UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGs) are comparable to national parks and UNESCO World Heritage and Biosphere Reserves. Saimaa Geopark received the UNESCO status in April 2021 after years of preparatory work, and the status is valid for four years at a time. Before Unesco granted this status there were plenty of background preparations e.g. Natura 2000 – areas and development of nature tourism in the area.
Saimaa Geopark is a unified area formed by nine members (Mikkeli, Juva, Sulkava, Puumala, Ruokolahti, Imatra, Lappeenranta, Taipalsaari and Savitaipale) and it is located in South Karelia and South Savo. The area has special geological value. There are nationally and internationally significant geological landscapes and attractions or sites of archaeological, ecological, historical or cultural importance.
Saimaa Geopark includes numerous geo, nature and cultural sites in different member municipalities, and those are presented on this website: https://www.saimaageopark.fi/en/geosites/
This picture shows Pursiala Pothole in the area of city of Mikkeli. This pothole is about 11 300 years old and it is one of Finland’s biggest (depth 8m, diameter 2-3m). It was formed in the veined gneiss rock consisting of mica gneiss intersected by younger granite dikes. “Turned stones” have also been found in connection with the pothole and some of those are also in the photo.