaoosgeopark.com

The Vikos Aoos Geopark in numbers:
Surface area: 1.200 km2, Population: 8,000
Minimum altitude: 400m, Maximum altitude: 2637m
Officially-registered Geotopes: 46
Statutory protected areas (National Forests and National Parks): 2