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Aragon

Geography

 

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Location of the region of Aragon in Spain

Aragon is one of the 17 Autonomous Communities (Regions) of Spain, located in the north-eastern part of the Iberian peninsula, bounded by France and the Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Navarra, La Rioja, Castile-La Mancha, Castile and Leon, as well as by the Valencian Community.

Aragon comprises 3 provinces: Huesca in the North, Teruel in the South and Zaragoza in the middle. Its capital is Zaragoza.

 

Aragon covers an area of 47.719 Km², which accounts for 9,4% of the Spanish territory. This area is distributed as follows: province of Huesca 15.636 Km², province of Teruel 14.809 Km² and province of Zaragoza 17.274 Km². 

 

Population

 

The Autonomous Community of Aragon has a population of 1.347.095, which represents 2,86% of Spain’s inhabitants. It should be emphasized that more than half of Aragon's population, 50.8%, live in the capital city of Zaragoza and its metropolitan area (675.000 residents), while the rest of the Aragonese territory is very sparsely populated: 28,29 inhabitants/Km².

 

Population density in Aragon and Population according to the size of the municipality:

 

Population

 

Map of the population density in Aragon

Total

Aragon

Huesca

Teruel

Zaragoza

<100

156

14

80

62

101-500

369

127

107

135

501-1.000

92

29

28

35

1.001-2.000

53

19

10

24

2.001-5.000

37

6

8

23

5.001-10.000

11

1

1

9

10.001-50.000

11

5

2

4

50.001-100.00

1

1

0

0

>500.000

1

0

0

1

 

Economy

 

The most important sector of the Aragonese economy is the services sector, representing 66%, followed by the industry sector representing 16%, the construction sector (11%). Agriculture, livestock and fisheries represent 4% and the energy sector 3%. The Gross Domestic Product of Aragon is of 32.831 million euros (2007).

 

Relief

 

Relief

 

Map of the relief and hydrography of Aragon

Aragon consists of three major relief units: 2 big mountain chains (the Pyrenees in the North and the Iberian Mountain Range in the South) and the Ebro Valley in the middle. The transition zones in between are called Somontanos in Aragon. Thus, from north to south, five geomorphological units may be distinguished: Pyrenees, Pyrenean Somontano, Ebro Valley, Iberian Somontano and Iberian Mountain Range.


Aragon’s territory is notable for its large altitude differences, ranging from 65 m in the Ebro Valley to 3.404 m at the Aneto peak in the Pyrenees. In the Iberian Mountain Range , altitudes can exceptionally exceed 2.000 m.

 

 

Hydrography

 

Aragon’s hydrographical network is based on the basin of the Ebro river, as a central axis dividing the region’s territory in 2, as well as on the Tagus, Guadalaviar-Turia and Mijares basins, located in the southern third of the province of Teruel.


The Ebro is the community’s main river, receiving water from the Pyrenean rivers (left bank) and from rivers sourced from the Iberian Mountain Range (right  bank). It flows slowly and with numerous meanders down the gentle Central Valley slope. The left bank rivers (Aragon, Gallego, Cinca and Noguera Ribagorzana) have large sub-basins and are plentiful and regular, with nival or pluvionival regimes, while the right bank ones (Queiles, Huescha, Jalón, Huerva, Aguasvivas, Martín, Guadalope and Matarraña) have smaller sub-basins, are less plentiful (except the Jalón river) and have pluvial regimes.


One of the most significant hydrological features of Aragon is the existence of wetlands. Two different types can be identified: wetlands associated with endorheic phenomena (Gallocanta and Chiprana) and glacial lakes or lagoons at over 1.700 m high.


In the field of groundwater we must mention the alluvial aquifer of the Ebro terraces and its affluents (300 Hm³/year); the aquifers of the Pyrenees (Monte Perdido, Turbón, Cotiella and Guara with 500 Hm³/year) and the carbonate aquifers of the left bank (700 Hm³/year), which account for half of the water resources of this bank).


In Aragon, the average household water use is 143 liters per person per day (2006).


The Aragonese water management authorities are composed by 3 hydrographic confederations: Ebro, Tagus and Júcar, of which the Ebro confederation is the most important.

 

Climate

 

Aragon has a so called continental Mediterranean climate, with cold winters and hot and dry summers, but due to its topography there is a wide variety of climatic environments, ranging from the aridity of the Ebro Valley to the eternal snows at the highest mountain tops of the Pyrenees, with transition climates in between.

 

The main features of the Aragonese climate are:

The aridity of the Ebro Valley in the centre of the region.

The irregular rainfall pattern, typical of Mediterranean climates, with alternating dry and wet years.
Extreme temperature contrasts, due to the high degree of continentality (cold winters and long hot summers).
The wind, especially the intensity and frequency of the cierzo, a strong and almost constant northwest wind.

 

According to precipitation, the main characteristics are: scarcity, inter-annual irregularity and an unequal distribution throughout the year.  Precipitation ranges from 300-500 mm/m² in the Central Valley and the Iberian Somontano to 1.000-2.000 mm/m² in the Pyrenees, while it hardly ever rises above 700 mm/m² in the Iberian Mountain Range.

 

Temperatures are determined by altitude and the geographical situation in the Ebro Valley. The highest temperatures are found in the central lowlands (an average temperature of 14-15ºC and a maximum temperature of 40ºC). They drop north and southward as altitudes increase, decreasing 2ªC above 500 m in the Somontanos. In the mountains (600-1.000m), the average temperature is between 11-12ºC and below 10ºC at altitudes higher than 1.000m.

 

 

Climate domains and annual average precipitations

precipitation



 

 

Land use

 

Land use

Land use in Aragon

 

 

 

Other information of interest

 

Who travels through Aragon from north to south will be surprised by the large number and variety of jewels of art and nature found throughout its geography.

 

Starting in the north, the National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido was declared to be a world heritage site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 1997.


The National Park contains Europe’s highest calcareous massif, called Monte Perdido, reaching a summit of 3.355 m. At its feet, the valleys of Ordesa, Añisclo, Escuaín and Pineta spread out, in which more than 1400 plant species can be found.

 

The south of Aragon offers beautiful monuments in mudejar architecture style, which have been declared a world heritage site by the UNESCO in 2001, not only because of being a unique, original and irreplaceable artistic expression, but also because they are the result of the coexistence of different cultures in a specific place and at a historical moment of cultural tolerance.


When it comes to gastronomy, Aragon offers the following famous dishes: migas de pastor (tasty fried bread crumbs), ternasco de Aragón (roast lamb), ham from Teruel, the borraja vegetable, wines with Guarantees of Origin (Somontano, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Calatayud), as well as olive oil (also with guarantee of origin).

 

National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido, declared a world heritage

National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido, declared a world
heritage site in 1997

 

 

Mudéjar architecture style monuments of Aragon, declared a world heritage site in 2001

Mudejar architecture style monuments of Aragon, declared
a world heritage site in 2001

 

 

 

 

 

This project is cofinanced by the ERDF and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme

 

The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.

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