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Wallonia’s rural Famenne Ardenne area wins Unesco Global Geopark recognition

06:01 19/03/2019

In a major boost to local tourism, the UN has recognised a large area of Wallonia as a Unesco Global Geopark. The Famenne-Ardenne area – home to the popular Grotte de Han tourist attraction – is the only part of Belgium to have gained this recognition.

A Geopark is a unified area featuring geological heritage sites and landscapes of international significance. Organisers strive for sustainable development and aim to raise awareness of its distinctive natural and cultural heritage, enabling locals to feel a sense of pride and identification with the area.

The recognised area stretches from Beauraing on the French border to Durbuy in Luxembourg province, and includes three river valleys: the Lesse, Lomme and Ourthe.

As well as promoting tourism and environmental development, Geoparks also aim to advance scientific research and open existing works up to the public.

For example, at the Jemelle limestone quarry, operated by local mineral producer Lhoist, there are plans to create a public viewpoint and guided tours to allow visitors to admire the various strata in the rock that have formed over 380 million years.

 

Written by WAB (Wallonia and Brussels) magazine