Our geological heritage

By Constantia Achilleos

29 June 2017

Expert: Konstantia Achilleos
Category: Expert Insights

The aim of Troodos Geopark is the protection and display of the geological heritage of Cyprus, a term which is  little known, and yet important to the island’s history. The geological history of Cyprus began about 92 million years ago with the formation of the Troodos rocks and continues until today with the continuous uplift of the island. What we see today is rocks and minerals that consist of raw materials from ancient times.

Since the Paleolithic Age, settlements in the island were constructed using indigenous rocks, even the tools and weapons of the principal residents were made of stone. Later during the Bronze and Iron Ages, the metal-enriched margins of Troodos were exploited for the manufacture of metallic tools, coins, figurines and jewellery. However copper production increased exponentially during the Roman Period where it was used even in medicine.

Traditional architecture is distinctive feature of Troodos geology. Dry stone constructions as well as building and decorative stones of the island are samples of bedrock in each region. A group of rocks classified as ‘natural pigments’ were used as paints in ancient churches, and earlier on pottery. Nowadays, raw materials for many industrial products, such as paints, cement and until recently pipes from asbestos, derive from underground sources.

The bedrock, enriched with metallic elements, formed the fertilised topsoil of the area for the production of agricultural but also farmed products, otherwise known as geoproducts. On the other hand, biodiversity and also fauna characterize the diversity in rocks (geodiversity). Finally water resources and climate of Troodos are due entirely to its rocks’ features and uplift of the area.

It is proven that our geological heritage is important, not only for the natural and cultural landscape, but also for the residents’ wellbeing and the welfare of the island. It gives nature splendour that someone can enjoy on the geotrails and nature trails. Hence the Troodos Geopark occurs as an ‘open’ museum and university for its visitors, giving them the opportunity for education and recreation.

A version of this article was featured in the Trooding Newspaper issue 2.