Sierra Nevada and surrounding areas
Sierra Nevada:The Sierra Nevada region borders the Alpujarra and Marquesado del Zenete. The Sierra Nevada National Park is home to the highest peaks of the Iberian Peninsula. From the heights of the Veleta and Mulhacén peaks you can contemplate the Mediterranean Sea. Sierra Nevada is an alpine natural paradise in the heart of Andalusia, with mild summers and cold winters. Among its snow-capped peaks, its rivers and forests we find villages full of charm, between the monumental city of Granada and the imposing massif of Sierra Nevada Mountains. The villages, immersed in the natural environment and preserving all the flavours of local traditions, breathe silence; they are ideal places to enjoy tranquillity and rest. Many of these towns date back to Islamic times when they were dedicated to agriculture and silk production. The Muslim footprint can be seen in the network of channels that collect the meltwater from the peaks of the Sierra Nevada to transport it to the villages on the lower slopes. Due to its abundant native fauna and flora, Sierra Nevada was declared a Biosphere Reserve, later a Natural Park and finally National Park. It is one of the best ski resorts in Europe.
Flora and Fauna:The flora or the vegetation in the Sierra Nevada National Park varies widely as you ascend the hills and mountains: from the richly wooded lower slopes to the fragrant herbs and flowering shrubs of the low mountain areas, the Alpine meadows at around 2000 metres and the sparser scrubland of the high mountain areas. The highest peak of the Sierra Nevada, and of the Iberian peninsula is the Mulhacén mountain which stands at 3480 metres. With regard to the fauna or animals of the Sierra Nevada, there are around 80 different animal species with the most striking being the mountain goat. Of course there are many small ground animals such as lizards and rabbits and we can see a wide variety of beautiful bird species.
Traditions:There are more than 20 towns and villages in the area, each with its own unique history, traditions and culture for visitors to experience throughout the year, especially in the Alpujarra. From North to South and East to West, beauty spreads everywhere; the beauty of the natural landscape is complemented by that of the man-made environment. Inside many of these towns and villages there are also small local museums where local history is displayed. There are numerous half hidden spaces, nooks and corners in the Alpujarra where tradition, customs and culture are preserved; particularly through the many local fairs and markets. Although this is one of the quieter corners of Spain, the towns of Alpujarra experience a considerable increase in the number of inhabitants in the summer months thanks to the numbers of visitors. This has contributed to the slow but steady development of a variety of resources and facilities to serve and entertain the visitors to the region.
Geology:The core of the Sierra Nevada is formed by materials from the Palaeozoic era, mainly micaceous slates, of low hardness. There are four zones, geologically speaking:
- The central part, the area of the main heights of Sierra Nevada, with the typical shales or metamorphic slates.
- Around the central part, there is another area of varied rocks: quartz, garnet, amphibolite, serpentine, gneiss, marbles, some quite metamorphosed volcanic rocks and formations of the Triassic phyllite “launa”, rock used as a covering on many of the typical roofs in the area.
- The “outer” zone is formed by a belt of Dolomites and Triassic limestone, and as a more characteristic example we have the Trevenque peak (2,079 m.) And the Alayos de Dílar (1,982 m.)
- Finally, in the surroundings tertiary lands extend: clayey and conglomerate extensions.