Sierra de Baza Natural Park – Granada
Sierra de Baza Natural Park Granada – Andalusia
The Sierra de Baza Natural Park, belonging to the Cordillera Bética, is located in the central-eastern province of Granada. It emphasizes like a spectacular mass of vegetation, with altitudes above 2,000 m, which stands between agricultural plains.
The archaeological findings, testimonies of former residents, are abundant in the Sierra de Baza, including Iberian outstanding figure of “La Dama de Baza”.
The Sierra de Baza is located in the province of Granada, in its eastern sector bordering the province of Almería. The population located is low, having a clear forest vocation, with livestock use. The area is crossed by numerous trails that give us the opportunity to see its beautiful landscape. Its solitary environment and the inaccessibility of its peaks provides a suitable habitat for more than ten species of raptors that with its spectacular flight and hunting habits give us a good show.
The Natural Park of Sierra de Baza, part of the Cordillera Bética in the southern Andalusia region, is located between two large plateaus that correspond to the Hoya de Guadix-Granada and the Llanos del Marquesado, representing a geographical feature with a great spectacularity. The heights of its peaks are located between 1,200 and 2,200 metres corresponding its higher parts to much eroded limestone rocks with slopes almost perpendicular and only colonized by a vegetation of small-sized plants adapted to high winds and low temperatures. This habitat of rocky, isolated due to difficult access, it is very appreciated by the large predators that use it as a resting place and breeding.
The fluvial issue consists mainly of fluvial streams flowing into the river Baza, integrated into the Guadalquivir basin. In the gullies it is developed an interesting community that takes advantage of high humidity, an unusual characteristic in this area, and where typical species of forest are growing. The limestone nature of the mountain mass causes a flow of underground water that flows in the form of fountains and springs, among which we have to mention La Fuente de las Vilorias, Fuente de los Atrevidos, etc.
In this mountainous area the vegetation changes as we ascend in height, being influenced by the temperature, the humidity and the level of wealth of the substrate. We can distinguish different groups; the lower areas with gentle slopes are colonized by oaks accompanied by a stratum with abundant herbaceous peony. Large areas are very degraded and replaced by cultivated lands. Above we can observe a thorny shrub next to a tree cover of oaks and maples that can withstand lower temperatures and poorer soils. However the most part of the plant surface corresponds to repopulations of Corsican pine, Aleppo pine, pine nigra, with a shrub layer of evergreen Eurasian shrub and juniper. Another interesting spot from the botanical point of view corresponds to the community of thyme, only species in the mountains located in the Blanquizares.
With regard to the fauna we can say that in this mountain inhabits a rich community of birds, as there is a mosaic of biotopes. Raptors are the most important group, finding species like the goshawk, eagle, golden eagle or owl. In the preserved remains of Mediterranean forests are abundant the small mammals like stone martens, wildcats and badgers. The groves of the rivers provide the only wet biotope though they are scarce and are highly degraded. There abound in the common frog, water snake, snake, viper, common shrew, Cetti, common fly.
This mountain range has been an area inhabited since ancient as evidenced by the remains of the Palaeolithic located on the Mount Jabalcón, where cave paintings bear witness to the settlements of primitive man. The main archaeological remain, at least for their special beauty, corresponds to the “Dama de Baza”, an Iberian sculpture from the IV century BC. The remains of the Vía Augusta are also important because they match the road that connected the Betic with Rome.
The city of Baza had an important border role in the Arab period, which preserves some interesting monuments such as the Collegiate Church of the Cathedral, built on an ancient mosque. Arab baths of the Jewish quarter of the XI century have been restored being nowadays of public property.
The resources of the area are mainly in wood extract, in particular of the planting of pine forests that are managed by the AMA and cattle sheep and pigs, sometimes with problems of overgrazing. There are famous the cattle fairs in the town of Gor. Agricultural areas are almost non-existent except in the north, where there are some terminals foothills of La Vega de Guadix and Baza dedicated to irrigated farming.
The local cuisine is simple but of excellent quality with typical cold meats from its cabin, we can taste delicious cheeses. Their traditional sweets indicate an extensive past cultures that have left in its inhabitants the collected traditions for centuries of cohabitation.