Landscapes create emotions, often captivating ones. The Montsià mountain, all the landscapes that it englobes, have filled the people of the surrounding towns with emotions and feelings.
The mountain range of Montsià, the Romans’ “sacred mountain” or “water mountain” (closer to our times), is a small mountain chain, with little more than three thousand five hundred hectares of surface, which forms part of the Catalan coastal mountain range. Politically and administratively, its area is divided between the municipalities of Amposta, Freginals, Ulldecona, Alcanar and Sant Carles de la Ràpita.
Parallel to the coast, and despite the soft and rounded forms, the mountain range presents steep landforms, especially in its seaside slopes, with the highest elevation at Torreta (765 m) and other peaks such as Molacima (754 m) or Foradada (628m). All of them are the perfect watchtowers and privileged window of the old Ilercavonian lands that surround it gentrly; of the Ebro River’s calm flow in its search of the blue sea’s salt water – a bridge of cultures- and the Mediterranean; of the neighbouring lands of Maestrat, from the impressive Penyagolosa, to the hillsides beyond Coll de Balaguer, passing through the nearest Ports de Tortosa-Besseit.
Each of the margin stones that have domesticated different corners, each hut, shelter or cabin, each olive tree, carob or oak, each water spring or cistern … all of the mountain instills an intense flavour of human presence. Montsià is a humanised mountain, in which the man’s presence has been consistent since ancient times. From the Neolithic, through the Iberian and Arab eras, the mountains have been filled with human stories that have shaped their natural spaces in a clear dignity of the very existence of man.
Intensely charming spots will gratify your wishes to visit it: La Foradada, where nature’s whims make the demons of the mountains feel like the mistral wind is blowing; the majesty of the mountain viewed when walking below the limestone cliffs of Faixes Tancades; the murmur at the water springs of Fumat, Molacima, Piqueta, Bassiol or even Pouet d’Antó; dry stone margins, huts and shelters, permanent vestige of the constant work of old anonymous architects; the Iberian settlements of Sant Jaume and Moleta del Remei, witnesses of the Ilercavonian’s passage through these lands; domesticated ravines turned into incredible farmlands tell us about the hardness of our ancestors’ everyday lives.
The Montsià mountain is today (and we believe that this was the case in the past) an identity link for the villages that surround it and belong to a county of the same name. A mountain chain that, despite its slippery landforms, is grateful to those who work and visit it and that always welcomes us when, coming from foreign lands, we return home. A mountain by the sea where hiking allows us to have a more direct and intimate contact with it and its natural environment. A walk through it won’t leave you indifferent, at the same time you can enjoy its historical, natural and scenic beauty.
It is our task to value the natural, cultural and historical heritage. Not just to recover it from collective memory, but also spread it in all its breadth. The Montsià mountain range of the best reference and you will find there the source of Alcanar’s and its people’s history, like waters that spring from its inner part.
Joan B. Beltran Reverter, Alcanar’s natural and cultural heritage expert.