The Pyrenees is a mountain system located on the territory of three states: Spain, France, Andorra.
The Pyrenees are the natural division of the territories of the two largest states of Western Europe, occupying the southeastern lands of France and the northeastern lands of Spain. The border between these two states runs mainly along one of the ranges of the Pyrenees. The length of the Pyrenees mountain range is 491 km., And the maximum width is not more than 110 km. in the central part.
The highest point of the Pyrenees: 3404 m (Aneto peak), is located in Spain in the central part of the Maladeta plateau. A little to the west is Mount Pose (3375 m.), To the northwest is Peak Lon (3194 m.), To the south is Mount Monte Perdido (3355 m.), Between them and Somport pass is Mount Vinmal (3298 m.) - the highest point of the French Pyrenees. The highest point of the Eastern Pyrenees - 2913 m., Western - 2504 m.
Location of the Pyrenees mountains.
The Spanish Pyrenees are located in the following provinces (from west to east): Girona, Barcelona, Lleida (the last three Catalonia), Huesca (Aragon), Navarra and Gipuzkoa (the last part of the Basque Country).
The French Pyrenees are part of the following departments of France (from east to west): Eastern Pyrenees (Northern Catalonia and Phenoleda), Aude, Ariege, Upper Garonne, Upper Pyrenees, and Atlantic Pyrenees. The independent principality of Andorra is sandwiched in the eastern part of the ridge between the Spanish and French Pyrenees.
At the same time, mountain ranges become a kind of barrier on the land borders of France in such a way that France, despite its continental location, is cut off from the neighboring lands of Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. This fact largely predetermined its borders precisely along the mountain ranges of the largest mountain ranges in Western Europe. Alps, Pyrenees, Ardennes, along with the sea coasts ultimately formed the territory of France in a modern form.
By natural conditions, the Pyrenees are divided into the Western Pyrenees (from the Atlantic Ocean to the Somport Pass), the Central Pyrenees (from the Somport Pass to the Carlit Peak) and the Eastern Pyrenees (from the Carlit Peak to the Mediterranean Sea).
Central Pyrenees, composed mainly of crystalline rocks - granites, gneisses, as well as schists, sandstones. Alpine landforms with glaciers are common here.
The Western Pyrenees are mid-altitude mountains composed mainly of Mesozoic limestones with separate massifs of crystalline rocks. Karst is developed here, many caves.
In the east, the Pyrenees drop. The Eastern Pyrenees are ridges and massifs of crystalline rocks, sandstones, limestones, dissected by inner basins with flat bottoms.
Origin of the name Pyrenees
There are several hypotheses of the origin of the name Pyrenees. Among these hypotheses, the following are most likely:
- the mountains of the Pyrenees are named for the heroine of Greek mythology, the Pyrenees. There is a legend that she was killed by wild animals and buried in one of the caves of the mountains, which by the will of Hercules (from whom she was pregnant) received her name. In general, the name itself, indeed, is still found among the Greeks, for example, in the writings of Plutarch;
- according to the second version, the name of the Pyrenees comes from the Iberian-Celtic word "piren" - "mountain". By the way, for comparison, in local languages: Pyrenees, Spanish: los Pirineos / el Pirineo, Gascon los Pireneus, Catalan els Pirineus / el Pirineu, Aragonese os Perines, Basque Pirinioak. Although, based on the writing, this hypothesis also has a weak point, in French, if you notice, it is written through y, which is possible only as a result of borrowing from Greek through Latin (Pyrenaeus). Other languages are also consistent with this, in principle.
- the name Pyrenees arose from a combination of the Ligurian word "pouranaya", from poura (open space) and naga (mountain). Ligur lived in those places before the Indo-Europeans.
- according to the fourth version, the name Pyrenees came from the Greek language. There is an ancient text (Diodorus of Sicily, 5th century BC.), Which says that once in those places there were many forests that were actively burned by shepherds. Fire in Greek "puree". And from here to the Pyrenees is not far away.