Parc Natural de la Serra del Montsant
The Serra del Montsant Natural Park, located in the north of Priorat County, constitutes one of the most imposing reliefs in the province of Tarragona. This massif, the highest point of which is the Roca Corbatera (1,163 m), covers more than 9,200 hectares and is made up of a large block of calcareous conglomerates with many spectacular chasms, caves, grottoes and gorges caused by erosion. Thanks to this unique relief we can still find a wide diversity of flora and fauna in the Montsant Mountains. The vegetation varies widely from holm-oak woods combined with vegetation that likes the shade of the gorges, bushes, and the typical herbaceous plants of very dry areas. A relief that allows the existence of different microclimates makes these combinations possible. The Montsant also has one of the richest varieties of fauna in Catalonia. Of particular interest is the area around the Montsant River, where we find mammals such as the weasel, the genet and the wild cat. The cliffs are the breeding ground for various birds of prey, some of them as rare as Bonelli’s eagle and the eagle owl. The river also has an abundant population of reptiles, amphibians and fish, including the Iberian viper, the salamander, the barbus haasi and the catfish. The 183-hectare estate known as Congost de Fraguerau, in the municipality of Ulldemolins, has been declared a Wildlife Refuge in order to protect these natural communities. As far as architectural heritage is concerned, the name Montsant (Holy Mountain) comes from the many chapels, which are often located in the most unlikely but stunningly beautiful places. A fi ne example is the oldest of all, the Chapel of Sant Bartomeu, which was built in the 12th century. All the chapels show how the spiritual sites of the past have been converted into places of meeting and celebration today. Also of great interest are the ruins of the first Carthusian Monastery on the Iberian Peninsula - Scala Dei (“The Stairway of God”). These lands produce wines with two different designations of origin –the Priorat Qualified Designation of Origin and the Montsant Designation of Origin- both of high quality and considerable international prestige, thanks to the sun and climatic characteristics found in the Park. The Montsant area is also known for its excellent Protected Designation of Origin Siurana olive oil.