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Natural Parks in Andalusia

Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park Cordoba

Natural Parks in Andalusia

Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park Cordoba

The Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park, located in the southern province of Córdoba, belongs to the limestone Betic mountain ranges. The beauties of the territory together with the cultural values of its towns make this natural space into a special kernel of Andalusia. The Cueva de los Murciélagos, with its archaeological remains dating back to the earliest settlers of the area in the Neolithic period. Since then settlements of different cultures have left their mark on this Mountain Range.

The limestone nature of the materials that make up the mountain range is one of its main attractions, where you can observe typical Karstic formations. The characteristic rock outcrops provide a very uneven relief, with strong rises of up to 1,500 metres, narrow valleys and large hills slopes and stony land. On the surface it can be observed from the lanchares in the Cerro de la Ermita, sinkholes almost circular depressions whose edges are often steep, typical limestone structure. In this mountain saw the poljes of La Nava and Fuenseca have superficial drains fixed by man, so we can say that none of them is active.

The underground galleries and caves belonging to the endogenous karst manifestations are more abundant. We have to highlight the “Cueva de los Murciélagos”, whose first signs dating from 1897, but that was not explored until 1937. This cave, a real jewel from the archaeological point of view, consists of several rooms in which you can see beautiful stalactites and stalagmites typical in karst caves. However, its importance lies in its painted walls and archaeological site. Studies have been dated to the inhabitants of the cave as the Neolithic period, showing the Andalusian Neolithic excavations that it was older than previously thought.

The vegetation is typically Mediterranean, but we can differentiate various communities. Thus, in forest ecosystems are two different communities: oaks together with peonies and gorse, hawthorn, daphnes, matagallo … in the sunny and open places of the mountains, and the gall oak, located in the north-facing slopes with less sunshine and high humidity, accompanied by a thicket of laurustuinus, Kermes oak, buckthorn, smilaxes and strawberry. These forests have a rich fauna highlighting the goshawk, sparrow hawk, the booted eagle, wood pigeon, wild boar and wild cat.

In the areas with kermes oak, whitethorn and mastic tree, mainly inhabited by rabbits, foxes, common kestrels and hedge sparrows.

In the higher areas of the sierra we can find a vegetation of spiny thicket whose main species are: blue broom, fine broom, aliqueta, pendejo … that cannot be seen anywhere else in the province. Even there are some endemic birds such as Echinospartum boissieri.

The groves and riparian communities are not well represented because there are few and minor waterways that traverse the Park. On the banks grow poplars, willows, tamarisk, hawthorn, blackberries, etc. and we can emphasize the Mediterranean mammal of Cabrera that found in these mountains its southernmost distribution. We can also cite the coastal bat, kingfisher, the dipper, snake, viper and the terrapin.

As this park is rich in rocks and limestone outcrops, the most characteristic birds are the rapacious highlighting: the golden eagle, griffon vulture and the peregrine falcon, whose population is the largest in the province. We also can observe the blue rock thrush, the red rock, the Alpine Accentor and the crow. Among the mammals we find the marten and the wild goat.

The economy in the area is based on agricultural harvests and livestock. It has great importance small game, occupying a significant percentage of the surface the private hunting.

The main production comes from the olive grove in the area specializing in olive harvest. In cereal crops, wheat and barley, the area used is very small and it is needed flat lands for the machinery. The almond tree is the only dry fruit noted for its cultivation, increasing the area in recent years by the rise of Christmas products.

The mountain villages have great artisan tradition of sweets, emphasizing in Luque the “panecillos de cortijo”, the mostachos and aniseed ring-shaped cake, as well as muffins of Rute with anisettes or brandies.

The goat herd is the most important to shift the production to the production of milk and meat in the background, leaving the skin. It is made in extensive natural pastures of the mountains. Sheep breeding is also extensively mainly for meat, both as pascual lamb while wool is considered in the background.

The area has been colonized by various towns since ancient times. The main current populations are located in ancient Roman sites, such as Cabra (called Igabro), Carcabuey (Alcobita) and Iznájar (Ángeles o Soricaria). During the Muslim period are consolidated these nuclei and appear Zuheros, Priego and Luque highlighting its importance in the Reconquest to be part of the Castilian defensive belt.

Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park Municipalities:

CabraCarcabueyDoña MencíaIznájarLuquePriego de CórdobaRuteZuheros

La Tiñosa

La Tiñosa, with its singular silhouette, represents the highest point of the province of Córdoba, with 1570m. Numerous trekkers and mountaineers venture to climb its summit in all seansons.

The rocks that constitute La Tiñosa were formed in the sea, more than 150 million years ago, although the mountain range itself was configured  15 to 5 million years ago. During the Alpine Folding, the rocks that lay on the sea floor were pushed, folded, faulted and finally elevated beyond the thousand meters in our province. La Tiñosa toponimy reveals some of its geological features.

The term comes from the word “tiña” (tinae), a funga illness that produces patches on the skin, similar to the patches of steep slope deposits made of loose clasts that were originated by the action of freezing-thawing of water in the cavities of the rock (gelifraction).

Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park

Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park from Carcabuey

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