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PATRIMONIO MUNDIAL PYRNES-MONT PERDU

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Pirineos-Monte Perdido

www.pirineosmonteperdido.com

Collecting and harnessing the power of water

Water is an essential element in mountainous environments: not only is it one of the main agents responsible for shaping the landscape but it is also a source of life and ensures the survival of natural ecosystems.


Throughout history, water has been crucial to the everyday lives of the people living up in the mountains. Back in prehistoric times, the first Palaeolithic hunters and fishermen and women used rivers as their main thoroughfares, since following water courses enabled them to penetrate deep into the mountains to reach the best hunting grounds and fishing spots.



Water may have been important up in the mountains, but it was even more so on the Monte Perdido massif, as it was scarce in places far from rivers due to the calcareous nature of the rock.
The presence of water was a determining factor for animal husbandry up in the mountains and affected the everyday lives of shepherds and drovers. Refuges and mallatas (refuges with animal pen and land) used by shepherds are often evidence of the presence of springs or streams.

In addition, water has had an enormous impact on communications and the expansion of crops and settlements.
For centuries, the people living up in the mountains have had to build bridges and walkways across rivers and gullies, thereby creating some of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes in the Pyrenees-Monte Perdido World Heritage Site, such as the spots by the San rbez Bridge and over the Bellos River gorge and the bridge in Bujaruelo.



Humans have also harnessed the power of water to move artefacts capable of improving their quality of life and contributing to society's growth and development. Mills, waterwheels, irrigation ditches, channels and dams were built, providing precious goods and assets such as flour and electricity.