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- General Information
- Paleontology in Lesvos
- The Natural Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest Exhibits
- Opening Times
The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest was established in 1994 under the supervision of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and for the purpose of managing, conserving, promoting and carrying out research into the Petrified Forest of Sigri, the second largest Petrified Forest on Earth and arguably one of the largest attractions to the island of Lesvos. It is a member of both the European Geoparks Network and UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network.
To its thousands of annual visitors, the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest is an invaluable source of information on the protected natural monument, whose environmental, paleontological and geological significance remains unrivalled.
The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest is active in the cultural, economical and sustainable promotion of Lesvos and hosts a variety of international events, symposia and conferences, together with a range of film screenings, lectures and exhibitions. It is hardly surprising that so many national and international visitors are willing to brave the distance between Mytilene and Sigri and pay a visit to the Museum. A major pole of attraction to western Lesvos, The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest is paramount to the dissemination of information on one of the most impressive natural phenomena across the globe. In 2001, its invaluable role in the preservation, promotion, study and management of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos earned the Museum the Eurosite Management Award and, in 2004, the Museum was included into the UNESCO Global Geopark Network.
The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest is a splendid accompaniment to any tour of the actual Petrified Forest, whether you opt to use it as a starting point for your excursion or choose to visit the exhibition at the end of your visit to the Park. If you decide to set off from the Museum, do not forget to request trail and park information from one of the staff.
With the ongoing discovery of fossilized trees and vertebrate or invertebrate species in other areas of Lesvos, the Petrified Forest of Sigri bears important freight for the study of the paleontology of the broader island. Lesvos, it would appear, is a treasure-trove of paleontology and natural history, so much so that the entire island has been officially declared a protected Geopark and paleontological, geological and historical research have been ongoing.
The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest covers an area of 1597 square meters and encompasses a permanent exhibition, a temporary exhibition site, an audio-visual center, a laboratory and library, a snack bar, a shop and accommodation amenities for visiting researchers.
The permanent exhibition is hugely worth seeing and affords Museum visitors with a portrayal of the evolution of plant life from the primary single-cell organisms of 3.5 billions of years ago to the eventual development of the Petrifed Forest of Lesvos. The display includes the fossils of an excess of forty different plant species and a range of petrified trunks, branches and leaves, root systems and fruit are displayed alongside the images of the living plant organisms of which they would have been a part. Cinnamon, laurel, beech, oak, walnut, plane, yew, hornbeam, palm and giant sequoia trees are some the species represented in the exhibition.
The permanent exhibition, moreover, sheds light on the range of animal species to which the living forest of Sigri would have provided a habitat twenty or so millions of years ago, among them the early ancestors of elephants, as evidenced by the discovery of the petrified jaw and bones of a dinothere (that in fact constitute one of the oldest fossilized vertebrate findings in Greece and are among the rarest in Europe).
The second main exhibition area has been dedicated to the Evolution of the Aegean and offers a depiction of the geological developments that eventually caused the Petrified Forest to be created, together with the broader geological history of the Aegean region. A description of the volcanic activity and movement of lithospheric plates in the Aegean basin, volcano models and a range of examples of the volcanic formations and rock are among the exhibits.
The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest is open Monday to Saturday, 09:00 am to 18:00 pm and Sundays 10:00 am to 18:00 pm in the summer season (July 1st – September 30th). In the months of winter (October 1st – June 30th), the Museum is open Monday to Saturday, from 09:00 am to 17:00 pm, and between 10:00 am and 17:00 pm on Sundays. Full tickets are priced at 5.00 euros. Family tickets (10 euros), reduced tickets for group visitors (3.00 euros) and concessions (2.50 euros) are also available.
The Lesvos Petrified Forest Park is open Monday through to Sunday, from 09:00 am to 17:00 pm between July 1st and September 30th. Please note that operation times may vary during the winter season (October 1st – June 30th) and that the Park is closed between the months of January and February. During this two-month period, group visits may be organized subject to prior arrangement only - for more information, please dial 22510 – 47033.
- Aдрес: Sigri, Lesvos