It is located in the southeast of Navarra bordering Aragon and in the center of the immense basin that is the Ebro Valley and is bounded by the Iberian and Pyrenean mountain ranges. The Parque Natural de las Bardenas Reales is a terrain sculpted over millions of years by erosion. Its origin goes back to the Tertiary, when the collision of the European and Iberian plates gave rise to the formation of the Pyrenees, the Iberian Mountain Range and the Sierra de los Catalanides, creating between them an immense closed basin with no access to the sea to which the watercourses from these mountains came down the slope with such force that they eroded the slopes on which they fell, dragging a large quantity of materials that were then deposited on the walls and bottoms of the lakes and marshes that formed in the basin. Ten million years ago this basin was opened by the Catalan coast and the water that was accumulated found drainage in the Mediterranean, thus emerging the river Ebro and beginning the erosive process of materials accumulated until then. The landscape of the Bardenas Reales that is contemplated today is the one formed by the deposits of materials coming from those mountains, chiseled later by the true craftsman, an intense erosion. Water and wind have carved these surprising shapes. The hand of man has not been a stranger either in the Bardenas where archaeological sites have been found that demonstrate the human presence in the area back in the Bronze and Iron Age.
For the Romans, the Bardenas Reales did not go unnoticed either, integrating them into their administration. Between the Christian and Muslim kingdoms, the Bardenas became a frontier. According to writings, the territory of Las Bardenas was already a royal patrimony when the Reconquest, since King Sancho García in 882 ceded these lands, so that the sheep herds could take advantage of the pasture, to the people of the Roncal and Salazar valleys for their help in the battles against the Muslims. The titularity of Reales comes given to them from their belonging to the kings of Navarre. And when this kingdom was incorporated into the kingdom of Castile, their continued possession was real, which continued to give concessions and privileges over them in exchange for favours and payments. The Community of Bardenas Reales has existed for a very long time. It is a historical entity that manages the territory and is made up of Congozantes, nineteen villages on the banks of the river, a monastery and two Pyrenean valleys, to whom these rights belong. Felipe V granted the right in perpetuity and exclusively, on April 14, 1705, after payment of 12,000 reais of eight, to the community of congozantes of the use and exploitation of Las Bardenas, which until the beginning of the twentieth century has been mainly livestock and then shared land with agriculture. Regulations and ordinances on the activities and rights over them are powers of the Community of Las Bardenas Reales, whose organs are the General Assembly, the Permanent Commission and the President, although the ownership of the Bardenas belongs to the government of Navarre.
In this extensive territory, semi-desert and unpopulated, but with landscape and natural values that have led it to be declared a Natural Park in 1999 and Biosphere Reserve and Place of Community Interest in 2000, the visitor is surprised by the unique forms of ravines, plateaus and solitary hills, called cabezos. The "cabezos" and "cortados" are the most striking landscape elements of the entire Natural Park. There are three areas: El Plano, a small plateau for agricultural and livestock use and the habitat of many steppe species. The Bardena Blanca, characterized by whitish soils of desert aspect, is the most photographed and visited, in it are the main formations like the head of Castildetierra or the one of Pisquerra. And the Bardena Negra, on the border with Aragon, where the terrain darkens giving way to forests of Aleppo pine, unique to the area. Other corners of the Bardenas that attract attention are, for example, the Vedado de Eguaras, where you can admire a small circus surrounded by gypsum ravines. El Rincón de Bú, where eagle owls, golden eagles and Egyptian vultures nest. Landazuria that extends to the feet of the hill of the Virgin of Our Lady of the Yugo. Las Caídas de la Negra, located in the Bardena Negra is a place that has a set of cracks that reach 270 meters deep. In short, to walk through the park is to discover beautiful and unique landscapes, inhospitable or desert but where life flows, as evidenced by the large number of different species of fauna that have found their ideal habitat there. Birds of prey such as the peregrine falcon, booted eagle, griffon vulture... Steppe birds such as the Great Bustard or the Lark. Mammals, reptiles and even trout, barbels or tench that swim in water ponds.
The Bardenas Reales have traditionally been a true source of energy resources where in other times woodcutters and charcoal burners prevailed.
The cabezo of Castildetierra, in form singular has become an emblematic symbol of the Bardenas Reales. Besides enjoying small hills of strange shapes, ravines and dry riverbeds, we will also find abandoned houses and cattle grazing around the place. In the Bardenas Reales, television commercials, music videos and various films have been shot.
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Legend has it that Sanchicorrota, a very famous bandit who lived in the fifteenth century, ordered some residents of the area to build an artificial cave, which is believed to be the existing one in the cabezo that bears his name, where they can take refuge and prepare their assaults, and so that they could not disclose the place of settlement killed the builders. And the story goes on to say that the horseshoes of their horses were opposed to the reverse to mislead their pursuers, because as a good outlaw who prides himself, his head had a price.
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Although there are different accesses to the Bardenas Reales Natural Park, the main one can be found on the NA-134 road that joins Tudela with Arguedas, being shortly before arriving at the latter from Tudela where we will find the road that will lead us to the Bardenas Reales Interpretation Centre. Also along the NA-128 between Caparroso and Carcastillo and between Carcastillo and Sádaba we will have several signposted accesses, tracks that cross the Bardenas Reales.
There are different authorised routes both for motor vehicles and for bicycles which are appropriately signposted and identified at the different entrances to the park and once in the park.
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10:00 h.501 km.
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