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«Pirineos-Monte Perdido»


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This will cross-reference all available documents in our data base related to the UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Visigoths

First wave

The first Germanic peoples arrived in the Iberian Peninsula in 409. These were the Suevi, the Vandals and the Alani, who crossed the Pyrenees but did not stop in Tarraconensis.

Visigothic Kingdom

The Visigoths invaded Hispania in 472. They entered via Roncesvalles and occupied a number of cities in the Ebro valley, such as Osca (Huesca).

With the establishment of the new Visigothic Kingdom, with its capital in Toledo, a new period of history began in which virtually all the institutions of Roman origin, as well as their internal administration and organisation, remained in place.

Consequently, it is very likely that our valleys continued to look to Boltaña as their chief town and remained part of the territory governed by it.

This period saw the consolidation of large agricultural properties, which were closely connected to the Church and its episcopal representatives, such as the bishop of Huesca.

Hermitical life, a new kind of Christian religious expression, also spread at this time, embracing pagan beliefs and others of a magical nature dating back to pre-Roman and Roman times.

In the Pyrenees-Monte Perdido area, we find an ancient and highly-revered site, the Cave and Shrine of San Úrbez in Añisclo, evidence of the early era of Christianity in these lands.

Conflict with the Franks

The Franks began to assert themselves on the other side of the Pyrenees and forced the Visigoths to garrison the Pyrenean passes.

In Gistaín, very close to the Pyrenees-Monte Perdido World Heritage site, the Visigoths set up the Cestavvi mint. Coins that have been found provide clues regarding the existence of the military details quartered here to repel the Franks and to prevent them from advancing southwards.

The Visigoths lost almost all of the south of Gaul and, in 672, Count Hilderic of Nîmes and Duke Paulus hoped to create a kingdom that would cover southern Gaul and Tarraconensis, pitting themselves against the Visigothic king Wamba. The Toledo army, under Wamba's command, defeated them in battle in the Ebro valley.

The end of a kingdom

The Visigothic Kingdom centred on Toledo had always been unstable and was beset by wars throughout its existence. Eventually it fell in the spring of 711: its last king, Roderic, was fighting in the north against the Vascones and Cantabri even as the kingdom was being invaded by an enemy whose strength had been underestimated, the Arabs.