The Petrified Forest Park
A tour of the Petrified Forest Park, an unparalleled monument around the world, is a unique experience. The plethora of standing fossilized trunks, and their excellent state of preservation impresses visitors.
The park is accessible via a 5 km long paved road which starts from the 15th km mark of the Antissa-Sigri road.
The region in which the Park was established in 1987 has been referred to as “Kiria Apolithomeni” (Main Fossil site) since the 18th century. This site is the first visiting park of the Petrified Forest, covering an area of 286 hectares. Integrated interventions for the protection and preservation of the fossils have been conducted over the years.
Visitors to the park can tour an entire mountainside along specially constructed trails. During the tour visitors can view the unique displays of Protopinaceae, ancestors of the modern-day pine tree, grouped in small clusters. Most of the fossilized trunks belong to the Taxodiaceae, forerunners of the present-day sequoia which grows on the west coast of the United States. The largest lying coniferous trunk (longer than 20 meters) and the large standing sequoia trunks belong to this family.
Impressive root systems and standing petrified trunks in excellent condition reveal the history of the Petrified Forest to visitors at the Sigri Park
Created by the Natural History Musuem of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, the 30-hectare Sigri Park is located immediately adjacent to the Museum.
The park is an excellent example of a “geotope” because of its rarity and the great scientific worth of its plant fossils which contain information not only about the volcanic rock, but also about the geological development of the region
While walking along the pathways which have been carved out of the hillside, visitors can admire the most valuable finds within the park which are the petrified tree root systems. Root systems of numerous trees have been uncovered well-preserved and in a full stage of development. These roots serve as proof that the trees were petrified in situ. Impressive standing coniferous and angiosperm trunks (Pinoxylon paradoxum, Pinoxylon sp., Pinus sp.) emerging from the layers of volcanic ash and displaying their varied coloration can also be viewed. Sections of a number of fallen petrified trunks have been transferred to the park facilities.
An important protected fossil bearing area is located in Plaka approximately 800 meters south of the village of Sigri. The Agricultural Ministry granted the area to the Museum in the year 2000 in order to create the new Plaka Park of Sigri. Funding for the excavation and promotion of the fossils was provided by a prefectural program (P.E.P.) of the Northern Aegean 2000-2006.
The park can be accessed by the farm road that connects Sigri and Eressos. By following specially made trekking paths, visitors are led to all locations with fossilized trunks. Along these paths are three rest points that provide a view over Sigri and the Nisiopi islet.
From Sigri, visitors can visit by boat the picturesque Nisiopi or Megalonisi islet which encircles the bay of Sigri to the west, thus shaping a safe harbour. Here they can enjoy beautiful land and marine petrified logs. Hundreds of petrified logs with vibrant colours, either lying or standing, have been discovered throughout the islet.
On the west side of the island the action of the waves have revealed giant conifers (ancestors of today’s sequoias) andangiosperms. In the sea, visitors can identify tens of petrified logs just below the surface with their brilliant colours. The density of petrified logs on this island makes it a unique geoptope.
The intense fault activity in the area during recent geologic history is revealed by the tens of faults in the surface and steep cliffs of the island, witness to its recent separation from the rest of Lesvos.
Other Parks of the Petrified Forest
The Hamandroula region, part of the municipality of Eressos, is one of the main locations of the Petrified Forest with a large concentration of fossilized tree trunks. The park was expropriated from the municipality because of its priceless petrified remains, tens of standing and lying fossilized conifer and angiosperm trunks with impressive colouring and preservation of their morphological characteristics of the wood.
Skamiouda Antissa Park
The Skamiouda Park is located outside of the protected region of the Petrified Forest, near Antissa, proving that the extent of the Petrified Forest is much larger than the area that is currently recognized as a natural monument.
Excavation work has uncovered standing and lying fossilized trunks in an excellent state of preservation, and of special scientific value.
The most impressive find is a gigantic lying petrified conifer trunk, length 15 m and circumference ca. 2m with excellently preserved morphological identifiers. This new find belongs to the conifers, an example of the species Taxodioxylon gypsaceumwhich is an ancestral form of the sequoia tree.
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