Famous historian Strabo made an expedition 2000 years ago and named the area “Catacecaumene” in Kula district where the youngest volcanic cones and lava flows exist. We come across primitive human footprints near the Divlit Hill cone, one of the volcanic cones in the territory. Besides, animal footprints, sitting and sack traces also exist there. The footprints is about 26 cm (10.24 inches). There are three people who left the footprints. Two of them walks down the hill. The other one who is a child walks upword. Basaltic cinders which arose from Divlit Hill volcano covered and protected these prints.
“Kula, which is described as ‘Catacecaumene-Burnt Country’ by the ancient geographer Strabon in his work Geographika, has more than 80 volcanic cones, fairy chimneys, karst caves, canyons, rock tombs, stone bridges, historical houses. Besides, It contains many geological, geomorphological and natural heritage.
Home to the footprints thought to belong to the first humans, the region is waiting to be discovered.
Kula Geopark Coordinator (former) Erdal Gümüş said in a statement, the oldest footprints in Turkey are located on the westernmost tip of the Kula volcanoes. Telling that a significant part of the footprints, found by chance during the construction of the Demir Köprü Dam in 1969 was taken to the Natural History Museum in Ankara by the Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA) team and kept there, Gümüş stated that the footprints should also be exhibited in the geopark in Kula. Stating that the footprints in question are thought to be the traces left by the people living at that time on the volcanic ashes, Gümüş said:
“The oldest footprints in Turkey are located on the westernmost tip of the Kula volcanoes.This is an important place for researchers.In terms of revitalizing rural tourism, preserving natural heritage and leaving it to future generations there is a very serious potential at the point of both protecting these footprints, which are of great importance and being mentioned in tourism. This needs to be evaluated in the best way.”
The Kula Volcanic Geopark, which covers an area of approximately 300 square kilometers, was approved by UNESCO and Kula Mayor (former) Selim Aşkın and Geopark Coordinator Erdal Gümüş received the geopark certificate at the meeting held in Naples, Italy.
Geoparks, a new concept of nature conservation and area management, that was born in Europe in 2000, entered under the auspices of UNESCO in 2004 and became widespread in a short time. Their numbers reached 58 in Europe and 100 worldwide by 2013.
Geoparks have three main objectives: education, conservation and geotourism.