The Geo-Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald is located in southwest Germany, 50 km south of the city of Frankfurt. The Geo-Naturpark covers parts of three states: Hesse, Bavaria and Baden-Würtemberg. Nine counties and 102 municipalities are members of the Geopark, including the University cities of Darmstadt and Heidelberg.
The Geopark territory represents a whole range of geological and human history. The rocks in the area provide a record of 500 million years of Earth history. A real treasure chest here is the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Messel Pit’ with unique fossils and climate archives. This is not the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the area. Within the territory, you can also visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lorsch Abbey and the site of the Roman Limes. There is also a European Nature Reserve for birds, which is situated in the western part.
The geology determines the usage of the land. The landscape varies from agriculture (Rhine valley) and farming (Crystalline Odenwald) to forestry (Bunter Sandstone Odenwald). The river valleys have been settlement pathways in historical times (Stone Age, Celts, Romans…) and are nowadays routes for economy as well as for tourism. As the territory is situated between two metropolitan regions of Rhine-Main and Rhine-Neckar, the region plays an important role as recreational area for several million people and can be reached within one or two hours driving time.
Highlights and Key facts
Rural Heritage Hub
The headquarters of Geo-Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald, located in Lorsch, will serve as the Rural Heritage Hub. Depending on the topic or the location of the activity, some meetings might be held in other places such as information centres within the Geo-Naturpark or offices of cooperation partners.