The valleys of the south of the park, a bridge between the Pre-Pyrenees and the high Pyrenean mountains.
The southern zone of the Natural Park, along the River Noguera Pallaresa between Gerri de la Sal and Sort, is one of its least known areas. It is exceptionally rich due to its situation as a bridge between the more common Pre-Pyrenean sub-Mediterranean habitats and those of the high Pyrenean mountains. Oak, holm oak and give way to Scots pine and you begin to sense you are nearing the High Pyrenees.
The Romanesque sanctuary of Arboló, set on a rocky crag on the left bank of the Noguera Pallaresa, marks the southern end of the Natural Park. It is one of the most important spiritual symbols of the Pallars region, as Our Lady is the patron saint of the county. Not far from here, in Gerri de la Sal, there is another spiritual symbol of great historical meaning, the Romanesque monastery of Santa Maria de Gerri de la Sal, which is entered by crossing a magnificent mediaeval bridge. You can also see the salt pans, a geological and cultural heritage site unique in the Pyrenees
BEAR IN MIND
• Even in deepest winter, when most of the park is snow-covered and largely inaccessible, this is the best area to visit without having to walk through snow. The roofs of the village houses, which are tiled instead of made with stone slabs, are evidence of this.
• On the first Sunday in May there a popular pilgrimage to Our Lady of Arboló. Three masses are held and the Canticles of the Blessed Virgin are sung in the square in front of the chapel. The devotion for this sanctuary goes beyond the annual pilgrimage, as is shown by the fact that a mass is held here every Thursday in summer and that there are always candles burning at Our Lady’s feet.
• The great biodiversity that fills this zone offers a major contrast in vegetation between the mountain pine woods at the top of the Tornafort i Arcalís forest, the pine and ilex in the valley bottom and the extensive riverside woodland along the Noguera Pallaresa
• A Land of Vultures. The rocky crags of this area, such as the Roca del Lladre, are full of the nests of this scavenger and it is very common to see them in flight.
• A Land of Sanctuaries. The Romanesque sanctuary of Arboló, the monastery of Santa Maria de Gerri and the chapels of Serenyà and El Soler endow this land with a magnificent spiritual, historic and artistic content. Arboló is one of the sanctuaries most beloved by the people of this territory. It is dedicated to their patron saint and is one of the most important spiritual areas in the park. Situated on a magnificent natural lookout point over the Noguera Pallaresa, it can only be reached on foot. Santa Maria and its mediaeval bridge form an architectural complex that should not be missed.
• The salt pans of Gerri de la Sal. The name Gerri de la Sal (sal is salt in Catalan) gives you a clue as to the resource on which this place has based its economy for many years and has also given rise to the characteristic physiognomy of the village. A spring of water rich in salts allowed this important and scarce resource to be obtained through evaporation and for centuries it provided wealth for this village and its monastery until well into modern times. You can take an interesting tour of the salt pans and warehouse and Alfolí de la Sal, where you can see the laborious process required to produce a highly appreciated culinary salt.
• Geological singularities: Arboló is located on the façade of the geological mantle of Les Nogueres, exceptional geological outcrops that allow us to interpret the formation of the Pyrenees from its panoramic lookout point.
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