Monfragüe (Spanish: Parque Nacional Monfragüe) is a Spanish national
park noted for its bird-life. It is situated in the center of a
triangle formed by Plasencia, Trujillo and the city of Cáceres within
the province of Cáceres.
Monfragüe is also a comarca (county, with
no administrative role) of Extremadura, western Spain.
2.2 Roman period
2.3 9th-19th century
2.4 20th century
3.2 Other wildlife
6 External links
Monfragüe is a comarca in Spain, i.e. a county, with no
administrative role in Extremadura, western Spain.
Monfragüe is famous for its national park by the same name, which is
noted for its bird-life. It is situated in the center of a triangle
formed by Plasencia, Trujillo and the city of Cáceres within the
province of Cáceres. The park runs from east to west along the valley
of the River
Tagus or Tajo. which cut through a long
mountainous ridge, and created a rock face, the Peña Falcon, 'falcon
rock' on the western side. On the eastern side is the
Castle of Monfragüe. The River
Tietar enters the park from the
north-east and joins the
Tagus just to the east of Peña Falcon. The
only village in the park is Villareal de San Carlos (population
28). The park occupies an area of 18.118 hectares.
The area´s and the Park´s name comes from the Roman "Monsfragorum",
monte fragoso (Spanish) which means "lush mountain".
The mountains of
Monfragüe house a great number of caves with
prehistoric paintings from the copper age, bronze age and iron age for
example the "Cueva del Castillo", located on the south face of the
Sierra de las Corchuelas. Around the Park are remains of pre-Roman
times. In Miravete remnants of an old castle exist, and in Malpartida
Plasencia there is an estate known as "El Calamoco". A warrior
stele found in
Torrejón el Rubio
Torrejón el Rubio and the Treasury of
evidence of a highly hierarchical agricultural society inhabiting this
Remains of Roman roads, bridges, fountains and gravestones can be
found, since the park is close to the Ruta de la Plata (Silver Route).
A section of the route, which goes down to the bridge of the Cardinal
from Villarreal, can be considered as a vestige of Roman road. As in
almost all Spanish geography, valleys provide the layout for the road.
Remains of watchtowers exist, in Cerro Gimio for example.
During the ninth century, the castle of
Monfragüe was built with five
towers and two perimeters of walls. What is visible today are remnants
of multiple restorations after military orders conquered it for King
Alfonso VIII, with a round tower from the twelfth century and a
pentagonal one from the fifteenth century.
Juan de Carvajal
Juan de Carvajal ordered the Cardinal's Bridge to be built
entirely from granite ashlars; it facilitated communications between
Plasencia and Trujillo. Since the bridge was practically the only one
Tagus in the Extremadura, it gave rise to pillage,
turning the area into a "paradise" of bandits and robbers hidden in
its steep and impenetrable mountain ranges.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Spanish War of
Succession seriously affected the area: The village of Monfragüe
disappeared, inhabitants took refuge in the nearby village of
Corchuelas, and the village of
Piñuela at the other end of the
mountain range was seriously damaged.
Carlos III de Espana
Carlos III de Espana founded a
village halfway between the "port of La Serrana" and the Puente del
Cardenal, called Villarreal of San Carlos. It had a church, a fountain
and barracks, but in spite of the privileges granted to its
inhabitants, it never became more than a small village linked to
Serradilla due to the danger and poverty of the area.
Spanish War of Independence
Spanish War of Independence destroyed the Castle of Monfragüe,
the Bridge of the Cardinal and Castillejo del Pico in Miravete and
Corchuelas, whose inhabitants fled to Torrejón the Rubio, Serradilla
and Malpartida de Plasencia.
Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War in the nineteenthirties, the Extremadura
was taken over rapidly. Rather than the conflict itself, the worst
aspects were the hunger and poverty which followed. The impenetrable
mountains with their maquis shrubland of the region were important to
the highlander groups commanded by famous guerrillas like
"Quincoces", "Chaquetalarga" (Joaquín Ventas Cintas) and "the
French" (Pedro Díaz Monje),
In 1966, construction of the dam at Torrejón el Rubio, and the
Alcántara Dam in 1969 altered the landscape irreversibly, as it
submerged the wild beauty of the
Tagus riverbanks along with its
ecological and ethnological wealth.
In 1968, Jesus Garzón arrived in the area, enamored of the beauty of
Monfragüe and dedicated himself to nature conservation. He battled
with the administration, the owners of neighboring estates,
politicians and mayors of the area, but his commitment, supported by
scientists and nature lovers resulted in the April 4, 1979 declaration
Monfragüe as a natural park, a lower level of protection than a
Monfragüe was declared as a
Special Protection Area for
birds, During the following years, the conservationist mentality,
the infrastructure in Villarreal and publication efforts about the
riches of the Park were strengthened. Since 2003, it has been
UNESCO as a Biosphere reserve. In May 2004, it was
enlarged to the actual ZEPA "
Monfragüe y Dehesas del entomo", which
covers 116.160 hectar. After twenty-five years
Monfragüe became a
national park by law on March 2, 2007.
At the end of 2016, the area also received recognition as a dark-sky
Habitats in the park include extensive dense scrub, small oak
woodlands, and numerous cliffs and rock faces. The land is mainly used
for traditional, low-intensive farming. However,
there were two major changes in the years 1960-70: the river
dammed, affecting its course through the park and in 1970 brutal
reforestation with non-indigenous eucalyptus and pine began. For a
planned but never built paper industry in
Navalmoral de la Mata
Navalmoral de la Mata many
hectares of the Park were desolated and irreversibly altered by
terraces built with heavy machinery. The Sierra de Miravete and
ravines of the streams Malvecino and Barbaón received a hard blow and
important thickets of the Mediterranean forest disappeared.
The non-indigenous species are being eradicated.[when?] Commercial
forestry is prohibited in Spanish national parks.
Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in flight over the park.
In 1988 the
European Union designated Monfrague a
Area (SPA) for bird-life. The SPA (or ZEPA, the equivalent acronym in
Spanish) extends beyond the park, where the nesting sites are
concentrated, into the surrounding dehesas, which provide food for the
Monfrague is an outstanding site for raptors, with more than 15
regular breeding species. including the world's largest colony of
Eurasian black vulture
Eurasian black vulture (over 200 pairs), it has the world's highest
concentration of imperial eagles (more than 10 pairs), a large
population of griffon vulture, and several pairs of Spanish imperial
eagle, golden eagle and Bonelli's eagle. The crags
and cliffs on the north side of the river midway through the park draw
photographers from all over Europe and the Americas. The government
has built observation blinds throughout the course of the
Other breeding birds for which the park is important are black stork
Eurasian eagle owl
Eurasian eagle owl and there is a high density of azure-winged
magpie. It is also one of the few locations in Europe where
white-rumped swift breed.
Iberian lynx has survived here. Deer and wild boar live in the
National Park of Monfragüe, in Extremadura. View from the Castle.
Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in the rocks of Monfragüe.
Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in the rocks of Monfragüe.
Bridge over the
Tagus River as it passes through the national park.
Jara in bloom in Monfragüe.
Deer during the 2008 roar.
Bee feeding on nectar in the
Monfragüe National Park.
Tagus River as it passes through the park.
Evergreen oaks (
Quercus ilex ) in the dehesa de Monfragüe.
El Salto del Gitano and the lookout for birds.
Puente del Cardenal, Monfragüe. It is only visible when the level of
Tagus River is very low.
^ a b (in Spanish) Spanish Ministry of the Environment website
Archived 2010-01-07 at the Wayback Machine..
National Park TURESPAÑA , August 2016
^ a b c d e f g h i j Monfragüe: Historia Ministerio de Agricultura y
Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, not dated, retrieved 29 May
^ Quinoces El Hombre De Las Tierras Altas, 12 March 2011, retrieved 29
^ Maquis En
Extremadura El hombre de las tierras altas, 11 September
2009, retrieved 29 May 2017
^ Biosphere Reserve Directory, UNESCO
Monfragüe distinguido como Destino Starlight de Extremadura
PlanVex, December 2016
BirdLife International (2012) Important Bird Areas factsheet:
Monfragüe. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/06/2012
^ a b
National Park www.spain.info Turespaña, 2018
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Monfragüe.
Official site Ambiente, Gobierno de Extremadura
Website about Monfrague National Park
National Parks of Spain
Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici
Atlantic Islands of Galicia
Caldera de Taburiente
Ordesa y Monte Perdido
Picos de Europa
Tablas de Daimiel
Comarcas of Extremadura
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Tierra de Badajoz
Tierra de Barros
Tierra de Miajadas
Tierra de Mérida - Vegas Bajas
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Tierra de Trujillo
Tierras de Granadilla
Valle del Ambroz
Vegas del Alagón
Valle del Jerte
Zafra - Río Bodión