Pyrénées - Mont Perdu

The Pyrenees forms the vector of collision between the Iberian and Western European Plates. It is from this collision that Mont Perdu (3352 meters) rose. The listed site is located on the border between Spain and France on the peak of Mont Perdu.

The most noticeable feature of the Pyrenees is a calcareous massif that is nestled on the heart of Mont Perdu. To the north on the France side, the landscape is more abrupt and features 3 contiguous cirques. Contrastingly to the southern side (Spain’s part) Mont Perdu features 3 radiating spurs with deep canyons that gradually slope into the Iberian Piedmont. Note that Mont Perdu is also called Peridido in Spain.

There are noticeable climatic differences between the northern and southern sides of Mont Perdu. On the French side to the north, you will find some humid weather. Contrastingly, on the southern Spanish side, the slopes are dryer. The climate is also characterized by maritime influence of the west and coastal Mediterranean climate to the east.

The Pyrenees are nestled between 2 major seas and their geology boast the structural and climatic asymmetry that result in a rich mosaic of flora and fauna species. There are 5 vegetation types found in this eco-region including; sub-Mediterranean, Collinean, Montane, Subalpine and Alpine.

The eco-region hosts about 3,500 species of plants, with about 5% of these being endemic to Pyrenees. The site also forms an important habitat for fauna species including mammals such as Spanish Ibex, of which there is only 3 individual female species. Expect to encounter the rich Mediterranean species of avifauna, reptiles, and amphibians.

The area has been occupied by humans since Palaeolithic times (about 40,000 to 10,000 BC) as evidenced by Anisclo and Escuain Caves, the Gavarnie stone circles as well as the Tella dolmen. Documentary evidence starts to talk about these settlements from Middle Ages. Apparently, the Pyrenees have formed an important communication link between Spanish and French communities that border the site.

Two of the major tourist attractions in the area include the Ordessa National Park and a branch of the original route of Santiago de Compostela. Apart from these attractions, there are extensive tourist activities around the Pyrenees including hiking, mountaineering, camping etc.

by Kennedy Runo on 06/09/2014 in Sightseeing