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Itxina protected biotope

pop-macizo-bio41.jpg, a larger image will be opened An elevated plateau having an approximate perimeter of 15 km and an average height of 1,100 metres is thrown up at the very heart of the Gorbeia Natural Park. Its most important peaks are Peña Lekanda, Gorosteta, Ipergorta, Altipitatz and Axkorrigane.

The Valley of Orozko provides the most spectacular panoramas of the landmass, from where its true dimensions manifest themselves in the shape of high, vertical walls and cliffs and capriciously sculpted shapes in the rocks, called Atsogure.

AIt shelters extremely fragile ecosystems containing species of flora and fauna that have adapted themselves to the specific conditions of the rocky places, which is why the area needed to be protected. It was declared a

Protected Biotope on the 11th July, 1995.

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More than 175 different mosses and marsh species cover rocks, land and rotting trees in damp and shady areas. These primitive plants make soil and protect it from erosion.

Beeches growing in the most abrupt and unsuspected places cluster together in small groves that provide shelter for salamanders, red frogs, the grey dormouse, foxes, … In the rocky areas live rock lizards, Egyptian vultures, kestrels, rooks, … Among the mammals, bats are worth a special mention because, in spite of their being associated with witchcraft and black magic, they are really very beneficial for human beings since they feed on insects.

In addition to prehistoric sites, the remains of coalmines and shepherd’s huts and cabins are silent witnesses of human intervention. The remains of a primitive “refrigerator” that was still used for storing ice and snow in the middle of last century and which is rented yearly by public auction by the Orozko Town Hall can still be seen.

The Karst is alive.

pop-macizo-bio43.jpg, a larger image will be opened Coral reefs growing in warm, shallow seas some 110 million years ago are the origin of the limestone rock making up the landmass. Water dissolved in the rock produced surface hollows and fractures in the land (fissures and cracks), fracturing the rock with cracks and channels (lapies).

Rainwater penetrates the cracks and fissures in the rocks, widens them and forms cavities by dissolving the limestone rock itself. At the same time, due to the precipitation of limestone, uncountable stalactites and stalagmites go about forming themselves in subterranean caves.

The Karst forms a deep labyrinth of sinkholes and caves numbering more than 130 cavities, some of which possess truly extraordinary dimensions: Urrikobasoko Lezandi is 301 m deep and the Otxabide group (Great Centre Fissure) Lezandi is some 14 km long

Activities and services.

pop-macizo-bio44.jpg, a larger image will be opened Numerous excursions will allow us to visit Itxina and its surroundings and enjoy what we see: the spring of Aldabide, the fields of Egalesaburu, the field of Arraba, the beech grove of Austigarmin, the mountains of Arno, … Several Recreation Areas are located on the very boundaries of the Park: Larreder and Pagomakurre, should one access the Park from Areatza, Altzagorta from Gallartu and Belaustegi from Usabel.

Venturing onto the landmass requires a certain degree of preparation, given the abruptness of the terrain in some areas. Should adverse weather conditions prevail (fog, snow, ice, …), visits to the Park are unadvisable since it is very easy to lose oneself and can even be very dangerous, given the high number of cracks, fissures and cavities.

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