Huesca temática

Number 138 - November of 2009Spanish language Principal menu

Ordesa National Park

A National park
of incomparable beauty

      It is located in the central Pyrenees of Huesca, to the north of Broto and Torla furrowed by the Arazas river . Faced in direction East-west, it has a length of approximately 15 km and a width of approximately 3 km in its final part, which comes down to 1 km at the bottom of the vale; its altitude ranges from 1.090 m. in its mouth in the Ara river, to 2.000 m. in the area of the Clavijas de Soaso.
      The whole vale is dominated by the impressives sheer cliffs, with differences that go from 400 to 1.000 m. These walls are in some sectors subdivided by small cornices that give landings of scarce largeness, after outcroping harder calcareous banks . The vale is excavated in the North flank of a big calcareous anticline located towards the South, which axis is situited in the mountain range of the Cutas.
      As a whole is shaped by the glaciers that occupied in the Quaternary, with a circus in the head of the vale, that of Soaso, with a series of landings and steps, named grandstand locally and occupied by cascades, which make lower the level gradually up to its mouth, and also a trough profile of whole vale. Its big beauty has turned it into National Park from 1918.
     It was created by Royal decree of 16-VIII-1918, declaring itself then 2.066 hectares. Later, by Law 52/1982 it is re-qualified and extends, with what the park has 15.608 hectares and a peripheral area of protection about 19.679 hectares. The included municipalities are: Bielsa, Fanlo, Puértolas, Tella-Sin, Torla and Broto. All of them belonging to the region of the Sobrarbe in the province of Huesca. The altitude is between 700 meters of the Bellós river and 3.355 m. of the top of the Monte Perdido. Out-standing peaks are: Monte Perdido (3.3.48 m.), Cilindro de Marboré (3.328 m.),Taillón (3.144 m.), Brecha de Rolando (2.804 m.), ....
     One gains access to the Ordesa vale for the highway CN-260 (Pyrenees route) from Jaca-Sabiñánigo to Biescas and Broto across the Cotefablo port. To Añisclo, Escuaín and Pineta goes over to local highways from the A-138 Barbastro-Aínsa (where it connects with the yrenees route); from Aínsa a regional highway goes to the French border for Bielsa that comes for the entry to the Vale of Pineta, belonging also to the park.
     It is provided with a Center of Interpretation in the entry to the park for Torla (western area) located in the ancient state-run hotel of tourism. Two Centers of Information and general attention that work, also, like thematic museums, are located in Tella; one dedicated to the witchcraft and other to ethnological topics. There is in project for next opening a Center of Interpretation in Bielsa (oriental part of the Park) and two Centers of Information, one in Fanlo and other in Escalona. Also it is next to being inaugurated inside the park, in collaboration with the O.N.C.E., an innovative Center of Interpretation faced towards handicapped persons and blind persons.
     From ancient, this massif has been an object of the attention of geologists, botanists, zoologists, speleologists and mountaineers for the numerous incentives that offers the singular nature of its geology, the variety of its flora and the peculiarities of its fauna. The Monte Perdido, maximum altitude with its (3.348 m). of the massif of Las Tres Sorores, dominates four principal vales: Vale of the Arazas (Ordesa), Cannon of Añisclo, Gorge of Escuaín and vale of Pineta.

      From the geologic point of view it is necessary to emphasize the massif of Gavarnie-Monte Perdido that has been qualified like «an immense geologic poem». So was defining by the French geologist L. Ramond of Carbonnièrsit that reached its summit in 1802, discovering in the surroundings of the lake of Tucarroya quantity of marine fossils that were confirming that the Monte Perdido was an ancient ocean floor during the Secondary Age. The water, due to its erosive power and force has shaped beautiful cracked and deep cavities. The park receives annually like rain or snow between 900 and 2.000 mm. of water. It is necessary to emphasize the big changes of temperature and moisture, so much seasonal as between the day and the night, thermal investments that are reflected in the distribution of the land level of vegetation. The ice has its maximum exponent in two places: the glacier of Monte Perdido and the frozen cave of Casteret.
     The vegetation is very varied, due to the difference of altitudes and orientation; the Edelweis (flower of snow, species protected for being in extinction danger) or rhododendron are very appreciated by the botanists. The forest overcomes 18 % of the entire surface and upholsters the low slopes of the vales coming up to 1.500 meters, at the time that the species are distributed according to the orientation of every vale. So, in Ordesa, of cold and humid climate, dominate the beeches, while in Pineta, more arid, emphasize the pine forests of wild pines. In Añisclo and Escuaín the forest is subMediterranean and is dominated by holm oaks and gall-oaks in the highest parts and bank forest near the river beds. Unlike the stock farm, the forest one is prohibited inside the Park. The flowers present a big variety of species that grow for all the corners of the Park, in the highest tops, between the fissures of the rock, in the shade of the beech grooves. These plants bloom in the spring and summer epoch, as the snow is melting; of between big variety, the primulas, gentians, irises, siemprevivas, sexigrafas, potentillas, merenderas, are some of the most singular species.

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      The fauna also is very varied, having had here its last refuge a species already extinguished (in 2000) like the Bucardo (Capra P. Pyrenaica), considered like the emblematic species of the Park. Between other species also very typical, emphasize; Quebrantahuesos, Buitre Leonado,,l Águila Real, Chova Pitirroja, Tritón Pirenaico, Nutria, Marmota, Sarrio, .........


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