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Ordesa National Park

Ordesa

Ordesa National Park. The park's landscape is spread over 30,639 hectares (75,710 acres), resting between the borders of France and Spain.

Monte Perdido, The Lost Mountain or Mont Perdu (in French) is the highest peak (3,352 m) of the Ordesa National Park, towering over the landscape of Spain's northern Autonomous Community of Aragón. Monte Perdido earned its title because viewing the park and mountain peaks from the French side, the mountain is obscured by other peaks.

The park's landscape is spread over 30,639 hectares (75,710 acres), resting between the borders of France and Spain. The French regions of these mountains are part of the Pyrénées Mountain range. The Lost Mountain is the third highest peak in the Pyrénées.

There are several legends that surround the mountain, the most interesting one being that "a palace was built at the beginning of time by the mythical Enchanter of the Peaks, Atland, who put a spell on the palace so that only certain people could enter it. Polished walls and towers protected it and hidden behind them were vast gardens and meadows that were like an earthly paradise. The palace is still bound by Atland's spell and can only be entered if you are riding on the back of a flying horse.''

The jagged, arid and layered limestone took their shape after centuries of erosion. The form of the mountains was carved by glaciers and are flanked by waterfalls that form four rivers which flow to the valleys on the Spanish side through two of Europe's largest canyons. The valleys where the landscape turns green and lush with cool moist air from the Atlantic are called Ordesa, Pineta, Añisclo and Escuaín.

Due to the extreme differences in climate between the peaks and valleys, the ecosystem is currently supporting 1,500 species of flora. In the valleys, Holm's oak thrives in the rocky areas while Gall oak can be found in the heavy soiled zones. In the high altitudes, a white flowered Saxifrage flourishes along with two Rock-jasmines, listed as an endangered species.

Many species of fauna also roam the park as several are on red or endangered species lists, such as the Pyrenean Ibex goat (recently extinct in 2000) or the Pyrenean desman, currently on the red list of threatened species. Healthy mammal populations include wild boars, otter, badger, fox, wild cat, and alpine shrew among many others. Bird species, reptiles, amphibians, and amazingly 139 species of butterflies also inhabit the park grounds. About 700,000 of the humanoid type of beast visit the park every year. Apart from the natural attractions, visitors have access to the Eco Museum, Romanesque Chapels, and ancient churches. 

The Ordesa Valley has been a National Park since 1918. In 1997 Mount Perdu, as part of the national park site, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to UNESCO, Mount Perdu has classic geological formation with deep canyons and “spectacular cirque walls.” The landscape is also a beautiful scene with meadows, lakes, caves, forests and mountain slopes. Science is also invested in the area with the large amount of conservation projects in place to ensure the sustainability of the park for generations to come.