The depression known as la Hoya de Baza and the Sierra de Las Estancias

Sierra de Baza

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Granada
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 53,649 hectares

Points of interest

The sierra de Baza with its limestone peaks over 2000m is a relatively humid, botanical jewel between two arid plains of Las Hoyas de Guadix-Baza and the Llanos del Marquesado. It is part of the Cordillera Penibética range with the highest peak of Santa Bárbara at 2,271m. The steep slopes have a covering of pines with oaks and acer.

Thia natural park is home to nearly a hundred and fifty endemic species exclusive to the Iberian Peninsula: Iberian endemics 81, Southern Iberian endemics 51, Granada endemics 17.

Flora

Sempervivum nevadense, once thought only to exist in the neighbouring Sierra Nevada, grows on the rocky ground at the highest peak. This exposed area also holds tight cushions of spiny shrubs that are protected from grazing animals and against weather extremes.

Reforestation schemes have extended the wooded areas and a mix of Austrian, Aleppo and Stone pines. On higher slopes the Nevada Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris subsp. nevadensis) and Corsican pine (Pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii) are important remnants of the original native pine species. With these pine areas grow Juniper,

Phoenician juniper and Spanish barberry (Berberis hispanica). As well as pines there are Gall (Quercus faginea), Holm (Q.ilex) and the shrubby Kermes oaks (Q.coccifera). Shrubs include Peonies (Paeonia broteroi, Paeonia officinalis) Bay laurel (Laurel nobilis), Mountain Ash, (Sorbus aucuparia), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and from the Granada Almeria area only the Sloe (Prunus ramburii).
The lower slopes have been further shaped by man and consist of agricultural land with cultivated cereal crops, interspersed with Mediterranean scrubland and pine trees.

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Fauna

The wide variety of birdlife includes Golden, Short-toed, Booted and Bonelli’s eagles, Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard, Egyptian vulture and Eagle owl. On the ground look out for Crested lark, Red-legged partridge and Hoopoe, with Turtle doves and woodpeckers in the wooded areas.

Mammals include Red, Roe deer, Wild boar, Fox, Badger, Genet, Stone martin, Wild cat and common Shrew.

At the park’s watercourses are water snakes (Natrix maura), southern toads (Bufo terrestris), Betic midwife toad (Alytes dickhilleni) and Spanish Painted Frog (Discoglossus jeanneae).

Also in the area

  • Cave paintings and Neolithic-Bronze remains in the hills of Cerro Jabalcón.
  • There are Arab baths in Baza dating from the 13thC.
  • La Dama de Baza (Lady of Baza) is an early Iberian figure dating back to the 4th century BC. Only discovered in 1971, she is carved from stone with traces of paint decoration. She resides at the archeological museum in Madrid.

Villages in the area

Baza, Caniles, Dólar, Gor, Valle de Zalabí

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de Visitantes Narváez accessible by taking the Baza exit on the A92 at Km 325.

This visitor centre is housed in an elegant, classical style early 20th century building at the heart of the Sierra de Baza Natural Park.

In it, visitors can learn about the biodiversity of the surrounding Sierra, and how its varied flora is influenced by factors such as differences in altitude, climate or relief.

One section of the exhibition is dedicated to local archaeological sites and evidence of Man’s early presence in the area. There is also a display of craft products donated by the local people to demonstrate traditional activities in the Park.

A virtual tour of this information centre can be found here
https://visitas-virtuales.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/junta-de-andalucia/virtual-tour-english/granada/index.htm

There is an excellent magazine website in Spanish language about the area
http://www.sierradebaza.org/


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