The Cultural Park of the Martín River, with its approximately 250 km2, is a territory located south of the province of Zaragoza and northeast of the province of Teruel to which it belongs, in the Autonomous Community of Aragon, framed in the Aragonese Branch of the Iberian Mountain Range, and around the middle section of the Martín River. Administratively, the towns that make up the Park belong to three regions: the region of the Cuencas Mineras to the south with Montalbán and its district of Peñarroyas, Torre de las Arcas, Obón and Alcaine. The region of Andorra-Sierra de Arcos in the center with Alacón, Oliete and Ariño, and the region of Bajo Martín to the north with Albalate del Arzobispo.
The Martin River Cultural Park, as a management structure, works for the conservation, protection and dissemination of the rich cultural heritage of the middle section of the Martin River, treating the cultural value in intimate relationship with the physical environment in which it has been produced, all based on the philosophical premise of conjunction “Man and Nature”.
This territory contains relevant elements of cultural heritage, integrated in a physical framework of singular landscape and/or ecological value. Thus reads the
Cultural Parks Law 12/1997
and also adds that it will enjoy global promotion and protection as a whole with special protection measures for these relevant elements. In 1997, the Río Martín Cultural Park, with its provisional structure that had been in operation since 1995, was already recognized as a model in its drafting and the procedure for initiating the official declaration process was established.
In 2001 the process of recognition was completed with the decree of Declaration of the Cultural Park of the Martín River by the Government of Aragón.
. We reproduce verbatim a paragraph of this decree:
“The cultural park of the Martín River maintains a unique integration of the various heritage manifestations, defined by a spatial framework where a series of relevant elements of cultural and natural heritage coincide. This space is configured by the geomorphological, landscape and natural characteristics of a series of canyons in the middle stretch of the Martín river and its tributaries in the area, the beginning and link of life in the region throughout the different historical periods, extending from Montalbán to Albalate del Arzobispo, and which delimit the shelters or covachos with prehistoric cave paintings and engravings in the open air declared World Heritage, a common feature of delimitation and evidence of a purpose of identification of the place already in prehistoric times. The canyons of the middle section of the Martín River and the prehistoric rock art are the inseparable definition criteria that give the Cultural Park the coherence in its delimitation, encompassing in this space diverse manifestations that make it worthy of receiving such denomination.“.
Therefore, the rock shelters painted and engraved in prehistoric times, in the canyons of the middle section of the Martín river, were the initial stimulus and common element of the delimitation as a Cultural Park and that not only are they of Cultural Interest but were also declared of Cultural Interest in 1998 UNESCO World Heritage Site as an integral part of the Rock Art of the Mediterranean Arc.
Since 1995, the Cultural Park of the Martín River has been able to provide cultural and service infrastructures and, above all, access to almost all of the municipalities and towns that make up the Park. In order to bring the population closer to the cultural heritage and the physical environment in which it is integrated, it has become necessary to structure some routes of great tourist-cultural interest, which have taken advantage of and have recovered a series of traditional paths, creating a communication network that highlights the cultural and natural heritage resources of the Cultural Park.The park is equipped with information panels, heritage and landscape interpretation tables and thematic feet at specific points of interest.
This hiking network, recognized as Tourist Trails of Aragon, provides access to points of heritage, cultural and natural interest, and is articulated around the GR 262 long-distance footpath. which vertebrates the Cultural Park with about 100 km. and 7 small annexed routes and of connection with points of interest (PR-TE 92 in the Sierra de Arcos in Ariño; PR-TE 97 route of the Lastras de San José in Albalate del Arzobispo; PR-TE 98 of the Towers of Alcaine; PR-TE 99 route of the Muela and Río Ancho in Montalbán; PR-TE 114 route of the Barranco del Mortero in Alacón; PR-TE 119 route of the Barranco de Valdoria in Albalate del Arzobispo and PR-TE 118 route of the Cingla in Peñarroyas)..
In addition, the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Culture declared in May 2010 in Strasbourg European Cultural Itinerary to the “Paths of Prehistoric Rock Art”. (CARP) that, This hiking network of the Cultural Park of the Martín River is located next to several European enclaves, as it is a link between the shelters with Rock Art declared World Heritage in 1998..
The Park is integrated in the ZEPA Desfiladeros del Martín and declared SCI (Site of Community Importance) within the European ecological network Natura 2000. In 2020, the European policy makers of “Interreg Europe” choose the Cultural Park of the Martín River as an example of good practice.
example of good practice
The park has been selected as a best practice in terms of conservation and attraction of cultural heritage in combination with natural heritage.