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Meadows with ash trees near Fuentes de Oñoro.

Photo of Ciudad Rodrigo

Aerial photo of Almeida


Natural heritage
There is a vast wealth of biodiversity thanks to the variations in both climate and soils, of rocks and terrain, as well as of watercourses irrigating these lands.
The vegetation consists of several tree species, mainly the holm oak (Quercus ilex), the Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica) and the narrow-leafed ash (Fraxinus angustifolia). The most extensive woodlands are almost always managed as agroforestry systems referred to as dehesas, with a range of functions—livestock farming, agriculture and forest husbandry— which provide a home for rich biodiversity.
The landscape tends to form a mosaic in which these woodland areas alternate with scrubland, crops and pastures, as well as watercourses that are almost always seasonal, as in summer they are reduced to little more than a succession of shallow ponds.
The sole exception to this intermittent system of brooks and streams is the River Águeda, a tributary of the Duero. All the other streams the trail crosses empty into this one river.
In terms of fauna, besides thousands of different species of invertebrates, the area is home to hundreds of different types of vertebrates. Because of their scarcity, the following are some of the highlights: the black stalk (Ciconia nigra), the Spanish sparrow or willow sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) and the Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon).

Cultural heritage
These districts are of outstanding historical and cultural interest. We may contemplate archaeological remains from the Stone Age—the rock-art of Siega Verde, declared a World Heritage Site—, traces of Celtiberian, Roman and Medieval cultures, bridges that are hundreds of years old, and historical walled cities built to defend the frontier. The concentration of three fortified bastions that are both well preserved and of considerable interest—Ciudad Rodrigo, Almeida, and the Royal Fortress of the Conception in Aldea del Obispo— make this stretch of the Spanish-Portuguese frontier a unique setting not only on La Raya, as the frontier is referred to locally, but also in Europe.
Another truly outstanding feature is the so-called intangible cultural heritage: traditional culture, festivals and other rites, the local cuisine, cultural and sporting events... The most authentic aspect of these frontier districts is the mutual influence they share, which is reflected in all areas of culture, from language through to food.

ALMEIDA 1763, Antonio de Gaver
Ciudad Rodrigo, 1750, Antonio de Gaver



Text and Photos: Juan Carlos Zamarreño Domínguez - Other images: files and publications held by the local councils of Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo and by the Cross-border Consortium of Walled Cities [Consorcio Trasfronterizo de Ciudades Amuralladas].
Any full or partial reproduction of this site for commercial purposes is prohibited without the written permission of the authors and the Consortium.


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