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Pyrénées - Mont Perdu

Pyrénées - Mont Perdu

This outstanding mountain landscape, which spans the contemporary national borders of France and Spain, is centred around the peak of Mount Perdu, a calcareous massif that rises to 3,352 m. The site, with a total area of 30,639 ha, includes two of Europe's largest and deepest canyons on the Spanish side and three major cirque walls on the more abrupt northern slopes with France, classic presentations of these geological landforms. The site is also a pastoral landscape reflecting an agricultural way of life that was once widespread in the upland regions of Europe but now survives only in this part of the Pyrénées. Thus it provides exceptional insights into past European society through its landscape of villages, farms, fields, upland pastures and mountain roads.

Pyrénées - Mont Perdu

Ce paysage de montagne exceptionnel, qui rayonne des deux côtés des frontières nationales actuelles de France et d'Espagne, est centré sur le pic du Mont-Perdu, massif calcaire qui culmine à 3 352 m. Le site, d'une superficie totale de 30 639 ha, comprend deux des canyons les plus grands et les plus profonds d'Europe sur le versant sud, du côté espagnol, et trois cirques importants sur le versant nord, plus abrupt, du côté français – formes géologiques terrestres classiques. Ce site est également un paysage pastoral qui reflète un mode de vie agricole autrefois répandu dans les régions montagneuses d'Europe. Il est resté inchangé au XXe siècle en ce seul endroit des Pyrénées, et présente des témoignages inestimables sur la société européenne d'autrefois à travers son paysage de villages, de fermes, de champs, de hauts pâturages et de routes de montagne.

البيرينيه – الجبل الضائع

هذا المنظر الجبلي فريد من نوعه ويمتد على طول الحدود الوطنيّة الحاليّة لفرنسا واسبانيا ويقع على قمّة جبل القديس ميشيل وهو كتلة كلسيّة تبلغ أعلى قممها 3352 متراً. ويضمّ الموقع الممتد على مساحةٍ إجماليّة قدرها 30.639 هكتاراً اثنين من أكبر جبال أوروبا وأسحقها عند السفح الجنوبي من الناحية الإسبانيّة وثلاثة محاور مهمّة عند السفح الشمالي الأكثر شموخاً من الناحية الفرنسيّة ناهيك عن أشكال جيولوجيّة أرضيّة كلاسيكيّة. كما يُشكّل هذا الموقع موقع رعاية يعكس نمط حياة زراعية كان سائداً في ما مضى في مناطق أوروبا الجبليّة. وظلّ هذا الموقع أبيّاً على التغيير في القرن العشرين وهو يجسّد بقراه ومزارعه وسهوله ومراعيه وطرقه الجبليّة شهادةً نفيسةً على الحياة الأوروبيّة السالفة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

比利牛斯——珀杜山

这处雄伟壮观的高山景观,横跨法国与西班牙当前的国界,以海拔3 352米的石灰质山——珀杜山顶峰为中心,方圆30 639公顷。在西班牙境内的是欧洲两个最大最深的峡谷,而在法国境内更加陡峭的北坡上则是三个大片环形屏障,充分代表了这里的地质地貌。除了雄伟的山脉,这个地区还有着恬静的田园风光,反映了农业生活方式,这种生活方式曾在欧洲高地非常普遍,而今却仅存于比利牛斯地区。在这里,可以通过村庄、农场、原野、高地牧场和崎岖的山路这些独特的景观,去回顾久远的欧洲社会。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Район горы Мон-Пердю в Пиренеях

В центре этого замечательного высокогорного массива, охватывающего пограничный – между Францией и Испанией – район в Пиренеях, возвышается известняковая гора Мон-Пердю, достигающая 3352 м. В состав объекта наследия площадью 30,6 тыс. га входят два глубочайших в Европе каньона (на испанской стороне) и три крупных ледниковых цирка (во Франции). Здешние пасторальные ландшафты иллюстрируют сельскохозяйственный уклад, ранее весьма типичный для горных районов Европы, однако к настоящему времени сохранившийся лишь в этой части Пиренейских гор. О прошлых временах напоминают селения, поля и фермы, горные пастбища и дороги.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Pirineos - Monte Perdido

Situado a ambos lados de la frontera entre Francia y España, este extraordinario paisaje montañoso tiene por centro el macizo calcáreo del Monte Perdido, que culmina a 3.352 metros de altura. El sitio, que se extiende por una superficie de 30.639 hectáreas, cuenta con formaciones geológicas clásicas: dos cañones, los más grandes y profundos de Europa, situados en la vertiente meridional española; y tres grandes circos glaciares en la vertiente septentrional francesa, que es más abrupta. Además, el Monte Perdido es una zona de pastoreo donde se puede observar un modo de vida rural muy extendido antaño por las regiones montañosas de Europa, que sólo se ha conservado intacto en este lugar de los Pirineos a lo largo de todo el siglo XX. Su paisaje formado por aldeas, granjas, campos, pastizales de altura y carreteras de montaña constituye un testimonio inestimable del pasado de la sociedad europea.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ピレネー山脈-ペルデュ山
フランス・スペインの国境を画すピレネー山脈の最も美しい景観は、標高3352mのペルデュ山周辺に集中している。石灰砂岩からなるペルデュ山地域30639haのスペイン側にはヨーロッパ最大かつ最深の2つの渓谷があり、フランス側には3つの巨大な圏谷がある。この一帯はまたかつてのヨーロッパの農業生活様式を反映した農村、牧場、畑地、牧草地、山道などの農業景観を今も変わらずに残している。

source: NFUAJ

Pyreneeën - Mont Perdu

De Pyreneeën liggen op de grens van Frankrijk en Spanje, gecentreerd rondom de top van de Mont Perdu, een kalkhoudend bergmassief van 3.352 meter hoogte. Het berglandschap beslaat 30.639 hectare. Aan de Spaanse kant bevinden zich twee van de grootste en diepste ravijnen van Europa. Op de meer bruuske hellingen van Frankrijk zijn drie grote cirque muren (bergen met een arena-achtig midden) te vinden. Het landschap weerspiegelt een agrarische manier van leven die voorheen wijdverspreid was in de berggebieden van Europa, maar nu alleen nog voorkomt in de Pyreneeën. De dorpen, boerderijen, velden, weiden en bergwegen geven inzicht in de vroegere Europese samenleving.

Source: unesco.nl

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Gavarnie Cirque. Pyrénées - Mont Perdu (France, Spain) © UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The calcareous massif of the Pyrénées - Mont Perdu, located on the border between France and Spain, is composed of classical geological landforms, notably deeply-incised canyons on the southern Spanish side and spectacular cirque walls on the northern slopes within France. Centred around the peak of Mont Perdu that rises to 3,348 m, covering a total area of 30,639 ha, the property offers an exceptional landscape with meadows, lakes, caves and forests on the mountain slopes. The northern slopes have a humid maritime climate while the southern slopes enjoy a drier Mediterranean climate.

Human settlement in this region dates back to the Upper Paleolithic period (40,000 – 10,000 B.C.) as the sites of the Añisclo and Escuain Caves, the stone circles at Gavarnie and the dolmen at Tella bear witness. Documents from the Middle Ages have recorded these sedentary settlements in history. They were located on the slopes of the massif and neighbouring valleys, formed by the hydrographical river network that irrigated the fields along the valleys in the north, and the trails and roads, bridges, houses and hospices (such as the espitau/hospices of Gavarnie, Boucharo, Aragnouet, Parzan, Héas and Pinet).

These installations were at the centre of an agro-pastoral system based on the movement of livestock, sheep, cows and horses to higher pastures during the summer months, clearly distinct from the use of the land in the neighbouring plains. The Mont-Perdu valleys and their passes served as links between the two communities, that had more in common with each other than with their respective communities in the plains. Consequently, the legal and political system specific to the region, established long ago, has a long history of independence from central governments.

The exploitation of high pastures such as those of Gaulis or Ossoue are an invaluable testimony to this transhumance system. This is one of the rare places in Europe where transhumance has been maintained over the centuries. By ancestral agreements, Spanish farmers also graze their herds on the French side. This practice strengthens the transboundary nature of the World Heritage property. 

Criterion (iii): The pastures and meadows of the Pyrénées – Mont Perdu, with their villages and trails that link them, are a remarkable witness of a very rare transhumance system in Europe, still practised by seven communities that mainly live adjacent to the property.

Criterion (iv): The high valleys and the calcareous summits of the Pyrénées – Mont Perdu are an outstanding example of a landscape shaped by a pastoral transhumance system that was developed in the Middle Ages and still exists today.

Criterion (v): The model of the habitat of the Pyrénées – Mont Perdu with its villages, fields and meadows, as the basis of a seasonal migration of men and animals to the high pastures during the summer season, is an outstanding example of a type of transhumance that was once widespread in the mountainous regions of Europe, but which today is rare.

Criterion (vii): The property is an exceptional landscape with meadows, lakes, caves, mountains and forests. In addition, the region is of great interest for science and conservation, possessing a panoply of geological, panoramic, faunistic and floristic elements that make it one of the most important Alpine protected areas in Europe.

Criterion (viii): The calcareous massif of Mont Perdu presents a series of classic geological landforms such as the deeply-incised canyons and spectacular cirques. The region is distinguished by its location at the tectonic collision point between the Iberian and west European plates. The property presents an exceptional geological unity, forming a calcareous massif withMont Perdu at its centre. The resulting landscape is considerably different on the northern slopes (France) and the southern slopes (Spain). 

Integrity

With regard to human impact, the Pyrénées are part of the Europeran continent inhabited by humans for thousands of years and within which very few regions still retain their natural integrity. Despite the occurrence of numerous changes over the centuries, development has not affected the geology of the site, nor its topography, while the transformation of the biological environment has remained harmonious. A great part of the region, in particular the Spanish side, has undergone little change. On the French slopes pastoral and forestry activities still remain. Transhumance continues in the region with frequent movements of the herds from one side of the Franco-Spanish border to the other. Numerous development projects (railway lines, high-tension power lines, ski slopes) have been rejected over the decades, and hunting was prohibited in the Spanish national parks in 1918 and in 1967 in France.

The boundaries of the listed World Heritage property were fixed in accordance with the unity of the landscape including the calcareous massif of Mont Perdu as the focal point rather than the administrative limits of the protected areas of each country, which could entail some difficulties with regard to the management and enhancement of the site. An extension to the property concerning a small part of the French territory, mainly for cultural criteria, was adopted in 1999. 

Authenticity

The authenticity of the property is overall very high in terms of two very closely linked attributes: its use and its appearance. If the use is more significant in terms of “cultural landscape”, the physical aspect is capital in distinguishing the particular region of the Pyrénées. The landscape has retained its authenticity in a remarkable manner: the dominant natural elements (geology, altitude and climate) and the regular grazing practise limit the flora so that the mountainous landscape is completely denuded of trees and bushes, particularly above an altitude of 2,000 m. The breeders continue to ensure an extensive pastoralism in perfect accord with the traditional life style of the central Pyrénées.

The site constitutes a precious testimony to former mountain society, through its landscapes and villages, farms, fields, high mountain pastures and trails. The agro-pastoral landscape of today reflects the history of the site. The quality of the property remains unaltered since its inscription.   

Protection and management requirements

On the Spanish side, the “Plan Rector de Uso y de Gestión” or Management Plan for the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park is updated periodically, as is the ”Plan Director of the Red de Parques Nacionales” (Master Plan for the  National Parks Network).

The Spanish part of the site corresponds approximately to two-thirds of the World Heritage site, and coincides with the boundaries of the Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido that was created in 1918 and extended in 1982, as well as its buffer zone, providing the highest degree of conservation possible for both natural and human heritage. The Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido is included in the Natura 2000 Network, comprising networks of Protection Areas for Birds and Sites of Community Interest. Furthermore, it is a Biosphere Reserve Site and Geoparc holder of a European diploma delivered by the European Council and attributed without interruption since 1988. It is part of the network of Natural Areas of Aragon and the Network of Spanish National Parks. There are eight pastoral roads or vías pecuarias protected as heritage by national and regional laws. Plans for the conservation of two threatened species are implemented (Gypaetus barbatus and Cypripendium calceolus). Park staff are responsible for different tasks such as patrolling, information, maintenance, clearing and administrative management.

Monitoring of the property is based on various scientific studies, including the implementation of research projects linked to national parks, the creation of a special research unit for environmental surveillance of the different habitats of the National Park, quality control through surveys addressed to both visitors and local inhabitants, and the establishment of a cultural heritage inventory, like the mallatas (traditional shepherd huts).

On the French side, a large part of the property (60%) is located in the core zone of the Pyrénées National Park, whichbenefits from specific protection, the remainder being covered by the optimal adhesion area of the Park. The National Park exercises a management and protection mission for environmental heritage and raising public awareness. Framework documents for the management of this area are available.

The property is also covered by a complex of zones of the Natura 2000 Network, which has as its objective biodiversity conservation conciliating the demands of natural habitats and species with economic, social and cultural activities being carried out in the territories. For example, the Natura 2000 site “Estaubé, Gavarnie, Troumouse, Barroude” allows for concerted and assumed management by all the stakeholders concerned in the natural areas.

On the French side the site is also the subject of various regulations that govern the territory concerned (known in France as the 2 May 1930 Law on listed sites, and today codified in the Environment Code).

Currently, the site presents the highest degree of biodiversity conservation in respect of European standards in force.

The Charter of Cooperation (2010-2020) between the two parks and the establishment of the Transboundary Technical Committee to prepare a programme of activities eligible for European funding in the framework of the Interreg IV Programme (POCTEFA) are likely to improve the management of the site.

Since the inscription of the site, several points require clarification, such as the strengthening of transboundary cooperation, the misuse of some areas of the site, tourism practices, improvement of transport systems, the low level of awareness raising and education on the values of the site, and support for the traditional life style. To assist the local population and improve its level of living standards, grants are accorded annually by the government of the Aragon Region and the Spanish State to sustainable development projects conducted by individuals, local groups, family enterprises, municipalities or NGOs.

The French State also invests in this type of action encouraging recognition of the Outstanding Universal Value of Pyrénées – Mont Perdu by the local populations. This appropriation, respectful of the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value and of all of the characteristics of the property, is the sole guarantee of sustainable involvement in the preservation and promotion of the site, of course with the understanding that the physical integrity and authenticity of the site will not be affected.

Pastoralism and its cultural values are supported through important financial assistance from the French and Spanish Statesas well as European funds: support for work (rehabilitation of pastoral huts, paths, cattle grids, watering places), direct aid and grants to breeders practising transhumance. Breeding is further encouraged through the use of helicopters by the French and Spanish administrations to enable transport (salt, construction material, first aid equipment) to places of difficult access.

Although the survival of transhumance is dictated by international meat market prices and by grants originating from the common agricultural policy, the two States support and will continue to support the transhumant breeding sector in the Pyrénées – Mont Perdu site.

Activities (1)