Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sierra Nevada by Robert Bovington

The Sierra Nevada is the highest mountain chain in the Iberian Peninsula - higher than the Pyrenees and in all of Spain only Mount Teide in the Canaries is higher. At an impressive 3,482 metres above sea level, Mulhacén is the highest mountain in the range. There are fourteen other peaks over 3,000 metres!

Sierra Nevada nr Puerto de Ragua

The Sierra Nevada is both a National Park and a Biosphere Reserve, thanks to its rich ecological diversity and cultural heritage. The mountains teem with wildlife. Ibex share their habitat with wild boar and wildcats whilst in the air, owls, sparrow hawks and eagles soar. Further down, in the Alpujarras, squirrels, badgers, foxes, lizards and turtles are to be found and all manner of birds including robins, chaffinches, woodpeckers, wood pigeons and the hoopoe. In the rivers are trout and salmon. There is a pretty good range of flora too - a recent census revealed that 2100 different types of plant exist in the Sierra Nevada National Park! Chestnut trees, in particular, are abundant here and the local Alpujarran architecture incorporates chestnut beams.

Puerto de Ragua

The southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada are dotted with pueblos blancos - so called because of the whitewashed houses. This is the area known as the Alpujarras and it is popular with tourists who are drawn to the area because of the picturesque villages and the stunning mountain scenery.

Ohanes in the Alpujarra Almeriense

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