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Viñales: Cuba’s first Global Geopark?

viñalesA group of researchers are currently working on a proposal which could see Viñales become Cuba’s first Global Geopark.

The designation would highlight the zone’s geomorphology, featuring curious mountainous formations believed to be among the oldest in Cuba, stated Mario Alberto Sánchez, director of the National Park located in the area, speaking to Prensa Latina.

The proposal also has the support of institutions such as the Ministry of Energy and Mines, he added.

The title of Global Geopark is awarded by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

In addition to its mogotes (steep-sided residual hills), Viñales has numerous caves where traces of indigenous communities can be found, including prehistoric artwork and important paleontological sites; as well as the Santo Tomás Grand Cave system, visited every year by thousands of international tourists and whose chambers are distributed over seven levels, explained the expert.

The area, noted Alberto Sánchez, also features evidence of the meteor impact which, according to some scientific theories, could have wiped out the dinosaurs.

Viñales is also known for its many fossils which include remains of fish and reptile species which inhabited the Earth during the Jurassic Period, he noted.

UNESCO’s global Geopark network includes over 100 areas across 35 different countries.

In 1999, Viñales Valley and its adjoining town were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape, given the harmonious balance between man and nature and preservation of both old agricultural and artistic traditions.

To visit Viñales Valley is to experience the contrasting scenery of ancient mogotes and tobacco fields tended by campesinos using techniques passed down from generation to generation.

(Prensa Latina)

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