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Photographer's Note

This is the first in a short series of pictures taken in the Natural Park surrounding the Piedra Monastery in May 1988. The originals were taken on slide film and have been scanned to disk and a certain amount of post-processing applied to make them presentable. I realise there are still some imperfections, mainly related to colour, but hope that you will find them enjoyable.

The Piedra Monastery is in one of the most desert-like parts of Aragon. It owes its creation to the donation in 1194 of an old Arab castle by Alonso II el Casto (the Chaste) and his wife Lady Sancha to the monks of the Poblet monastery to build a monastery there to consolidate Christianity in the area.

In 1840, Pablo Muntadas Campeny bought the monastery, continuing the agricultural and livestock activities already being carried on there. His son, Juan Federico Muntadas, formalised the park, making changes, opening paths and walkways and carrying out planting. In 1860, after discovering the Iris cave, he made it accessible to the public. In 1867 he opened the first Fish Farming Centre in Spain, now managed by the Government of Aragon, bringing the common trout and the Iberian crayfish to the River Piedra.

This centre continues to produce species for repopulating Aragonese rivers. The result of these activities is the garden we know today, which was declared Picturesque Natural Landscape in 1940, while the Monastery was declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1983. The Monastery is now operated as a hotel.

Despite being in an otherwise barren landscape the gardens are particularly lush being watered by the Río Piedra. There are well laid paths for visitors who have the opportunity to view the many grottoes, lakes and waterfalls. Particularly picturesque is the Cola de Caballo (''Horse's Tail'') waterfall, over 50m/165ft high, with the Grotto of Iris concealed behind the veil of water.

Much of the above information is taken from the www.spain.info website.

tigra, ninaL, maltese, cuneyt-sb, ChrisJ has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6171 W: 61 N: 17965] (80897)
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