This territory stands out above all for its natural richness, borne out by the existence within its borders of an entire national park and part of two others. Added to this is the interesting ancestral human culture, today in sharp decline, due to economic and social reasons, which have led to a massive depopulation since the mid 20th century. History has left important traces, among which we would highlight the medieval churches and castles (mainly dating from the XI and XII centuries), as well as XVI century temples, manor houses and towers.
The Sobrarbe region is situated in the central Pyrenees, taking in mountains as high as Llardana, and Posets, and Monte Perdido, the second and third highest peaks in the Pyrenees. Valleys of renowned beauty can be found in this area of considerably high peaks. Especially outstanding are those of the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park (Ordesa, Pineta, Anisclo and Escuain), situated in an enormous block of limestone rock where the waters carved out deep canyons and caves, and glaciers left behind flat floored valleys. The highlands of Sobrarbe are also formed by other landscapes: they are the pretty areas of Bujaruelo (near Ordesa), as well as the granitic valleys of the Bielsa area, or the nooks and crannies of the Chisten or Gistain Valleys, part of which have been included in the Posets-Maladeta National Park.
Slightly more modest valleys and mountains are to be found to the south of the main range, these are the so called Sierras Interiores (Inner ranges): macizo de Cotiella, Peña Montañesa, Castillo Mayor, Sestrales, etc. (It is worth pointing out that geologically, Monte Perdido could also be included here).
Communications are based around the two main rivers: The Cinca runs through the territory from north to south, while the River Ara descends a good stretch from west to east taking advantage of the Intra-Pyrenean Depression, where the biggest villages are situated (Ainsa and Boltana).
Almost half of the region’s territory lies towards the north, which begins to rise along the Sierras Exteriores (outer ranges). These are limestone mountains, among which the Sierra de Guara stands out, (known for its deep ravines and awarded National Park status). These places have a drier climate and a more Mediterranean vegetation than the wetter valleys to the north.
Textos: Joaquín Guerrero.
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