Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Picos de Europa and Covadonga

Picos de Europa, the peaks of Europe, were apparently so called because they were the first sight of Europe for ships returning from the Americas. It's 650 square kilometers and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Rio Sella, which entailed a treacherous walk down from the road

...and a treacherous walk back up

Covadonga is a village in the Picos de Europa where in 722 AD, Iberian Christians won a battle that is considered to be the start of the 770-year effort to reclaim the Iberian peninsula from the Moors. There are a number of structures here, including the Basílica de Santa María la Real de Covadonga, built between 1877 and 1901:

Across from the Basilica is Santa Cueva de Covadonga, a Catholic sanctuary in a cave


The cave is the final resting place of the Visigoth nobleman Pelayo (died 737 AD) who started the dynasty that established the modern country of Spain.

Nearby is the town of Cangas de Onis, which sports a "Roman" bridge that's actually pretty obviously Gothic; the Romans never made it here.

Traditional architecture, including a number of horreos, or grain storage buildings on pilings to keep the critters out

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