Idrija with new Visitor centre of Idrija UNESCO Global Geopark
The Danube GeoTour project ending in June 2019 connects eight EU countries with six UNESCO Global Geoparks, one aspiring geopark and one national geopark. It will result in a joint Danube GeoTour involving a variety of itineraries, and comprise a set of innovative geoproducts and geointerpretation sites, based on the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Danube region. With the activities, the involved partners want to establish a smart balance between preservation and geo-tourism growth, to develop the Danube Geotour as a unique sustainable tourism product, to strengthen partnership, and to enhance visibility of the Danube Geotour as well as the participating geoparks.
In one of the working packages of the project, the partnership is dealing with the interpretation of the geological heritage. Since geology is an extremely difficult topic to explain and interpret to the public, the first activity within the working package was to screen best practices and new trends in geointerpretation, and implement geointerpretation training. All participants gained new skills to interpret selected geological topics: tectonics, water, geo-time, metamorphic rocks, geohazards, dialogue between Earth & Man, and geomorphology. Each partner is working on one of the selected themes and piloting one activity, which is part of the Geopark's Visitor Centre or other Geopark's infrastructure. Our focus was also that pilot interpretation will add value or be part of the innovative geoproduct developed in another working package of the project.
In the Idrija UNESCO Global Geopark the selected challenge for interpretation was tectonics with its major role in shaping the morphology of the area, as well as mineralisation of the mercury ore deposit. One of the main tectonic features of the area is the Idrija fault with its strong seismic activity in the past. The already mentioned and other tectonic features (thrusts, faults, tectonic windows, etc.) importantly influence nature, the surrounding landscape and morphology, and, last but not least, history, lifestyle and character of the people. This is the general story and the underlying theme of the new Visitor Centre, which will be constructed as a pilot action in the Idrija UNESCO Global Geopark. Furthermore, in addition to the Idrija story, the new Visitor Centre will involve and present partner geoparks in terms of exhibited replicas of rock specimens and augmented real life presentations in different parts of the exhibition.
Finally, our goal is also to encourage the visitors to the Idrija UNESCO Global Geopark to pay a visit to other geoparks in the project as well, and even wider. To help achieve this goal the promotion tools, developed in the final work package of the project (digital map, image brochure, short image video and Danube GeoTour info stands) will also be on display in the Visitor Centre. The latter will open its doors to visitors on October 24th. The Danube GeoTour project is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA).