Efforts are underway to elevate the UNESCO status of the Cappadocia region, which has already possessed a place in the world heritage list, with its geopark.
In 1985, the Cappadocia region, renowned for its natural formations, underground and aboveground cities, as well as its fairy chimneys, earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Now, there is a concerted effort to broaden its recognition by seeking UNESCO Global Geopark status,a designation that encompasses both its existing World Heritage and potential new geological status.
“The UNESCO designations consist of three tiers: World heritage sites, biosphere reserve areas and geopark areas. There are very few places worldwide that hold all three of these distinctions at the same time,” academic Ahmet Serdar Aykaç told the İhlas News Agency.
Reminding that the Cappadocia Geopark Project commenced three years ago, Aykaç said that in 2022, the Global Geoparks Network identified the world’s 100 most important geosites, with Cappadocia and Pamukkale from Türkiye making the list.
“Upon the completion of the Geopark project, if Cappadocia attains UNESCO Global Geopark status, it will indeed establish itself as an exceedingly rare and valuable site, simultaneously holding two UNESCO designations,” he added.
Geoparks prioritize the preservation of a region’s natural resources and values while simultaneously emphasizing sustainable development, he said.
“In this regard, geoparks make a significant contribution to education, culture, science, and the socio-economic structure of their respective regions,” Aykaç noted.
“Additionally, the geopark should lead to the promotion of tourism across the entire province of Nevşehir. Visitors to geoparks are individuals with a special interest in geosites and geotourism. Therefore, it represents a niche tourism sector. Given its nature, this type of tourism generally attracts individuals with a higher economic and educational background who hold deep respect for nature and the culture of the region.”