The Hateg Country Dinosaurs Geopark is located in the central part of Romania ,ina very fertile region ,surrounded bymountains from all directions. The Geopark covers an area of102.392 hathatincludeatown (the town of Hategwith 13000 inhabitants ) and 10 communes ,the total population of the Geopark areais about 39000 people. Besides the very picturesque landscapeswith numerous glacial lakes onthe top of the mountains ,at more than 2000 m high, deep gorges ,caves, alpine forests,meadows , orchards andcrops) the region hostsremainsof the human history from Paleolithic to Roman Antiquityand from the Middle-Ageto the Modern time.
Impressive are the ruins of the ancient capital of the Daciaprovince of theRoman Empire at Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana ,the numerous medieval churches andfortresses , as well asthe remains of themore recent castles and nobiliarymansions.
The region isworld-wide known for its "dwarf dinosaurs" from the end of Cretaceous, 65 millionsyears ago and this specialpaleontologic heritagehas inspiredthe name ofour Geopark. Almost adozen ofdinosaur species,both herbivorous andcarnivorous were described from the region,based onskeletal remainsfound in fossilfluvial and lakedeposits. Dinosaur eggs and hatchlingswere also discoveredin the same deposits , as well as manynon-dinosaur species,all the classes of vertebrates ,from fishes to mammals being represented in thefossil faunalassemblage. Very spectacular in this assemblageis a huge pterosaur (flying reptile ), that was named Hatzegopteryx ,from the name of the region andthe town; this enormous creature, one of the largest flying animal who ever lived ,if not the largest one, hada wing -span of 12 m.
Another geologic event that is well documented in the Geopark arethe volcanic rocks-tuffs ,lavas and volcanic bombs that markthe volcanic eruptions that took place in the region during the dinosaurs existence .
Allthenatural, historical and culturalsites from the Hateg region, so abundant hereandsignificant, not only for the restricted area of the Geopark, but for the entire Romania , are integrated within themanagementplanof the Geopark . This planhas as main strategic pointsthe conservation and arrangements of the sites in order to allow tourist visits and their use forecological and scientific education . The development ofa modern tourism in the regionis only onemajor objective of the Hateg Geopark , forwhichthe development ofinfrastructures ( agro-tourist pensions ,roads and information-points ) and the creation ofnew tourist attractionsin the region, are envisaged. Amongthe new attractions , the creationan open-space museumof dinosaursto includethelife-size reconstruction of the speciesfrom the Hategregion is the most important.
Another major objective ofthe Dinosaur Geoparkisthe educationof the youth,to bring them closer to the nature and to the understanding ofits equilibria, aiming thusto determine amongthe young generationthe development of a newattitude ,of protection and conservancytowards the nature .
Therevitalization of the folkloric and handicraft traditions in this region that wasmostly inhabited in the past byfarmers and shepherdsrepresentsanothertaskof the Geopark . The “Hateg Country " is renowned bythe specificity of the peasants" costumes,in only two colors - black and white , by the villagers music and dances as wellas bythe handicrafts ,especially woolentissues and woodensculptures.
The HategCountry Dinosaurs Geoparkis expected to playan active role in the economic and social development ofthis territory ,which is confronted witha serious economic recessiondue to the collapse of the coalminingandmetallurgic industries in the area.
The planning of activities related tothedifferentobjectives is based onneeds analysis study analysis within the local communities andscientificstudies, allperformed by students andprofessorsfrom a consortium of universities including different specialties :Geology. Geography, Biology, Ecology, Architecture ,Sociology ,Agriculture.
A special role in developing the activities is played by the local communitieswhich are determined to contributeto thewealthrisingo their own region.The activities are financed through projects and contribution of the localmayoralties.
The Hateg Country Dinosaurs Geopark is a member of the European Network of Geoparks since March 2005. The close cooperationof our Geopark with the other European Geoparks is an essential elementin ensuringa successful development of this ambitious project.
Professor Dr. Dan Grigorescu email@example.com
Lecturer Alexandru Andrasanuaalex@geo.edu.ro
Bothfrom the University of Bucharest,Faculty of Geology and Geophysics.