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Title: Bridging natural and cultural values of sites with outstanding scenery : evidence from Gozo, Maltese Islands
Authors: Coratza, Paola
Gauci, Ritienne
Schembri, John
Soldati, Mauro
Tonelli, Chiara
Keywords: Geomorphology -- Malta -- Gozo
Cultural landscapes -- Malta -- Gozo
Dwejra (San Lawrenz, Malta)
Azure Window (San Lawrenz, Malta)
Fungus Rock (San Lawrenz, Malta)
Cultural geography -- Malta -- Gozo
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Coratza, P., Gauci, R., Schembri, J., Soldati, M., & Tonelli, C. (2016). Bridging natural and cultural values of sites with outstanding scenery: Evidence from Gozo, Maltese Islands. Geoheritage, 8(1), 91-103.
Abstract: The paper focuses on a site of outstanding scenery located along the NW coast of the Island of Gozo (Malta, central Mediterranean Sea), which was included in Malta’s UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 1998 on the basis of the four criteria related to natural properties. The aim of the study is to bridge scientific and cultural values of the Dwejra area by examining, in particular, its geological and geomorphological features, which have been fundamental in shaping such a spectacular scenery and determining its historical and cultural importance. The coast of the Maltese Islands, has had a series of occupiers over the last ten millennia leading to the development of a high density of coastal uses. Such uses superimpose on both a diverse range of aesthetic natural qualities and also different cultural properties that have changed over time. Sinkholes were a source of shelter on rectilinear coasts and are now areas that attract visitors due to their outstanding natural beauty. The low sloping limestone coast provided an ideal geological setting for salt panning production, whereas today these are the main areas for recreational activities. Over the years, the investigated area has, however, suffered the pressure of diverse human activities, often leading to conflicting interests and resultant landscape damage. As a result, geoconservation aspects of this site have often been at the centre of national debates. In the light of these issues, this work aims at providing a better understanding of the geological and geomorphological value of the Dwejra area, in order to strengthen the basis for setting-up a sustainable geoconservation plan, which includes geotourism issues.
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