Waterfalls valley in Aragon
For the arid Aragon, the natural park Monasterio de Piedra ("Stone Monastery") with its valley of waterfalls is completely atypical. Passing in these places the river Piedra ("stone"), which gave the name to both the monastery and the park itself, forms a number of water cascades, waterfalls and lakes. All this is buried in the greenery of old trees. This natural park is a real oasis, and for lovers of leisurely walks in the bosom of nature - and paradise. From the top of the Cola de Caballo waterfall, the breathtaking view of the Iris - the most easily accessible from the natural grottoes of Spain - opens. The park, though called natural, but to its creation put a man's hand. Juan Federico Muntadas (1826-1912) was a poet, writer, playwright, philosopher, lawyer, politician, translator and farmer. His family bought an ex-monastery in 1840 for a solid sum of 1.25 million reais. The valley of Piedra made an indelible impression on Juan, and he decided to create a park here after the pattern of English irregular parks of the XIX century, which an extraordinary native of Barcelona liked to visit during his visits to the UK. The landscape itself with descents and ascents, water splashes, the smoothness of lakes and games of light and shadow in the crowns of mighty trees seemed to come off the canvases of artists of the Romantic era. Juan ennobled what nature so carefully created, began to restore the destroyed cells of the monastery and breathed life into this beautiful place. The best representatives of the intelligentsia of Spain of that time were drawn to the oasis. Perhaps, the picturesque farmstead would have remained well-known in narrow circles, except for the entrepreneurial vein of Muntadas. First, in 1860 he discovered the cave Iris. And "made out" through the water of the waterfall Cola de Caballo ("tail of the horse"), which has a 50-meter height. About huge stalactites and stalagmites, twined with ivy, seen in the grotto, Juan was ready to tell the whole world. And the world heard him: today the cave is a mandatory point of the park visitors program.
The former Cistercian monastery in good weather is reflected in the surface of the Lago del Espejo ("Mirror Lake") Juan Federico Muntadas - a man who opened the world a natural park. Secondly, in 1867 the owner of the "Stone Monastery" created the first in the history of Spain, a fish farm, where trout, crayfish and salmon were bred. Thirdly, in 1869, Muntadas saw a lake near the monastery of incredible beauty, in the surface of which, like a mirror, rocks, trees and clouds were reflected. The water in the pond is almost always calm, so it was called Lago del Espejo ("Mirror Lake"). And to Juan came a new thought: what if local water has medicinal properties? Carried out all the necessary research, and it was officially recognized that the local waters contain bicarbonates, calcium and iron, useful for health.
So in Spain appeared the first spa center - the predecessor of what is today in the building of the former monastery. Well, "the water" in the natural park was stretched not only creative class of the XIX century, but also those wishing to improve their health. After that, Monasterio de Piedra became the visiting card of the province of Zaragoza, and indeed of the whole of Aragon. By the way, today's tourists are necessarily photographed at the monument to Juan Muntadas, surrounded by the wild nature that he so loved during his lifetime. The general route along the paths and paths of the park is about five kilometers. The administration claims that it can be overcome in a couple of hours, but if you do not rush anywhere and just walk, enjoying the views and clean air, then you can spend the whole day in the park. The route is simple and does not require special training from tourists, but to go to the park is in comfortable shoes and clothes - there are no cobbled paths here, and the abundance of water gives a tangible cool even in extreme heat. In addition to the largest waterfall - Cola de Caballo - it is worth to look and waterfalls smaller: Trinidad, Caprichosa, Sombría, as well as Lato de Los Patos ("Lake of ducks") and all kinds of low cascades, the most famous of which is Baño de Diana (" Bath of Diana ").
Several times a day in the park there are shows with the participation of birds of prey: eagles, eagles, falcons, kites and owls. The show is not only entertaining, but also educational - visitors are told about the significance of these birds in the ecosystem of the natural park and the whole region.
The monastery was declared an object of cultural interest in 1983. The tower built during the time of the Arab rule and, of course, it is necessary to visit the ruins of the monastery that gave the name to the natural park. It was founded in 1194 by 13 Cistercian monks on the site of a former Arab fortress. Construction took six centuries, so the building combines elements of early Gothic (XIII century), Gothic Renaissance (16th century) and classical baroque (XVIII century). Although now the monastery is pretty much destroyed, its ruins seem very picturesque, and the preserved decorative elements amaze with the elaboration of details. By the way, the monastery operated until 1835, when the monastic order was disbanded by a royal decree, and the building was auctioned to the very family of Muntadas.
Price* of tour from Valencia, Castellon, Barcelona, Peniscola
1 - 3 people 550 euro.
4 - 6 people 690 euro.
The duration of the tour takes an average of 11 hours. The itinerary can be changed a little: it depends on the time of your arrival and on where exactly your hotel is located in Barcelona. Traveling around Barcelona will be on our transport. Parking at the airport and on the route is included in the tour price. Please note that the tour does not include entrance fees and meals.
* The price does not include VAT (IVA) of 21% which is added upon non-cash settlement.