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Abstract

Loess is wind-blown sediment that covers extensive areas in the middle latitudes. Much of the loess in Eastern and Central–Eastern Europe has been redeposited by the River Danube and its tributaries. The case study area (Vojvodina region) encompasses the confluence area of the Danube, Sava and Tisa rivers. This region includes the most complete and the thickest loess–palaeosol sequences found in Europe, a valuable record of palaeo-climates over the past two million years only recognized in the closing decades of the twentieth century. Long before then however, several enthusiasts, engineers and travellers recognized and appreciated loess as a significant natural phenomenon. Among them was Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli (1658–1730) who gave the first scientific description of European loess in his outstanding multivolume work Danubius Pannonico Mysicus where he drew and explained notable loess–palaeosol exposures along the Danube River. Many other loess observations were also recorded by a number of international travellers, whose illustrated travelogues (mainly published in the nineteenth century) mentioned and illustrated loess observations along the Danube and its major tributaries. This chapter explores the interplay of scientific loess research and its geo-historical literary aspects as the foundations of modern loess geotourism.

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