Sobrarbe, the Pyrenees Mountains geopark
- Autonom region: Aragon
Spain has a rich and varied geological heritage. Proof of this is that four of its parks are part of the European Geoparks Network. In this case we present the Sobrarbe Geopark, in the Aragón region. Here you'll be able to learn all sorts of incredible facts about geology while enjoying educational routes and visits to World Heritage Sites. We are sure you'll come again.
Did you know that the Pyrenees were at one time under the sea? Or that they were originally near the South Pole and covered by a mass of glaciers? These are just a few of the curious facts that you will learn in the Sobrarbe Geopark. A place where silence reigns in landscapes of incredible beauty, and home to rocks with over 500 million years of history. Forget the noise and let yourself be captivated by the peace and quiet. The park is in Sobrarbe, a district in Huesca, in the Aragón region in northern Spain.
A natural monument with an age-old history
Over half the area in the Sobrarbe district has been declared a protected area, and first among these is the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, recognised by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. This area includes the Sobrarbe Geopark, whose geological heritage bears witness to 550 million years of history.
We suggest you start your route in Aínsa, a medieval town whose ancient walls are still standing. The visitor centre is housed in the town's castle, and here you can learn what Sobrarbe was like before the Pyrenees were formed at the height of the Ice Age. It will also serve as a starting point for an instructive tour of the points of geological interest in the park. In each area you'll find informative panels with which to interpret your surroundings and to help you understand how the landscape was formed over the years.
Other points of interest are the valleys of the Cinca and Ara Rivers, whose waters converge in Aínsa. Here you'll discover some curious facts, such as for example that sharks, turtles and crocodiles from the Tertiary Sea inhabited this area when it was covered by water –because the Pyrenees were near the South Pole–, and you'll find out how the first settlers in Sobrarbe lived over 10,000 years ago.
The geological richness of Sobrarbe also led to its becoming a major producer of silver and lead. In fact, there is still some mining activity remaining. Of particular note are the mines of the Sierra de Liena mountains and Monte Ruego. If you want to see these mines and the whole park for yourself, you'll find numerous options available at the visitor centre: everything from a screening room for audiovisual films on geology to simple routes by bike around the most important points.
If you're interested in geology, if you're a nature lover, or if you want to discover a rich heritage which is known to only a few, come and visit the Sobrarbe Geological Park. And as you're bound to like it, don't forget that in Spain there are another four geoparks included in the European Geoparks Network: the Maestrazgo Cultural Park, in Teruel (Aragón); the Basque Coast Geopark, in the Basque Country; and the parks in the region of Andalusia: the Cabo de Gata – Níjar Nature Reserve, in Almería; and the Nature Reserve of the Sierras Subbéticas mountain ranges in Cordoba.