Córdoba province

Córdoba province

The Sierra de Hornachuelos extends for 60,032ha and is part of the vast 400,000ha Unesco Biosphere Reserve for the Sierra Morena mountain range, along with the natural parks of the adjacent Sierra Norte and the Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche.

Part of the Sierra Morena, the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro covers 38,449ha of gently rolling hills in the far northeastern corner of Cordoba province. Its slopes, rising from 400m to the highest peak, the 828m-high La Colmena, are dominated by Mediterranean woods and scrubland, interspersed with fields of cereal cultivation.

Cordoba was founded by the Romans and due to its strategic importance as the highest navigable point of the Guadalquivir River, it became a port city of great importance, used for shipping Spanish olive oil, wine and wheat back to Ancient Rome. The Romans built the mighty bridge crossing the river, now called "El Puente Romano".

This reservoir and its immediate surrounding area on the Genil river covers 1,460ha, with a section at its southern end in Seville province. The shore vegetation attracts many birds for nesting.

The 89ha shallow, seasonal Laguna del Conde is part of a group of lakes and wetlands dotted around southern Cordoba province called the Lagunas or Zonas Húmedas del Sur. These lakes are the principal breeding site of the white-headed duck and are rich in birdlife, especially during winter and migration periods.

One of a series of inland saline lakes dotted around southern Cordoba province, the 3.2ha Laguna del Rincón and its protected environs covers a total of 138ha and attracts numerous wildfowl in winter. It is also an important breeding site for birds. Like Laguna de Zóñar and Laguna Amarga, it is permanent. There is a bird hide at the lake.

With its surface measuring 37ha, the Laguna de Zóñar is the largest of a series of inland saline lakes in southern Cordoba province and the deepest in Andalucia. It is the most important lake in the province, of outstanding ornithological interest as a haven for overwintering aquatic birds and an important breeding area for many bird species, particularly the white-headed duck. Its total protected area covers 370ha.