The unknown but impressive gorge of Voulgaris in Lesvos


The area of ​​the gorge is a protected area and an ideal place for birdwatching – Included in the Natura 2000 network, with many rare birds finding refuge there

The island of Lesbos has a unique wealth of geological monuments and landscapes of natural beauty, habitats and cultural monuments which have contributed to its recognition and inclusion in the World Network of UNESCO Geoparks since 2012.

One of them is the gorge of Voulgaris, in western Lesvos, between the settlements of Vatoussa and Antissa. There is created the valley of the Marmantos stream which ends in the Voulgaris river. In one part of this valley an impressive gorge appears.’

The area of ​​the Voulgaris valley has been carved into the volcanic formations of the Vatousa volcano, which was active about 18 million years ago. Large faults affecting and breaking the volcanic rocks, created the conditions for the deep erosion of the volcanic formations.

The water of the Voulgaris River follows the fragmented fault zone and erodes deeply at high speed creating an impressive ravine and steep rocky sides. The action of the water erodes the volcanic formations and creates impressive landforms, even forming small waterfalls.

Protected area, ideal for bird watching

The area of ​​the gorge is a protected area and an ideal place for bird watching. Included in the Natura 2000 network, with a multitude of rare birds finding refuge there. Egrets, black storks, terns, herons, golden herons, cranes and others.

In the winter months and especially after heavy rains such as those of the last days of January this year, the waters that cross the valley of the canyon create a magnificent sight. The route takes place among oak trees, holly trees, ferns, oleanders and of course olives.

According to the director of the Natural History Museum of the Sigri Petrified Forest of Lesvos, professor Nikos Zouros, “impressive geosites like the one in the Voulgaris river gorge dominate every corner of the Lesvos Geopark. Enigmatic buildings that stand tall, forming a unique dream setting, where even every humble rock, in the land of Theophrastus, the first scientist who taught the distinction and classification of stones, has a story”. space with Asia Minor formed a single landmass, while the sea had withdrawn south of Crete and the Dodecanese and west of the Peloponnese and Western Greece. This single landmass was called Aegis.

Lesbos was part of this single land area, which was covered by dense tropical-subtropical forests. Between 21.5 and 16.5 million years ago, intense volcanic activity occurred in the northeastern Aegean region. During this period, the important volcanic centers were created as well as the impressive volcanic structures of the Lesvos Geopark which led to the creation of the Lesvos Petrified Forest.


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