Terres de l'Ebre, one of the most spectacular natural paradises in the world
Terres de l'Ebre can congratulate itself. We started off the summer with one of the best pieces of news that this area has received in years. We are excited to be able to inform you that after months of hard work and effort, UNESCO has declared most of Terres de l'Ebre to be a Biosphere Reserve. This is a sign of quality which implies international recognition for a region which combines natural treasures of the utmost interest and two ecosystems which are unique in the Mediterranean: the Delta del Ebro (Ebro Delta) and Macizo de Els Ports (Els Ports mountain range) separated by just 30 kilometres.
In 30 years, this committee has recognised 610 reserves in 117 countries throughout the world including the Amazon and Niagara Falls; as well as Doñana, Sierra Nevada, Lanzarote or the Parque Natural del Montseny. The last, in 1978, was the only Biosphere Reserve in Catalonia.
This honour is in recognition of a region where farmers, ranchers, fishermen, craftsmen and artists have discovered a way to survive or find inspiration from the natural resources there, as well as a way of life which has formed its own customs, festivals and of-course the cuisine of products which are among the best in Catalonia.
From Els Ports Natural Park to the Ebro Delta, from the Montsià mountain range to Cardó-Boix mountains, or Pàndols-Cavalls mountains to the lush islands of the Ebro river and delta, this region combines a range of landscapes which change shape and appearance with the passing seasons and the slow but relentless rhythm of nature.
Lets imagine we are in the middle of autumn surrounded by trees with hundreds of years history to tell, standing on a carpet of golden-red leaves. In Terres de l’Ebre, the Faig Pare (father beech tree), Teixos de Marturi (yew trees) and the Pi Ramut (pine tree) remind us of the richness of centuries past in the middle of Els Ports Natural Park. All you have to do is take a look at the Carrer Ample ravine to understand the geology of the stratus forming Els Ports. Yet more evidence of the grandeur of nature which has preceded us and will live on long after.
Following the passing of seasons, in the winter the meadows and mountains of the Terres de l’Ebre should be covered in snow, if this year, 2013, is anything to go by. The snow covered pine trees in Casetes Velles and Terranyes refuge in Terra Alta have served as a reminder of the strength of nature which always changes the colours of the land. All we have left is resignation and admiration.
In spring time, fields of flowers fill our homes with colour again. With the melting of the snow, water winds its way down the mountains eroding the rocks into smooth rounded shapes and forms pools of crystalline water. Places like Estrets d'Arnes (Arnes Straits) or nearby, the Toll del Vidre (Glass Pool), show us how clever this ecosystem is that always nurtures itself.
From Els Ports, going down to the plains of Montsià with its monumental treasures, like the thousand year old olive trees, which lead us on through Mediterranean vegetation to the delta with its immense esplanades of rice fields. In the summer, these fields start to form buds, covering the two halves of the delta on both sides of the river Ebro in a carpet of lush green.
However, not only the surface of the Terres de l'Ebre is in need of mentioning. The seabed from L'Ametlla de Mar to L'Ampolla has one of the most important Neptune Grass colonies along the Mediterranean coast, making it a paradise for scuba divers.
This recognition from UNESCO lies the foundations for Terres de l’Ebre to continue promoting its natural beauty openly and not in the background. This natural beauty, has determined the landscape for generations of people from the Ebro region, now these people want to offer visitors the chance to see for themselves.