The Domain at the heart of Belgium’s very first UNESCO Geopark

The Domain of the Caves of Han is located in the Famenne-Ardenne UNESCO Global Geopark, which was awarded in 2018 UNESCO Global Geopark status by the UNESCO, a first in Belgium! The label is an undeniable boost for our international, scientific and, socio-economic expansion, but also the development of our tourist potential.

But what does the label mean exactly? Well, a UNESCO Global Geopark, as its name already suggests, is a label awarded by the UNESCO to a single, unified geographical area which boasts geological heritage sites and landscapes of international significance. A UNESCO Global Geopark strives for the sustainable development of an area, and tries to raise local awareness of its distinctive natural and cultural heritage, enabling locals to feel a sense of pride and strengthen their identification with their area.

The Famenne-Ardenne UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the southern part of Belgium, covering a surface area of 911km² and is composed of three distinct River Basins: the Lesse, the Lomme and the Ourthe. The area offers a unique geological potential that is highlighted in different fields, such as tourism and scientific research. Obviously, these unique locations include the famous Cave of Han as well as our Wildlife Park. The landscape is made out of three distinct geological areas: the northern Famenne, a vast schist-laden depression, the southern Ardennes, a vast plateau mainly made out of sandstone rocks and, the central Calestienne, a limestone bench, which is dotted with karst phenomena, among which the stunning Caves of Han.

Geopark

By the way, the Geopark’s logo symbolizes the Belvaux sinkhole, which is located in the very heart of the Domain of the Caves of Han’s Wildlife Park. The sinkhole is where the river Lesse disappears into the limestone rock of the Boine Massif. The Lesse then winds its way through the Cave only to resurface on the other side of the hill that houses the Caves of Han, at the place known as the Trou de Han. The river totally disappearing and then resurfacing (this is called resurgence) is a hydrogeological phenomenon that is unique in Western Europe!

The area has a long-standing tradition as a popular holiday destination, attracting visitors not only from Europe, but also from all over the world....The Famenne-Ardenne Geopark is definitely essential sightseeing! For more than a century, the Cave of Han has been the driving force in the expansion of tourism in the area. It is the only natural attraction in Belgium to have been awarded 3 stars in the famous Michelin guide!

Read more about the Geopark