Sierra Nevada mountains
Ragua mountain-pass, where Almeria changes its name by Granada.
Few people visiting Spain know that Sierra Nevada mountains are in a big extension part of Almeria province, and not only in Granada, although this second one has traditionally used commercially the name, thanks to their high peaks Mulhacen and Veleta , worldwide famous because of their ski areas, and because also of the famous Alhambra palaces and gardens at its foothill.
Granada lose its name becoming Almeria just at the place of Puerto de la Ragua (Ragua mountain-pass) at a high of 2000 meters above sea level. The panoramic view so as the pure air are really astonishing, and also it is a small paradise for those in love with geography and geology; coming from Almeria side it is a short-way of visiting Nevada Complex geo-locations without going no more far away.
Just at the top of Ragua peak we will find metamorphic rocks as micaschist and quartzites, the same ones than in Veleta-Granada peak; the symmetry of both slopes at north and south is nearly perfect at this point. Coming down a little bit we will find the next geo-level with more metamorphic rocks as schist and marble, and downhill in the valleys it begin to appear phyllites and dolomites. At the bottom of the mountains, where the highs evolve in hills, we find recent sediment formations coming from the dismantling of Sierra Nevada along millions of years while it was slowly lifted-up (geologically talking). Only can be missed in this area the glaciar landscape, and although it is really there, it is not so prominent as in Granada highs because of the lower altitude of this area, so glaciars where never not so active as in Mulhacen and other Nevada western peaks. As something curious we can say also that some hills built in carbonates, limestone and dolomites (Triasic period around 240 million years ago) can be found in some places at the northern planes.
Water coming from ice-melting generate in Ragua valleys a precious resource of life for the lands underneath, including the so-called Plastic Sea, faraway in the coast; these mountain streams anyway cannot be considered as real rivers, although sometimes after winter snowfalls they can become very active, and the flow can be very intense as dangerous.
Water from Sierra Nevada mountains is the main wealth of Almeria western coast; without it, the miracle of plastic greenhouses would be absolutely impossible. Both legal figures of National and Natural Parks protect this special almerian area, just with its continuation towards West in Granada.
On the other hand we must say that this region is amazing from a natural history and landscape point of view; a real cultural and human landscape absolutely anchored in time, linked to the amazigh (the free men) tribes living here along centuries, cultures that were very difficult to be conquered by the big empires of Rome, Arabs and Christians; although finally the moriscs (descendant people of these tribes) were expelled from Spain, they came back slowly and adapted themselves to a more modern way of life; they (we) feel proud of our history, linked to Sierra Nevada mountains.
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Spanish Highs Mountain Guides, Sierra Nevada, Spain (Sierra Nevada trips in Granada)