Picos de Europa
Park Overview
It represents the ecosystems linked to the Atlantic forest. The Picos de Europa have the largest limestone formation in Atlantic Europe, with important karstic processes, chasms that reach more than 1,000 m, very glacial erosion and the presence of lakes. Between its crags inhabits the chamois, in the dense forests the roe deer, wolves and occasional presence of some bear. In the Park there are more than 100 species of birds, among which the black woodpecker and the capercaillie, and among the great raptors, the griffon vulture and the golden eagle. But here there is much more than landscape, there are centuries of history written in the villages, in the valleys, in the churches, in the cabins of the ports and in their roads.
History of the Area
Already in the Upper Paleolithic (between 35,000 and 10,000 years old), the human species appears on the scene. In this period the main activity was hunting. His preference for rock shelters has led to a large number of Palaeolithic caves with the presence of this rock art in the Peninsula.

It is in the Neolithic when man domesticates the first herbivorous animals and learns to cultivate the land. This is how the first settlers of the Picos de Europa emerged, who, settled in the valleys, moved temporarily to the mountain pastures, where the cattle found plenty of food.

Between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC the Celtic peoples arrived. Ancient settlers of these mountains, were a people prone to divinize the phenomena and elements of nature and distinguished by their value in the struggle. The "Mons Vindius" was their God, whom they venerated, who was none other than the "White Mountain", alluding to the white limestone rocks that appear from the Central and Western massifs. Sheltered by their god of Stone, astures and Cantabrians were invincible in the contests until the own Caesar Augusto had to take part to obtain the pacification after ten years of internal fights.

Seven centuries later (year 711), the Arabs arrived and again the rocks offered their protection to the Astures. In this way, Don Pelayo, with a small army, managed to defeat the Muslim army, among those forests and rocky massifs, in the famous battle of Covadonga (8th century). A process that lasted more than 600 years and that became known as the Reconquista had begun.

Throughout the Middle Ages churches and monasteries take center stage, small towns are founded and roads are built around the Picos de Europa.

In these places, life was based on hunting and livestock. Wildlife was so abundant that still in the sixteenth century the men of Abamia went to mass armed with spears. From then until our century, the geographical isolation maintained traditions and inalterable landscapes.

Within the framework of the celebrations that on the occasion of the 12th centenary of the historic battle of Covadonga, on July 22, 1918, it is declared the Covadonga Mountain National Park of the Santa Peña massif. In Covadonga he forged the ideal of National Parks for Spain.

There are many voices that, for a decade, ask for the integration of the rest of the Picos de Europa in the National Park Network, and that a management model be established to ensure the conservation of their natural values ​​and development for their inhabitants.

To this end, on May 30, 1995, the Cortes Generales approved the declaration of the Picos de Europa National Park.

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