Canyons of Albania and geotourism development

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Canyons are among the most interesting geosites created by the erosive activity of the rivers, processes of weathering and erosion or tectonic activity and are distinguished for the aesthetic beauty of the shapes, the labyrinths of the valleys, the steepness of the slopes, the greatness of vertical walls, waterfalls, caves, etc., bearing high scientific, educational and touristic values. Albania has a considerable number of canyons due to the presence of a rich river network flowing through the variety of geological formations and tectonic faults. Outstanding are the wellformed canyons in limestone rocks with almost vertical walls such as Gradec canyon in Çorovoda, Lëngarica canyon in Përmet, Grunas canyon in Theth, etc. The only canyons which are formed on magmatic rocks are the canyons of Devoll. For their values, the most interesting canyons are included in the list of nature monuments as geomonuments. The most magnificent and frequented canyons for tourism in Albania are the Osum canyons, Gradec canyon, Lëngarica canyon and Nivica canyon. These distant impressing landforms, once forgotten and unexplored, are now attracting the attention of many tourists either for admiring their natural scenery, hiking and rafting or for curative tourism. However, despite their values the canyons are not enough known due to lack of information or poor promotion. Filling this gap has served this study where the geotouristic potential of the canyons is evaluated according to four criteria of such as accessibility, state of preservation, scientific value and education value (Solarska and Jary, 2010). The database of the canyons is organized in an inventory card which contains general and specific data of each geosite. The final product of this project will be a website that will inform the public and promote the values of the canyons of Albania.

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