|A Privileged Environment
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The Sierra de Guadarrama-Alto Manzanares is located in the Northwest of Madrid Region in an area of 566 square kilometers (218 square miles). It borders Segovia province by Collado de la Fuenfría (Fuenfría Pass), Siete Picos mountain alignment, Puerto de Navacerrrada, High Valley of Lozoya river and the northern slope of the Cuerda Larga to the North; the southern ramp of Hoyo de Manzanares to the south, the alignment of Hormigales, Cuerda de la Vaqueriza and San Pedro Hill to the east and Avila and Segovia provinces by Sierra de Malagón and the alignment of Alto del León-Peñota-Puerto de la Fuenfría to the west. Population in our 12 communities add up to 93,239 people (National Statistics Bureau, INE, published 2010).
This district is one of the areas with most unique Nature and Culture in Madrid's Region. Its natural and cultural qualities together with Historical traditions are found over its mountains, valleys, rivers and communities such as
Becerril de la Sierra,
Hoyo de Manzanares,
Miraflores de la Sierra
Soto del Real.
The historical importance of this district is confirmed with its own Roman, Visigoth and Muslim vestiges. It became very relevant with the Reconquista after the Muslim period, as it developed economically and was repopulated by people arriving from diverse areas of Old Castile. This last point provoked disputes between Madrileños and Segovians on the land ownership, conflict that King Alfonso X "the Wise" put into an end incorporating Manzanares and other 19 towns to the Crown and named it El Real de Manzanares. Regardless, Sancho IV possession of his Crown in 1287 gave back to Segovia these territories to Segovia. Ending the 14th century Juan I handed over Manzanares lands to Pedro González de Mendoza but the lands were passed to other nobles until their property eventually returned back to the
Starting on 16th century, El Real de Manzanares became increasingly fragmented and the old communities that conformed it steadily obtained the privilege of becoming Villages. A breakthrough in local History was the moving of Felipe II's Court from Valladolid to Madrid. This meant a social and industrial development for the Sierra de Guadarrama and implied the building of new communication axes, culminating this process in the 19th century with the advent of the train to a few enclaves in the Sierra.
The district's landscape profusion and quality is evident because of
its water abundance,
to its great mountain alignments of Cuerda Larga, Siete Picos and Cerros de Navacerrada, to the Manzanares-Cerceda and Los Molinos depresions and to the Sierra de Hoyo ramp. Also is important emblematic landscapes as La Pedriza with impressive granitic melts, the Valle de la Fuenfría enjoying high ecological values, the Pico de La Maliciosa and Valle de la Barranca, Peña del Arcipreste de Hita, Puerto de Guadarrama, strategic communications point, and the Puerto de Navacerrada,
and hub between Madrid and Castilla y León. This landscape also constitutes an excellent habitat for the great diversity of flowers and animals with awesome ecological values. Among the plants, there are shrubs (Cytisus oromediterraneus and Common Juniperus), pines, birches, hollies, hazel trees, holm oaks, elms, black poplars, willows and diverse types of bushes and thickets. To be highlighted among the animals are the mammals -roe deers, hispanic goats, wild boars, foxes, squirrels...-, the birds -partdriges, marsh harriers, eagle owls, eagles, fulvous vultures azure-winged magpies, hoopoes, pied wagtails, robins, blue tits, grey herons, mallards...-, fishes -strouts, brook trouts, nases, gudgeons, barbels, carps...- as some unique butterfly, reptile and amphibian specimens.
Its natural values has made this district for decades to be due to research and admiration for agencies such as the Spanish Society for Natural History, The Spanish Trekking Society, the Society for the Research in the Guadarrama, The Free Education Institution, and other institutions focused on spare time. On top of this, in order to protect the protection of the richness of this area, an effort was made to develop the creation of the Regional Park of the high basin of the Manzanares, most of the district's territory is a site of Community interest and work is advanced on its incorporation to the National Parks network.
Human beings presence in the sierra de Guadarrama-Alto Manzanares is dated up to ages before the Roman Empire, even around year 1300 BC. Due to this long-term historical tradition of the district and to the people that populated the area, there still are conserved
authentic heritage jewels, as bridges, Roman roads, castles erected thru the 12th and 15th centuries, churches built since the 16th century, centenary fountains and mills… On top of this, its traditions, artisan occupations,
folk are alive, together with a
exquisite gastronomical culture,
provided by many great quality products as the
Cow meat with Geographic Protected Indication, season ingredients and berries and forest fruits as the celebrated Boletus Edulis.
This great profusion in all aspects is indeed an invitation to get to know the district Sierra de Guadarrama-Alto Manzanares, to flow into its fascinating landscapes, to enjoy its
cozy lodgings, to enjoy its
exquisite cuisine and to discover an interesting culture inherited from one generation to the next.
The stone houses at Hoyo de Manzanares
Sierra de Guadarrama Meat, much more than Meat
Cercedilla: from a place to pass by to a residential area
Manzanares Castle: Half Fortress, Half Dream Palace
Madrid’s Camino to Santiago de Compostela
The primitive ice industry