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CANTABRIA P R E S S D O S S I E R 2011


CANTABRIA P R E S S D O S S I E R 2011


TABLE OF CONTENTS

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1 Introduction. Cantabria: Infinite Culture and Nature 2 Protagonists 2011

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2.1 Infinite Trails 2.2 Cantabria Festival Hall celebrates 20th anniversary

3 Tourist References 3.1 World Heritage Caves 3.2 El Soplao 3.3 Cabรกrceno Wildlife Park

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4 Situation & Communications

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5 History

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6 Art & Culture

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6.1 A historical-artistic walk through Cantabria 6.2 Visiting Museums in Cantabria 6.3 Cultural Agenda

7 Nature

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7.1 Protected spaces 7.2 Beaches 7.3 Underground inheritances

8 Cantabria, a Crossroads

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9 Facilities of Tourist Interest. Cantur

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10 Districts and Towns

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11 Country Tourism

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12 International Study Centre Higher Spanish Studies in Comillas 13 Cantabria Infinita Quality Club

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14 Sport and Adventure Tourism

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15 Nautical Tourism

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16 Thermal Tourism

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17 Gastronomic Tourism

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18 Festivities of Tourist Interest

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19 Tourist Information

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20 Image Gallery

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INTRODUCTION

Cantabria: Infinite Nature and Culture Cantabria represents the perfect symbiosis between a lush natural environment full of unique scenery, historical heritage, intense cultural activity and a highquality tourist industry. Nature in its purest state is, without doubt, one of the characteristic features of this region, home to high peaks of over 2,600 metres and ninety beaches of fine golden sand, offering an incomparable scenic setting on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, crowned by the Picos de Europa mountains. The 37 sites that make up the region’s Network of Protected Natural Spaces, including the Picos de Europa National Park and six nature reserves, are the main exponents of this scenic paradise, which also harbours in its bowels something that makes it different from other tourist destinations: the wealth of its subterranean heritage. Cantabria is a land of great contrasts, home to a surprising underground world of over 6,500 caves. Many of these caves are of historical and geological interest, including ten that have been given World Heritage status, and El Soplao, the site of one of the most important deposits in the world of amber from the Cretaceous era. In addition to the natural variety and beauty of the region, there are a wide range of possibilities for tourists: the artistic and historical exuberance of countless examples of heritage and cultural events like the Summer Courses at the Menéndez Pelayo International University, the Santander International Festival and the Santander Paloma O’Shea Piano Competition. This varied offering comes with tourist attractions like the Cabárceno Nature Park, the Fuente Dé cable railway and the crossroads of cultural and pilgrimage trails like the Lebaniego or the Coastal Way of St James. Here visitors will find a small sample of all the possible options, from beach and mountain to spa tourism, a rich culinary journey, golf courses, sailing or a tour of the wide range of options within the region’s highly rated rural tourism.

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Faithful to its tourism slogan, ‘Infinite Cantabria’, the region renews itself continually to offer visitors a wide range of possibilities that include its most acclaimed scenic, cultural and artistic heritage: its caves, beaches and mountains already mentioned, its spas and golf courses, its hotel and rural tourism establishments, its Romanesque and gothic churches, its cuisine and, naturally, its hospitality.

The consolidation of the tourist industry The enthusiasm and confidence with which the Cantabrian Government, over the last two terms of office, has undertaken some great tourism projects like the El Soplao cave, the Lebaniego Holy Year, the International Centre for Advanced Spanish Studies or the opening of new air routes, among many other initiatives, are what, in combination with efforts to promote and improve the quality of facilities and products, have allowed the region to position itself as a competitive destination and progressively increase its number of visitors, even in as difficult a year for the world as the last one. The tourist sector has become one of the region’s great industries and its consolidation goes hand in hand with the efforts to improve quality and diversity that have been made in recent years. Good customer service and a commitment to offering our visitors quality facilities and services are some of the hallmarks of the renewed offering that Cantabria’s professionals and government are building, making the region a highly regarded tourist destination.

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THE STARS OF 2011 Cantabria, Infinite Trails 25 trails in four great categories, Cultural Trails, Culinary Trails, Great Trails and Sports and Leisure Trails, form the region’s flagship tourism initiative in 2011. Infinite Trails is the initiative with which Cantabria invites visitors to discover a region crammed with history, heritage, nature, culture and cuisine. 25 trails are included in four major themed blocks: Cultural Trails, Culinary Trails, Great Trails and Sports and Leisure Trails. Together they make up a scenic, cultural and human map designed to help visitors get to know a very accessible area, where in little over 5,000 square kilometres there is something for all tastes and occasions. These routes, paths, ways and roads enable visitors to discover the essence of Infinite Cantabria. They are trails of scenery and culture through endless nature and history. The 25 suggested routes tour Cantabria from north to south and from east to west, stopping at the region’s great landmarks like the World Heritage caves, El Soplao, Romanesque architecture, cave chapels, seaside villages, the Monastery of Santo Toribio, the Cabárceno Nature Park, the green trails and the beaches. All in all, Cantabria is the Trail; this is the message that the region wants to transmit to anyone who wants to find their own path. For lovers of culture and history, the Six Cultural Trails are recommended: Caves, Romanesque, Medieval Towers, Stelas, Literary and Cave Chapels. The products of land and sea, alongside the know-how of the regional cuisine, are also protagonists via the the Culinary Trails: of Pasiego Products, Lebaniego Products, Puff Pastry, Anchovies, Montañés Stew, Fish and Seafood and Meat. These seven gastronomic proposals are a chance to sample the typical dishes of the regional cuisine in their places of origin and famous products like the sobaos and quesadas pasiegas, Cantabria’s cheese, anchovies or seafood from the Bay of Biscay. The Great Trails deserve their own chapter. The Camino de Santiago, or Way of St James, which runs along the entire coast from east to west; the Lebaniego, which heads to the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, home to the Lignum Crucis relic; or the Carlos V Trail, which recreates the final journey of the Emperor from the Cantabrian town of Laredo to his retreat in Yuste, constitute the triumvirate of great historical and pilgrim’s routes that make Cantabria a crossroads.

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There are also many trails on which to enjoy Cantabria’s scenic wealth and environmental quality. Nine routes are suggested: Spas, Surfing, Festivals, Vertical and Via Ferrata, Bolero, Green Trails, Ravines, Motor and Regattas. These trails encompass the 37 Protected Natural Spaces, with the Picos de Europa National Park as their flagship, and comarca of the region with its routes and paths in the heart of nature. To enjoy nature through sports like surfing, mountaineering, sailing and regattas or the local sport of bolos (a form of bowls), several options are proposed. For a path of leisure, the region invites its visitors to discover its festivals with ‘national tourist attraction’ status, like the famous Santoña Carnival. Finally, the inviting Spa Trail brings tranquillity and wellbeing via its six spas and a thalassotherapy centre, making up the region’s health tourism offering. Infinite Trails promotes Cantabria as a destination where diversity is combined with an increasing number of tourism products (rural tourism, sport, golf courses, museums and interpretation centres, the Alto Campoo ski station) and high-quality establishments and facilities (Cantabria Infinita Quality Club for Accommodation and Restaurants, a wide range of hotels and many rural establishments, including some of the most highly regarded in Spain).

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In 2011 the Cantabrian Festival Hall celebrates its 20th anniversary and to do so it will offer a special programme with some great artistic events and big names. In total there will be 32 shows and 54 functions. The programming for this 20th anniversary is a clear example of the principles that have governed the intense activity of the Festival Hall during this period, which has positioned it as a leading centre in Spain and wider Europe. Balance, quality, variety, risk, the search for new audiences and an offering close to the current creative reality both of the region and any other part of the world, not to forget the legacy of the great classics, are the main features of the programme. Going into more detail regarding this busy season and focusing on theatre, the Festival Hall will continue its policy of opening up to new productions, to premieres. Those that will take place in January (Time and the Conways directed by Juan Carlos Pérez de la Fuente and La Avería directed by Blanca Portillo) will be followed over forthcoming months by a play directed by José Carlos Plaza based on the José Luis Samperio novel La sonrisa etrusca, starring Héctor Alterio (Friday March 4). The cycle is completed by companies like the National Classical Theatre and El alcalde de Zalamea, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, with Carlos Hipólito, among others, and, directed by Ernesto Caballero, one of the big names of Spanish theatre, we will have a chance to see La fiesta de los jueces, with a cast led by Santiago Ramos. In September the programme will begin with two rising stars of theatre, Calixto Beitio directing Juan Echanove in a monologue entitled Travesía del amor y de la muerte, before continuing with the social critique that is always present in the work of David Mamet, in the production Razas with Toni Cantó. In 2012, José Sacristán will star in a version of El Quijote and Miguel Narros will direct Jean Genet’s play The Blacks. As for Classical Music, the programme features prestigious orchestral groups like the Moscow Philharmonic conducted by the master Simonov, the Basque Symphonic Orchestra and the San Sebastián Choral Society, and the Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias. There will also be soloists of the stature of Arcadi Bolodos, Leonel Morales and the ever-surprising Ara Maliakian, among others. From the classical school of Russia to the latest in flamenco, a Dance cycle will provide a chance to enjoy the presence of the Grigorovich Ballet Company and a double programme with essential works from the classical repertoire such as Spartacus and Le Corsaire. Smiles and parody are provided by Les Ballet del Trockadero de Montecarlo, remembered fondly by the Festival Hall audience for their parodies and unique interpretations of the great

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ballets. And, finally, the personal outlook of the Duchess of Alba by ballerina Cecilia Gómez entitled Cayetana, la pasión on October 7. The Lyrical Season is in its sixteenth year, offering two pieces of exceptional quality and providing the opportunity to see one of the most remarkable performers on the international lyrical scene in Cantabria, the soprano Patricia Petipon, and the production by the Berliner Ensemble of The Threepenny Opera by Bertold Brecht, directed by Robert Wilson, a show that will surprise audiences and go down in the history of the Festival Hall. The programme remains committed to musicals, bringing to the region the best productions that are currently big hits in Madrid and Barcelona. On this occasion we are talking about Chicago and 40 El Musical. The Cycle of Recitals includes the presence, for the first time in Cantabria, of one of the most unique voices of the moment, Julia Migenes, a singer with a great personality and a large repertoire that ranges from opera to jazz, pop, musical and more. The creation of new audiences and a focus on the youngest remain part of the programme with the inclusion of shows that include dance, theatre, music etc, both in the Hall’s cycle for children and in the School Campaigns. The programme also has a place for artists from the region and this year the Festival Hall’s School of Performing Arts will play a special role, offering two new productions: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet directed by Román Calleja, and a version of the musical Annie from pupils and teachers directed by Roberto P. Gallegos. The Lyrical Choir will offer two concerts over the course of the year, with different programmes. For more information: www.palaciofestivales.com

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TOURIST REFERENCES The sistine chapel of geology and the amber deposit The recent declaration by UNESCO of other nine caves as Patrimony of the Humanity and the discovery in El Soplao of one of the great deposits of amber in the world, turned the undergound patrimony of Cantabria into the main protagonist of its offer. Cantabria keeps inside the major density of rock art caves in the world, more than 60 with wall paintings. Altamira and other nine cavities declared Patrimony of the Humanity, are the universal symbol of this valuable paleolithic inheritence that coexists with another not less surprising underground legacy: more than 6,500 caves of impressive geological forms and spectacular landscapes as El Soplao. The Community hoards in its subsoil a whole world to discover that suprises by its historical and artistic value, in the case of the rock art caves, and by its speleological value and surprising undergound landscape, in the case of cavities as El Soplao or the ones from the basin of Ason. An added value and one of its principal attractions is that many of these are visitables.

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The UNESCO communicated, last month of July, 2008, the declaration of other nine cantabrian caves as Patrimony of the Humanity. In this way are added to the catalogue of the big monuments of the world which was already incluing Altamira since 1985, whose roof with bisons is known, all over the world as “The Sistine Chapel of the Cuartenario Art”. With the recent recognition of the caves of El Castillo, Las Monedas, La Pasiega, Las Chimeneas, Covalanas, El Pendo, Hornos de la Peña, Chufín and La Garma reveals the archaeological wealth of Cantabria and the value of its cavities as world reference of the Paleolithic Art. And if the 35,000 years old paintings that can be enjoyed in these caves are surprising, not less attractive it turns out to be the visit to the El Soplao, baptized by geologists and speleologists of the whole world as the ‘ Sistine Chapel of the Geology ‘, given its wealth of spectacular formations and the amount of eccentrics, stalactites and stalagmites that can be contemplated during the tourist tour (1,5 kilometres) or the modality of venture tourism opened in more galleries that it offers. Besides, the cave is, from the last year, a point of view of experts and scientists, provided that in its proximities has been revealed the most important deposit of amber of the Cretaceous of the world, with a 110 million years dating and great abundance of pieces with fossilized insects found in it where we can distinguish the purple-blue color of most of them.

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An Exceptional evidence of the first creative minds Palaeolithic cave art is one of the most significant cultural manifestations in the history of humankind. Apart from its strictly aesthetic qualities, from a historical point of view the importance of this phenomenon derives from the fact that it represents a crucial period in human evolution: the appearance of Homo Sapiens. This is why we are in the presence of a cultural asset of the highest order, a genuine masterpiece of the human creative genius which, in addition to being of great artistic quality, provides exceptional evidence of the history of civilisation as the human species’ first artistic manifestation. The cave art therefore possess a universal value and significance, closely linked to the evolution of culture and society. These qualities, already acknowledged in 1985 for the Altamira cave, are applicable to other Palaeolithic cave painting sites located in the Cantabrian Mountains, which, like El Castillo, Las Chimeneas, La Pasiega, Las Monedas, La Garma, Covalanas, El Pendo, Chufín and Hornos de la Peña, are of superb quality. Due to the number and density of decorated caves (which have been preserved in excellent condition), due to the rich iconographic repertoire contained in them, due to the diversity of documented techniques and styles, due to the great age of the artistic cycle developed and its survival over the millennia, the Cantabrian coast constitutes a focal point in the universal history of human creativity - one of Art’s birthplaces. Universality The caves with Palaeolithic art included in the World Heritage List have, in accordance with the criteria set by UNESCO, universal qualities that make them representative of human culture. They represent a work of art of the human creative genius. Palaeolithic cave art is unanimously considered to be a work of art of the human creative genius. Through the various disciplines that have examined the art and the various theoretical-methodological paradigms that have guided these studies (history, anthropology, archaeology, history of art, fine arts and applied arts), this artistic cycle is valued for its status as the first known art in the history of the human race. In this context, the cave is noted for the high standards of technical perfection and formidable expressive skill with which

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the paintings were executed. They provide a unique or at least an exceptional testimony to an extinct cultural tradition or civilisation. Paleolithic art constitutes exceptional and unique evidence of an extinct civilisation. Like few other World Heritage sites, this artistic manifestation represents the most vivid evidence of the cultural and social ways of a bygone society: the hunter-gatherer communities living at the end of the last glacial period. From an anthropological point of view, this artistic cycle has a direct relationship to the appearance a new human species, our own, and the cognitive and social organisation developments that came with it. They constitute an example that is essentially representative of a type of construction or architectural or technological complex, or of a landscape that illustrates one or several significant periods in human history. Palaeolithic cave art is a characteristic aspect of the behaviour of the hunter-gatherer communities of the late Pleistocene. It gives clues as to the ways of life and, more specifically, the forms of settlement of the communities at the end of the last ice age: the decorated caves are an essential part of the general occupation system and use of land in the Palaeolithic period. In the case of the Cantabrian region, the cave art provides direct evidence of the predominant way of life in the area in the Palaeolithic era: troglodytism. The emergence of Palaeolithic art came hand in hand with the appearance of a set of techniques developed specifically for giving expression to certain concepts. Palaeolithic cave art therefore constitutes an essentially representative example of a way of life and a technological system at one of the most crucial times in human history, developing towards to the end of the last ice age.

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EL CASTILLO Location Puente Viesgo Services The centre has the following services: • Visitors Information Point • Parking for cars and buses • Guided tour • Interpretation Center • Shop • Toilet Visiting Times The cave is open all year with a guide service. The visit lasts 45 minutes. The tour is done in groups of 13 people from May 1 to September 30 and of 15 people from October 1 to April 30. Opening hours From May 1 to September 30, open every day of the week from 9.30 am to 8 pm. From October 1 to April 30, open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 5 pm. Information and booking Telephone: 942598425 Fax: 942598305 E-mail: reservascuevas@culturadecantabria.es URL: http://cuevas.culturadecantabria.com/ How to get there By vehicle: from the municipality of Puente Viesgo, next to the town’s car park, in the Llana neighbourhood, take the road to Monte de El Castillo. After around 1.4 km you will reach a car park. From there the Interpretation Centre and caves can be accessed on foot. On foot: from the centre of the municipality of Puente Viesgo, next to the town’s car park, in the Llana neighbourhood, take path PR-S17. After a walk of around 25 minutes you will reach the Interpretation Centre and caves.

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Description Beside the Pas River on its way through Puente Viesgo, Monte Castillo rises, a conical limestone elevation which houses an intricate labyrinth of caves that have been frequented by humans for at least the last 150,000 years. The most notable of these caves, five of which have examples of Palaeolithic art, is the El Castillo cave, discovered by H. Alcalde del Río in 1903 and the object of many archaeological studies, the results of which provide scientific evidence that helps us understand the development and behaviour of prehistoric humans in southwest Europe. Its stratigraphic deposit, around 20 metres thick and located outside the cave in the form of a shelter, contains evidence of human occupation. Archaeological research has given us an insight into the environmental conditions, flora and fauna, human anatomy, technological development, economic activities and social and symbolic behaviour of the past 150,000 years. The sediments and materials found there tell us about Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, glacial and interglacial ages, cold- and warm-blooded animals, hunting organisation, planning in the exploitation and use of natural resources, the technical processes of working with bone, stone and horn, ornaments as decorative elements and for social use, decorated mediums as forms of artistic expression and social cohesion, and many more aspects of human history. The cave contains one of the most unique and important sets of paintings in European prehistory, making it a point of reference for historians. Its 275 or more figures, all of which correspond to the dawn of homo sapiens’ presence in Europe, offer a subterranean tour of the origins of symbolic thinking, the abstract mind and artistic expression. The almost 275 metres of wall that the visitor sees, on which most of the representations are found, exemplify the techniques, subjects and graphical resources that the artists of the Upper Palaeolithic (36,000 to 10,000 BC) used to express something of their outlook. Horses, bison, deer, aurochs, goats, a mammoth etc. make up the figurative list of animals, a varied bestiary representing some of the animals that coexisted with humans. The references to the human figure are many but brief, expressed with the hand, a special motif in this cave given its high number of occurrences: over 50. Symbols, geometric shapes and abstractions are in abundance. These include ‘dot clouds’ and rectangular shapes, many of which are complex in their composition due to segmentations and internal fillings. Red, black and yellow drawings and paintings (the colour of which was applied using various solutions: paintbrush, finger, spray etc), engravings (in their various versions depending on the characteristics of the groove) and at least two simple sculptures associated with the paintings demonstrate a diverse technical repertoire.

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LAS MONEDAS Location Puente Viesgo Services The centre has the following services: • Visitors Information Point • Parking for cars and buses • Guided tour • Interpretation Center • Shop • Toilet Visits times The cave is open all year with a guide service. The visit lasts 45 minutes. The tour is done in groups of 13 people from May 1 to September 30 and of 15 people from October 1 to April 30. Opening hours From May 1 to September 30, open every day of the week from 9.30 am to 8 pm. From October 1 to April 30, open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 5 pm. Information and booking Telephone: 942598425 Fax: 942598305 E-mail: reservascuevas@culturadecantabria.es URL: http://cuevas.culturadecantabria.com/ How to get there By vehicle: from the centre of the municipality of Puente Viesgo, next to the town’s car park, take the road to Monte de El Castillo. After around 1.4 km you will reach a car park. From there the Interpretation Centre and caves can be accessed on foot. On foot: from the centre of the municipality of Puente Viesgo, next to the town’s car park, in the Llana neighbourhood, take path PR-S17. After a walk of around 25 minutes you will reach the Interpretation Centre and caves. Description Beside the Pas River on its way through Puente Viesgo, Monte Castillo rises, a conical limestone elevation which houses an intricate labyrinth of caves that were frequented by humans in prehistoric times. Around 675 metres from the well-known El Castillo, following the path that skirts around the hill, is the Las Monedas cave, the deepest of the known Monte de El Castillo caves.

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When it was discovered in 1952 it was named the Cueva de los Osos, the ‘Cave of Bears’. Soon after entering, a print of a boot with three nails in the heel can be seen in various chambers. Following the footprints, 20 coins from the time of the Catholic Monarchs was found, one of which was re-minted in 1563, at a depth of 23 metres. These coins, lost or hidden in the cave by an anonymous 16th-Century visitor, are what gives the cave its name (monedas means ‘coins’). Of the cave’s 800 metres, around 160 can be visited. The cave offers an incredible spectacle. Stalactites, stalagmites, discs, columns and hanging terraces strewn with colours due to the varied mineralogical composition of the rock give rise to a geological adventure. The processes of calcite dissolution and sedimentation and hollowing make the visit a gift of beauty and colour for the eyes. Unlike the El Castillo cave, the figurative images on the rock walls are concentrated in a small side chamber a few metres from the entrance area. The collection, which is very homogenous in its technical execution (black drawing traced in pencil) and style (indicating a single stage of execution), is made up of at least 17 animal figures and various forms of symbols or sets of lines that are difficult to interpret. Mainly horses, and to a lesser extent reindeer, goats, bison, a bear and one or two other indeterminate animals, make up a varied bestiary corresponding to a cold climactic period. C14 AMS dating shows that the figures were drawn during a glacial phase taking place in around 10,000 BC. LAS CHIMENEAS Location Puente Viesgo Visits No visiting times as access is restricted to researchers. Description This cave has a complicated layout, with two levels linked by karstic chimneys which give the cave its name (chimeneas means ‘chimneys’). The current entrance, which is artificial, is located on the upper level. The upper level is labyrinthine and is of no archaeological interest. The lower level had a mouth which is now blocked and also has a complex layout. It offers evidence of occupation during the Upper Palaeolithic. The rock wall drawings were traditionally ascribed to the Solutrean period, although the Carbon 14 dating carried out has dated them to the Lower Magdalenian (between 15,000 and 14,000 years ago). It was discovered in 1953 by a team of council road builders who, under the direction of A, García Lorenzo, were building an access road to the El Castillo

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and La Pasiega caves. It was publicly announced in 1956 by J. González Echegaray. In the original mouth area some unusual flints were found, as well as the remains of a recent prehistoric burial. It has several panels of ‘macaroni’ type engravings in the area near the original mouth, with some animals and non-figurative motifs. Deeper inside there is a large panel of ‘macaroni’ and other isolated figures. The set of black paintings is located at the end of a chamber and in the small adjoining passages animals and quadrangular symbols are represented. The engravings were carried out using the ‘macaroni’ technique with the exception of a bovine animal with engraved horns. The quadrupeds are very simple and generally represent aurochs, deer and goats. The first panel of black paintings has quadrangular symbols painted in black. In the small nearby passages large deer and a horse’s head are represented. The collection, stylistically attributable to Leroi-Gourhan’s Style III, of the Solutrean period, has been dated to the Magdalenian. Two figures (a deer and a symbol) have been Carbon 14 dated to 13,940 and 15,070 BC respectively. LA PASIEGA Location Puente Viesgo Visits times No visiting times as access is restricted to researchers.. Description This cave had up to six small mouths, of which two have been preserved, one providing access to passages A, B and D and another to passage C. The rest were blocked. Passage A is linear and measures around 70 metres in length, ending in a very narrow lateral passage. Passage B starts at the deepest point of A; it is of good proportions and follows a winding path. It had two small mouths which have been blocked. Passage C has a labyrinthine layout with large chambers and passages leading to the beginning of Passage D, reached through narrow and impassable passages. The cave houses traces of Solutrean and Magdalenian occupation (between 18,000 and 14,000 years ago). The artwork is ascribable to the Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdalenian periods (between 26,000 and 14,000 years old). The cave was discovered in 1911 by H. Obermaier and P. Wernert, who were later joined by H. Alcalde del R��o, who studied them. The study on the artwork was published in 1913. From the 1950s nine manifestations and the antechamber was excavated. Research is currently being carried out at the cave by a team of prehistorians led by R. Balbín and C. González Sáinz.

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Practically throughout the cave there are wall specimens, including paintings and engravings, and Castillo has a higher concentration of manifestations than any other site in Cantabria. However, in reality, it consisted of two different sites (Passage C and Galleries A, B and D). Passage A is home to a large number of paintings and engravings concentrated at the back of the cave, including representations of horses, deer and aurochs. At the beginning of the narrow final passage there are engravings representing animals and at the end there is a big panel of large red quadrangular symbols, known as the rincón de los tectiformes, the ‘Corner of the Tectiforms’. Passage B also has an abundance of animal figures and symbols. Other areas like Passage D have large quantities of engravings and red paintings. Passage C is also very rich in representations, with bison, horses, deer, large symbols etc. The cave has been decorated during various periods, starting with the manifestations of an advanced period of Style III, probably from the early Magdalenian (Galleries A and C) to the beginning of Ancient Style IV of the Lower Magdalenian. ALTAMIRA Location Santillana del Mar Services The centre has the following services: • Parking • Cloakroom services and self-service ticket office • Free picnic area • First -aid room • Café and restaurant • Shop • Workshops Visiting times The original cave is closed to the public. The Museum and ‘Neocave’. Opening hours From May to October: from Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 8 pm and Sundays and public holidays from 9.30 am to 3 pm. From November to April: from Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 6 pm and Sundays and public holidays from 9.30 am to 3 pm.

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Information and booking Telephone: 942818815 – 942818005 E-mail: informacion.maltamira@mcu.es URL: http://museodealtamira.mcu.es How to get there The Altamira Museum is located at 2 km from the Santilla del Mar town centre in the Autonomous Region of Cantabria. By road: Take the Autovía A-7, Nacional 611 or Autonómica 6316 to Santillana del Mar. In Santillana del Mar, take the turning signposted ‘Museo de Altamira’. Description A fossil cave of around 300 metres which had a wide mouth that collapsed in prehistoric times, leaving a small entrance cavity. The entrance leads to a gently sloping mouth area, at the left end of which there is a large panel of polychromes. Currently it is separated from the rest of the lobby by an artificial wall. It continues along a gently descending straight passage which has been altered significantly by modern structures designed to prevent potential collapses. This leads to a wide passage which opens up into a large chamber (known as La Hoya), which continues along a narrow and sinuous passage, called the Cola de Caballo (the ‘Horsetail’, which becomes impassable at the end. The cave has evidence of occupation during the Solutrean period (around 18,000 BCE) and the Lower Magdalenian period (between 16,500 and 14,000 BCE), periods to which the collection of art on the cave’s walls are attributed. The cave was discovered in 1875 by M. Sanz de Sautuola, who excavated it. He also found the large black quadrangular symbols at the back of the cave between 1875 and 1879. In 1879, during Sautuola’s excavations, his daughter María discovered the famous polychromes. In 1880 Sautuola revealed the results of his research, which led to the famous controversy surrounding the authenticity of the paintings. The discovery of new collections of cave paintings in France in the late 19th Century led to the cave finally being recognised by the scientific community in 1902. Throughout the 20th Century, the cave was studied by various archaeologists, including H. Breuil and H. Cartailhac, who published a study in 1906, H. Alcalde del Río, who carried out a study on the paintings and excavated the mouth area (published in 1906), and H. Obermaier and H. Breuil, who in 1935 published the most complete study that had been carried out to date on the cave. Since then, many specialists have studied various aspects of Altamira, including the art study carried out by González Echegaray in 1985. In the mouth, layers of the Upper Solutrean and Lower Magdalenian periods have been documented, with important examples of portable art like decorative ceremonial staffs and engraved shoulder blades. Altamira is incredibly rich in examples of Palaeolithic art, which are distributed throughout practically the entire cave, although the mouth and the Cola de Caballo (the ‘Horsetail’, the cave’s final passage) are the areas with the greatest concentration. The Chamber of Polychromes is without doubt the most renowned panel of

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Palaeolithic art in the world and it has been given the name ‘the Sistine Chapel of Quaternary Art’ and contains a large collection of around twenty large bison, generally two-coloured and engraved. They are accompanied by a large hind, two horses and several symbols created using the same techniques, as well as large clubshaped forms in red with central protuberances. The chamber is also home to some purple hands in negative, several horses and bison in black and a large collection of engravings of deer, symbols and various humanoid forms. In the inner passages and the central chamber there is an abundance of lifelike engravings, mainly representing deer and horses and black paintings of animals and symbols. The passage known as the Cola de Caballo houses the well-known masks, created by making use of the protuberance of the rock and painted in black. There is also a large group of quadrangular forms in black, engraved hinds and several more groups of lifelike engravings and black paintings. Altamira contains sanctuaries of various periods. The oldest motifs appear to be those inside the cave, which span from the Upper Solutrean to the Lower Magdalenian. The polychromes are thought to be around 14,500 years old (the Lower Magdalenian). The centre includes the Neocave of Altamira, which offers visitors the chance to discover the beauty of the cave art and the habitat of its inhabitants. It is a rigorous and accurate reproduction of the cave and its paintings, based on scientific findings and created using state-of-the-art technology. It also has a permanent exhibition on “The Times of Altamira”, in which 400 objects of the Upper Palaeolithic are displayed.

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LA GARMA Location Ribamontán al Monte Visits times No visiting times as access is restricted to researchers. Description The La Garma cave is an active upwelling with three fossil levels and an abundance of karstic formations. The upper level, where there is now just one accessible entrance, has a small mouth which continues along a winding passage that leads to a chasm. This chasm leads to a larger intermediate level, the original mouth of which has been filled. At the end of this passage a second chasm opens up and descends to the central area of the lower level. This level has large passages and chambers, in particular in the area of what was the original mouth, which has also been filled. From the lower level it is possible to descend, through a third chasm, to the active level of the system, through which an underground river flows. The La Garma hill is home to various caves that were occupied throughout the Palaeolithic and Late Prehistory. On the peak there is a hill-fort dated to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. The paintings in the system’s main cave have been dated to between the Aurignacian and Middle Magdalenian (between 29,000 and 13,500 years ago). In the early 1990s, following the discovery of the nearby Garma B cave, members of the Carballo/Raba Subterranean Exploration and Research Group located the upper level La Garma A site. In 1996, during the archaeological excavation work on the mouth of the upper level, overseen by P. Arias and R. Ontañón, two members of the team, J. M. Ayllón and A. Serna, discovered the passage of paintings on the upper level when they were exploring and surveying the system. The excavation work and documentation of the entire system is currently being continued by a team form the University of Cantabria’s Department of Historical Sciences. The upper mouth has a complex stratification with levels of human burials and Mesolithic and Upper and Early Palaeolithic inhabitation. The intermediate level is home to a large number of palaeontological remains, in particular of bears and Lower Palaeolithic. However, the most important remains are those located in the lower level, where three sites, all of which are intact, are distinguished. A Magdalenian habitation site has been documented at the original mouth, with some complex structures; under the main panels of paintings there is another Palaeolithic site on the surface and just under the chasm that leads to the intermediate passage there are several burials of the Late Middle Ages. The artistic manifestations are distributed practically throughout the lower level. At the original mouth there are panels of paintings and engravings. In the neighbouring areas and the

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large adjoining chamber, the manifestations continue on some highly complex panels. At the end of the cave there is an abundance of paintings which reach the chamber that is home to the chasm leading to the lower active level, which the river runs through. However, the cave’s Palaeolithic art is still relatively unknown as it is in the process of being documented and studied. At the original mouth there are panels of paintings and engravings. The painted manifestations include the presence of a large horse modelled in black, a very lifelike representation, as well as an abundance of red paintings representing symbols. Black paintings with various fourlegged figures and some red paintings were found in nearby areas. Deeper inside, in a large chamber, there is a large panel with red paintings with an engraved outline, representing the front end of a bovine animal, a deer and several goats, as well as other very simple red figures. From here, to a small rear chamber and throughout a passage that connects them, there are a large number of paintings, generally in red, with complex symbols, dots and three bison. From the last chamber a passage is accessed which leads to a large gallery, a branch of which comes out into a chamber of the chasm that leads to the intermediate level. Throughout this area there are red paintings, generally representing symbols and hands in negative. At the end of the cave, in the chamber where the chasm that leads to the active level is located, there are complex panels with hands in negative and symbols, as well as one or two isolated paintings, including a black bison. The manifestations can be attributed stylistically to Leroi-Gourhan’s Styles II, III and IV. The hands and red symbols at the end of the passage belong to Style II. The representations of goats, auroch and red deer, as well as a large number of complex symbols, correspond to Style III. Lastly, the cave’s Style IV manifestations include some black figures, such as the modelled horse, which is distributed from the mouth to the back of the cave where the aforementioned rear end of a bison is located. Its likely timeline spans from the end of the Aurignacian (around 28,000 years ago) to the Middle Magdalenian (around 13,000 years ago).

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EL PENDO Location Barrio El Churi, Escobedo de Camargo Services The centre has the following services: • Visitor information point • Car Park • Guided tours of the cave • Toilet Visiting times The cave is open all year with a guide service. The visit lasts 45 minutes.The tour is done in groups of 17 people from May 1 to September 30 and of 25 people from October 1 to April 30.. Opening hours From May 1 to September 30, open every day of the week from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm and from 4 to 8 pm. From October 1 to April 30, open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 1.45 pm and from 2.45 to 5 pm. Information and booking Telephone: 942598425 Fax: 942598305 E-mail: reservascuevas@culturadecantabria.es URL: http://cuevas.culturadecantabria.com/ How to get there From the CN-623, in Revilla de Camargo, head towards Puente Arce (CA-240) before turning off at Escobedo to Barrio de El Churi, where the cave is located. The last stretch leading to the cave is a narrow track unsuitable for buses. Description In the heart of the Camargo Valley, near the locality of Escobedo, lies this wide-mouthed cave with its monumental entrance area. It was discovered in 1878 by Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola. Since then it has undergone a large number of archaeological explorations which culminated in the discovery of an important panel of red paintings in 1997. Studying this archaeological site has yielded some key information, like the El Castillo cave, for our understanding of human and technological evolution and the behaviour of Homo

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Neanderthalis and Homo Sapiens. Accordingly, its stratigraphic and archaeological sequence, which begins in at least 82,000 BC and continues until 1,500 BC, is a focal point of scientific discussion. In addition to shedding light on everyday activities, the important collection of portable art and ornamental pieces, associated with early Home Sapien occupation, indicate that the underground space was used for other purposes of a social nature. It is thought that, during the Bronze Age, on the threshold of our current society, the space was being used for ritualistic purposes, and ‘offerings’ have been found deposited among the chaos of blocks. The most notable illustration of this symbolic behaviour is the artistic manifestations on the walls. Until the recent discovery of the Friso de las Pinturas (the ‘Frieze of Paintings’), just two engraved figures had been found (at least one of which is a bird) in the deepest part of the cave. The ‘Frieze of Paintings’, a 25-metre-long panel visible from any part of the main chamber, contains twenty or so figures painted in red in the form of a large altarpiece. The paintings include twelve hinds which are accompanied by a goat, a horse, two indeterminate zoomorphic forms and various symbols (such as dots, discs and lines) which are generally segregated from the panels where the quadrupeds are located. Like the Covalanas cave, the figures were created with a dotted outline using both digital and tamponado techniques. Some motifs show a degree of technical complementarity by combining the above method with linear outlining. The introduction of the figures onto the frieze, the technical similarities between the outlining and the style (internal divisions, complete or partial fillings of colour etc) indicate a compositional unity of the paintings that proves the synchronicity of their execution. Their age is difficult to establish accurately, but is likely to be of around 20,000 years.

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COVALANAS Location Ramales de la Victoria Services The centre has the following services: • Visitor information point • Car Park • Guided tour of the cave Visiting times The cave is open all year with a guide service. The visit lasts 50 minutes. The tour is done in groups of 6 people from May 1 to September 30 and of 10 people from October 1 to April 30. Opening hours From May 1 to September 30, open every day of the week from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm and from 4 to 8 pm. From October 1 to April 30, open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 1.45 pm and from 2.45 to 5 pm Information and booking Telephone: 942598425 Fax: 942598305 E-mail: reservascuevas@culturadecantabria.es URL: http://cuevas.culturadecantabria.com/ How to get there By vehicle: from Ramales de la Victoria, take the N-629 towards Burgos. At just 2 km (at km 188) there is a turning off the to the left which leads to the car park and visitor information point. From here, a footpath of around 50 metres leads to the cave. On foot: from the town of Ramales de la Victoria, take the Cuevas track (path PR-S.22) which runs parallel to the La Haza hill. The path continues for around 1.8 km to the car park and visitor information point. From here, a footpath of around 600 metres leads to the cave. Description The Covalanas cave, the cave of the red deer, is located on the north-eastern side of the Pando hill, on top of the El Mirón cave, and was used as a place of habitation for at least 45,000 years.

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It was discovered in 1903 by L. Sierra and Hermilio Alcalde del R铆o, two key figures in Cantabrian archaeological research. It was discovered during the early years of prehistoric science and, more specifically, the study of Palaeolithic art. It is a small cave which has two passages that share an exterior sheltering area that was not apparently used for habitation. The right-hand passage houses the graphical wall representations. After two series of dots, at around 65 metres from the entrance, the first animal forms appear. From here on, the red figures succeed each other on the right and left along the main passage and inside a small pocket. A total of eighteen hinds, a stag, a horse, an auroch, a possible hybrid-type figure and three rectangular symbols, as well as small dots and lines, are arranged in friezes. From 90 metres on, in small spaces, the number of figures reduces dramatically, with just one complete animal figure and, in contrast, numerous small dots and lines. The figures are characterised by dotted outlines produced using the fingers. This technique is very characteristic of some caves located between the Nervi贸n river basin (Vizcaya) and the River Sella (Asturias), with the greatest concentration around the As贸n river basin and in collections such as that of El Pendo. This distribution indicates the existence of human groups with strong graphical ties, an example of social networks and contact. Their age is difficult to establish accurately, but is likely to be of around 20,000 years. The freshness of the red colour, the large size of the motifs, the dotted outline of the animals and the concentration of the majority of the figures in a well-demarcated area envelop visitors in a mysterious and welcoming setting. In the semidarkness of the cave, it feels like the animal figures are coming to life and escaping from the rock. The reddish herd, restless in the shadows, has been witness to human life over the millennia.

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HORNOS DE LA PEÑA Location Tarriba, San Felices de Buelna Services The centre has the following services: • Visitor information point • Guided tours of the cave Visiting times The cave is open all year with a guide service. The visit lasts 50 minutes. Conducted in groups of four people. Opening hours From May 1 to September 30, open every day of the week from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm and from 4 to 8 pm. From October 1 to April 30, open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 1.45 pm and from 2.45 to 5 pm; during this period visits must be arranged in advance. Information and booking Telephone: 942598425 Fax: 942598305 E-mail: reservascuevas@culturadecantabria.es URL: http://cuevas.culturadecantabria.com/ How to get there From the locality of San Felices de Buelna (on the CA-170 road), at Rivero take the road to Tarriba (for 0.6 km). A track leads from here to Monte Tejas. At around 1.7 km, Peña de los Hornos and the cave entrance appears on the left. Description The Hornos de la Peña cave is located in the crag known by the locals as the Peña de los Hornos. The south-facing entrance stands out in the landscape with its arched shape. Since 1903, when Hermilio Alcalde del Río discovered the first artistic wall manifestations, the scientific importance of this cave has been acknowledged. The mouth’s size and exposure to the sun were attractive for the last groups of Neanderthals and the first Homo sapiens, who occupied the cave mouth, the outermost area, as a place of habitation. Even in more recent times, including the Copper Age and during the Spanish Civil War, this underground space was used for various purposes.

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The first figures, some of which have now disappeared, are located outside. The manifestations in this mouth area include a horse of wide and deep grooves. The underground or interior area, accessed by a low and narrow passage which leads to various medium-sized sectors, contains the greatest concentration of artwork. Hornos de la Pe単a has one of the most complete collections of engravings in the Cantabrian region which includes large and lifelike figures. Horses, bison, aurochs, goats, deer, a possible reindeer and a serpent-shaped form make up the bestiary which demonstrates, through the attention to detail that the artist paid while executing the work (manes, fur, eyes, mouths etc), an accurate understanding of animal anatomy. But without doubt the most notable is an anthropomorphic form with a raised arm and long tail. The mixed nature (animal-human) of the composition, the significance of which eludes us, is reminiscent of figures present in other caves. The figures were produced principally using an engraving technique and just one black drawing of a horse has been documented. A variety of engraving techniques were used: fine incision and digital outlining, representative of the interior panels, and abrasion, typical of the entrance sector. The various techniques, in keeping with the stylistic conception of the figures, point towards the existence of two engraving periods. A first older phase corresponds to the outer figures executed using an abrasion technique, dating back to at least 18,000 years ago. The second period corresponds to the majority of the figures inside the cave and is attributable to the Magdalenian era in around 13,000 BC.

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CHUFÍN Location Ciclones Services The center has the following services: • Guided tour of the cave. Visiting times The cave is open all year with a guide service. The visit lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes. Conducted in groups of five people. Opening hours From May 1 to September 30, open every day of the week from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm and from 4 to 8 pm. From October 1 to April 30, open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 1.45 pm and from 2.45 to 5 pm; during this period visits must be arranged in advance. Information and booking Telephone: 942598425 Fax: 942598305 E-mail: reservascuevas@culturadecantabria.es URL: http://cuevas.culturadecantabria.com/ How to get there From the CA-181 road, take the turning to the village of Riclones, just before reaching the village of Celis. Various signs direct visitors to the home of the guide who will accompany them, by boat or on foot, to the entrance to the cave.. Description The cave of Moro Chufín is located in a place of unique beauty in the River Nansa Valley. Although the setting has been modified by the construction of the La Palombera dam, its location in an area of cliffs, dense trees and a constant presence of water make a visit a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The tour begins, at certain times of year, with a boat trip to the cave entrance. Its spacious mouth area witnessed important human occupations around 15,500 BC and even earlier. The mouth of the cave must have offered a privileged view

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of the valley, making it an excellent hunting lodge. The prehistoric cave dwellers engraved figures into the rock. A large number of hinds, a bison, a possible fish and various symbols all produced with wide and deep grooves, a result of the abrasion technique, are concentrated mainly on a panel under which a small opening provides access to the inside of the cave. A low-ceilinged space leads to a large chamber, the final part of which is home to an artificial lake, created by the dam. However, it continues. It is this chamber, on each side, that houses the most striking artistic representations. The intensely red compositions are made up of dots and some of them have been interpreted as representations of genitals. In the same colour, there are horses, an auroch, various dots sometimes organised into series, the feminine figure and a stag. The cave also houses a large number of engravings produced by incisions of varying thickness and abrasion. The bestiary is made up of bison, horses, bovine animals, deer, goats and at least one anthropomorphic figure, as well as a possible wading bird. The figures appear to have been engraved during more than one period. The engravings in the mouth area and some inside the cave, as well as the red figures, can be viably dated to a pre-Magdalenian period, earlier than 16,000 BC, although it is not possible to determine the level of synchrony or diachrony between all of them. In contrast, the rest of the engravings inside the cave, generally of much finer grooves and with anatomical details, can be ascribed to a later period, in around 11,500 BC.

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EL SOPLAO THE SISTINE CHAPEL

OF

GEOLOGY

AND

DEPOSIT

OF

Another big attraction in Cantabria is El Soplao. This cave is considered to be one of the world’s great geological treasures and, confirming its great appeal, since its opening in 2005 it has become a tourist attraction that receives around 300,000 visitors per year. It is not the biggest or longest of the 6,500 caves that are known in Cantabria, but the eccentric concretions and the spectacular nature of its geological formations make it unique and worthy of nicknames like ‘The Cathedral of World Geology’ or the ‘Sistine Chapel of Geology’. The Cave The cave, located in a natural setting of great beauty between the municipalities of Valdáliga, Herrerías and Rionansa, has been known since the late 19th Century due to the tapping of the La Florida mines, but its interior is also home to a true natural ‘paradise’ made up of incredible formations. El Soplao is a unique and unrepeatable cave, a leading site in world speleology. Its interior constitutes a geological and speleological wonder of international importance, with large surface areas covered in aragonite, suspended ceilings, gours, stalactites and eccentric stalagmites which create an interplay of light and shadows, sensations, colours and smells. The cave is of great universal significance given that, aside from its high environmental value, it is of extremely high aesthetic

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value, resulting from its abundant and complex array of eccentric formations, unparalleled in the subterranean world. The cave’s ‘false floor’ is an area considered by speleologists to be the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of the underground world due to its grandeur, layout and preservation. The eccentrics coexist in perfect harmony with a unique universe of vertical formations (stalactites and stalagmites) and outflows of multiple colours. The pisoliths are another notable feature, better known as cave pearls. There are two different organised visits to the cave, a tourist tour and a tourist-adventure tour. The tourist tour visits 1,500 metres of the cave, down the La Gorda and Los Fantasmas passages. The tourism-adventure tour is especially designed for the more adventurous to explore for three kilometres into the cave. The tour starts at the La Isidra tunnel, which leads to the upper part of the ‘False Floor’. The route then heads to the Los Italianos passage, followed by the Campamento passage, the El Orgáno chamber and the El Bosque and La Sinera passages, where the magnificent formations can be admired. Soplao Territory The complex, in addition to the cave, includes a Visitor Reception Centre, the mining train and the Prado Collao walking area, which links up to the Florida elevation and a spectacular outdoor sculpture collection, created by various contemporary artists who gave expression to their own personal interpretation of the cave. Another big attraction on a visit to Soplao is the spectacular landscape that can be enjoyed from the top of the sierra, whether by taking advantage of the walking area or from the viewpoints outside the cave.

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There are plans for the construction of a Mining Museum in the vicinity which, following the discovery of the amber deposit, will also include a section on amber. The cave is reached through the village of Rábago (Herrerías). It is located at 37 kilometres from Torrelavega and 62 km from Santander and is reached on the A8 Santander-Oviedo dual carriageway via Exit 269 for Los Tánagos-Pesués-Puentenansa. Information and advance tickets sales: Telephone 902 82 02 82 URL: http://www.elsoplao.es/ Blue amber, fossilised gems over 110 million years old The amber deposit found in the Territorio Soplao is now the only site of its kind in the world and the most important in the world from the Cretaceous period. According to the researchers working on this deposit, it was formed 110 million years ago by a palaeo-fire, which explains the unusual abundance of pieces found in it, as well as the blue-purple colour that most of them display. The new findings in El Soplao’s amber confirm early opinions on the exceptional nature of the deposit, where unique pieces have appeared that are characterised by their quantity, variety and quality, as they contain arthropods. The most spectacular pieces include some that contain bio-inclusions and originated in tree trunks. A large piece of blue amber also stands out. This type of amber is rare and the only other place where similar pieces have been found is the Dominican Republic. In the excavations that are being carried out, fifty or so insects corresponding to eight different orders have appeared, in particular mosquitoes, wasps and beetles. Of these, two of the wasps could be new genera and species, and there is a fly that has a peculiar morphology that had never been found in Spanish amber. The size of the deposit is also significant and, according to

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the experts, it could extend along a surface around 25 metres long. A total of fourteen researchers and volunteers have been involved in the excavation work. The discovery was made by a team of researchers of the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining, a Public Research Body that is dependant on the Ministry of Science and Innovation, in collaboration with the Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport of the Cantabrian Government and SIEC S.A. firm. It is the first notable scientific achievement of the geological research work that is being carried out in the area thanks to the agreement between the Institute of Geology and Mining, the Regional Ministry and the SIEC S.A. company. At a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, during the Cretaceous period around 110 million years ago, the area currently occupied by Cantabria was engulfed by the sea, forming large estuaries and coastal lagoons surrounded by lush forests of resinous conifers, part of an extensive wooded mass that stretched from Asturias to Alicante, following the coast of the Tehtys Sea. The fossilization of the resin, exuded in large quantities by these conifers, led to this new amber deposit in the El Soplao Cave area. It is not the only amber deposit in Spain, but very few contain this substance in large quantities and only two of them contain insects and other arthropods as inclusions in significant abundance (the amber of Ă lava and of San Just in Teruel, to be specific). The new deposit discovered in Cantabria (the El Soplao amber, located in RĂĄbago) is characterised by its abundance of amber masses of a particularly fossiliferous variety. Research into these masses of amber concludes that this Lower Cretaceous age deposit is the most important in the world. The deposit is located in beds of clay and sand with carbonaceous remains that formed in large estuaries and coastal plains during the Cretaceous age (the Albian period), or in other words 110 million years ago.

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The Scientific importance of the deposit The Cretaceous amber deposits are very rare worldwide, unlike more recent amber deposits of the Cenozoic era. In just a few of the Lower Cretaceous deposits there is documented evidence of the presence of biological inclusions such as insects. Currently, apart from the Spanish deposits, we know about the famous deposits of Jezzine and Baabda (Lebanon), Wadi Zarka (Jordan), the Isle of Wight (UK) and Golling (Austria). The importance of the Cantabrian amber deposit discovered at El Soplao is accentuated by this scarcity of sites. Researchers have found small wasps, various types of fly and bloodsucking mosquitoes, cockroaches, bugs and many other insects which, although small in size, played a much more important role than the dinosaurs in the ecosystems of the past. The mosquitoes of the Ceratopogonidae family fed on the blood of dinosaurs and some amphibians. Most of the insects are unknown species that will have to be categorised as new animal species in the world of science. They also found spiders and a fragment of a cobweb of great scientific interest.

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The most abundant remains of vegetation include leaves of a rare conifer belonging to the extinct Cheirolepidiaceae family, of the Frenelopsis genus, and leaves of a species of Gingko of the Nehvizdya genus. The study of the fossils contained in the amber has provided some curious insight into the Cretaceous period, when the dinosaurs reigned supreme. There is considerable scientific evidence that proves that, during the Cretaceous period, the climate in this region was subtropical, very warm, and there was a great deal of humidity in the forests. The atmosphere during the Cretaceous era was much richer in CO2 than it is now, so the greenhouse effect was considerable and made the terrestrial ecosystems very different to the current ones. The amber at El Soplao offers a window on the warm wooded ecosystems of the Cretaceous era. Was the vegetation of these forests, preserved in the deposit, the food source of the dinosaurs that the Ceratopogonidae mosquitoes feasted on?

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CABÁRCENO WILDLIFE PARK

THE BIGGEST BEAR RESERVE IN EUROPE

Fifteen kilometres from Santander, the Cantabrian capital, lies the Cabárceno Wildlife Park, the vast home of over 1,200 animals belonging to over a hundred species from the five continents. The park has a spectacular karstic landscape where elephants, hippopotami, ostriches, camels, tigers, zebras, giraffes and other animals live in a semi-wild state. Ideal spaces have been created so that the animals can live in conditions that are as similar as possible to their original habitats (the elephant closure alone is the same size as Madrid’s entire zoo). This Cantabrian park holds several records, including the largest reserve of brown bears in Europe, of around seventy; thirteen African elephants, one of the largest populations of this species in the world outside of Africa, many of them born here, and one of the biggest Gorilla enclosures in Europe. The demonstrations in the seal and sea lion enclosure and the bird of prey flights put on every day mean that visitors have a chance to enjoy daily activities involving the animals. The park is also the ideal place for a family day out because it has plenty of recreational areas, picnic areas, viewpoints, lakes, botanical trails, cafés, restaurants and play areas... The park is home to various trails that lead to some fascinating places. Among the hundred or more tree species, 24 have been chosen to show visitors some of Cabárceno’s most emblematic varieties. The yew, cork oak and walnut path (around the tiger enclosure) is one of the prettiest and best-tended landscaped trails, on which visitors can see bamboo, birch, oak, horse chestnut, fig, banana, strawberry trees, atlas cedar, ginkgo, barberry, mock orange and more. The birch, lime and beech trail (around the hyenas and wolves) is home to bay, elder, lime and beech, and the chestnut and pine trail skirts around the lion and bison enclosures. Among the most popular residents of Cabárceno are a pair of gorillas who have been provided with the largest enclosure in Spain devoted to this species, and one of the best in Europe. Nicky and Nadia have a space just for themselves of 14,500 square metres and live in a ‘home’ designed by the Cantabrian architect Eduardo Fernández Abascal of over 800 square metres, with large windows so that the daily life of the animals can be observed, around which they have rocky and wooded areas so that the gorillas feel like they are in a comfortable and familiar

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habitat. There is also a large exhibition and educational area where visitors can find out about the habits and way of life of this species, as well as a reproduction of the hut in which the American zoologist Dian Fossey worked. Education and research This natural paradise also has an educational, cultural, scientific and recreational purpose, having become one of the main tourist attractions of northern Spain. The Environmental Education Centre offers a comprehensive programme of educational activities aimed at schools from all over Spain, with different content for the various educational levels between the ages of three and eighteen. Cabårceno’s scientific facet has made this Cantabrian park an international leader in endangered species conservation, as a pioneer in breeding programmes for animal species in captivity. The facility participates in a significant number of studies and analyses that it carries out in cooperation with other parks and zoos, as well as universities, associations and research centres from all over the world. Its most notable projects include those related to the African elephant (studies on the sexual cycle of the female African elephant and the behaviour of the male elephants). Other important schemes include those related to reproductive cycle control in female lions and tigers and an assisted breeding programme for the Cantabrian Bear.

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LOCATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

MAR CANTテ。RICO

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Cantabria, located in the north of Spain, occupies a surface area of 5,289 square kilometres, spanning from the Cantabrian Mountains to the waters of the Bay of Biscay. This autonomous region has a population of over half a million inhabitants, of which around 200,000 live in the capital, Santander.

Plymouth

Londres

Bruselas París

Milán

Santander

Cantabria

Its boundaries lie to the north with the Bay of Biscay, to the west with Asturias, to the south with León, Palencia and Burgos (Castilla y León) and to the east with Vizcaya (Basque Country).

Madrid Sevilla

Barcelona

Valencia

Tenerife

Pisa

Reus Palma de Mallorca

Málaga

The region has a good communications system by land, sea and air. By land, Cantabria is linked to Bilbao, San Sebastián and France (in less than two hours) via the Autovía del Cantábrico dual carriageway (the A-8), which also links Cantabria by road to Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés on its way to the region of Galicia.

Frankfurt

Lanzarote

Las Palmas

The main road links to Spain’s central plateau, the Meseta, are: to Burgos on the N-623 through the Escudo pass and on the N-629 through the Los Tornos pass; and to Palencia on the N-611 through the Pozazal pass. Finally, the La Meseta highway is the latest addition in terms of major infrastructures. There is also an extensive network of bus services to various destinations around the country such as Madrid, Burgos, Palencia, Valladolid, Salamanca, Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Logroño and Oviedo, and other international destinations including Paris and Brussels. The wide-track railway (RENFE) has daily services to Alicante, Valladolid and Madrid. The FEVE railway line links Santander to Bilbao and Oviedo. By sea, Cantabria is linked to the UK (Plymouth) by a ferry line that has been operating for over 25 years. In 2009 the company is opening a second route to Portsmouth. By air, the Parayas Airport offers regular flights to Madrid, Barcelona, Reus, Alicante, Malaga, Valencia, Seville, Palma de Majorca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife. There are also flights to important European cities such as London, Frankfurt, Rome, Milan, Pisa, Paris, Brussels and Dublin, operated by the low-cost airline Ryanair. The region’s humid and temperate climate offers mild winters and pleasant summers, with temperatures rarely exceeding 22 degrees centigrade.

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Roma


HISTORY The Cantabrian Region is home to some of the Iberian Peninsula’s most important prehistoric heritage at sites such as the Altamira, La Pasiega and El Castillo caves, among others. The Celtic population were dispersed throughout the mountainous areas. The Cantabrian people of consummate warriors, demonstrated their courage against the Roman conquerors. For ten years they fought the Roman invasion and thanks to the mountainous terrain, their guerrilla warfare tactics and their determination, they were able to significantly slow down its advance. In Julióbriga (the fortified town of Julius), near Reinosa, there are still traces of the Roman presence and remains of what was an important population centre at that time. The Arabs also found it impossible to penetrate the region, making it a refuge for Christians. Until the 17th C e n t u r y,

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Santillana del Mar was the region’s capital, a peculiar population centre that still preserves part of the region’s history, antiquity and customs. In the 9th Century, as Spain was gradually reconquered from the Arabs, the people of the Cantabrian Mountains emigrated south. These emigrants, who came to be called Foramontanos, took with them their culture and also their language, derived from Latin, which over time would contribute to the genesis of modern Spanish. Along the coastline several fishing and trading villages were formed (Laredo, Santander, Castro Urdiales, San Vicente de la Barquera). From the 12th Century until the 17th, these ports became very prosperous as the point of departure for Castilian wool on its way to Europe and a stage on the Medina del Campo-Antwerp trade route. Their subordination to Burgos led to the development in Santander of the Castilian language and culture. Its economy was also dependant on that of Castile and together they underwent the crisis of the 16th Century which reached breaking point when it culminated in years of hunger and plague (1599-1601). Since time immemorial, Cantabria has possessed an extremely distinguished seafaring tradition. Most of the guns that armed the navy’s ships came from its foundries and up to 40 percent of the best vessels belonging to the Spanish Armada were built in its shipyards before heading off to reconquer Seville or to new and old lands, foreign and familiar, for war or in search of fortune. Some examples include sailors who set off with Christopher Columbus or the cartographer from Santoña, Juan de la Cosa, who is remembered in the history books to this day. In the 17th Century, enlightened governments promoted trading activity in the ports, the food and drink industry (breweries, flour mills) and state-owned metallurgy. The communications with Castile were improved and its role as the Meseta’s seaport was consolidated. In 1799 the separate maritime province of Burgos was created and in 1817 Santander was named as the capital of the province of the same name. Throughout the 19th Century, the region took the side of the liberal faction in the various Carlist Wars. Santander was the departure point for Castilian flour on its way to the Antilles in the 19th Century. From the colonial crisis of 1898, livestock and fishing gained weight in the Cantabrian economy. The military garrison of Santander took part in the uprising against the Republic, and Cantabria was occupied by General Fidel Dávila in 1937. During the Franco era, livestock, fishing and tourism were consolidated as the most important economic sectors in the region. There were some attempts by the State to create a steel and shipbuilding industry. Cantabria was established as an Autonomous Region of Spain in 1982 following the approval of its Statute of Autonomy, and one year later the name Cantabria replaced the province of Santander.

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ART AND CULTURE A historical-artistic tour of Cantabria Cantabria is also noted for its important artistic and architectural heritage belonging to various historical periods. Notable sites include the megalithic remains like those of Pico Las Nieves, the Roman settlements of the Reinosa area, the ruins of Julióbriga and CamesaRebolledo and the pre-Romanesque art of the Church of Santa María de Lebeña, as well as the valuable examples of cave churches in Campóo and Valderredible. A large number of Romanesque churches are also preserved, such as the Collegiate Churches of Santillana del Mar, Santa Cruz de Castañeda, San Pedro de Cervatos and San Martín de Elines, as well as an important concentration of churches of this style in Valderredible and, to a lesser extent, in the Besaya river basin and in Liébana. Gothic art is present in the churches of some of the region’s most beautiful localities. The Church of Santa María de la Asunción in Castro Urdiales constitutes Cantabria’s most notable Gothic building and the region is also home to the Gothic church of Laredo, of the same name, and those of Santoña, San Vicente de la Barquera, Udalla del Cristo, the Santo Toribio de Liébana Monastery and Santander Cathedral. A large number of Palacios and Casonas, or stately homes, belong to the period between the 16th and 17th Centuries, from the Renaissance to the Baroque. Some particularly outstanding historical centres are those of Liérganes, Alceda, Cartes, Potes and, above all, Santillana del Mar, as well as isolated palacios like Los Acebedos in Hoznayo, Elsedo in Pámanes and Soñanes in Villacarriedo. As far as 19th-Century architecture is concerned, the most notable examples include the neoclassical churches of San Pelayo de Arredondo and Salarzón. The Palacio de Sobrellano, the Pontifical University, the Capricho de Gaudí and the Cemetery and Angel of Llimona, in Comillas, offer examples of neo-Gothic architecture and Catalan modernism. The Royal Palace of La Magdalena in Santander, the Casino de El Sardinero and other holiday-related buildings in Santander are the region’s foremost examples of 20th-Century architecture. Cantabria’s greatest exponents of contemporary architecture are the Palacio de Festivales, the ‘Festival Hall’ and the Palacio de Deportes sports arena, both in Santander.

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Museums around Cantabria The region’s firm commitment to disseminating and, in many cases, discovering, a historical heritage that goes back to the beginning of time, is reflected in the attractive journey through history that visitors can enjoy through the various comarcas of Cantabria and their museums. Cantabria is building up an extensive and varied network of site museums and interpretation centres located in places that are representative of each of the region’s historical periods. The region offers visitors a journey through space and time. The tour takes them from the coast to the mountains, but also transports them to the Palaeolithic era, the Roman period, the Middle Ages and classical times, or to the modernism of the 19th Century, through a series of centres that, using the latest technology, provide insight into times gone by, the people of the past and the footprints they left on the region. • Julióbriga. Roman Town and Domus Museum, Julióbriga. Roman City and Domus Museum, an archaeological site that allows visitors to contemplate public buildings, huts, houses and mansions from the Roman period. The Domus displays, based on sets and reproductions, the rooms used by Romans in their daily lives as well as their way of life. The museum section also offers a selection of objects discovered at the excavations. Location: Retortillo (Campoo de Enmedio). • The Cantabrian-Roman Archaeological Site at Camesa was created around a villa and its baths. The area offers archaeological remains that include a reconstruction of the baths and Roman mural paintings. A virtual reality show displays the aspect of the area and the use given to the building. The interactive exhibition centre enables visitors to discover aspects of the history of the area and of people’s daily lives. Location: Camesa (Valdeolea). Without leaving the comarca of Campóo, in southern Cantabria, we can transport ourselves to medieval times through the Romanesque Interpretation Centre in Villacantid, which is housed in the Romanesque Church of Santa María la Mayor de Villacantid. The artistic intensity of this church provides the perfect setting for an exhibition which displays the splendour of international Romanesque architecture captured in an extensive network of churches in Cantabria’s southern valleys. Location: Villacantid (Hermandad de Campóo de Suso).

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Another notable place is the Rock Architecture Interpretation Centre of Santa María de Valverde, providing insight into this unique heritage from the early Middle Ages, made up of hermitages, necropoleis, and churches that were dug into rock and are found all over the comarca of Valderredible. At this space, located in the vicinity of the most notable cave church, visitors will discover the secrets to a culture that made rock the cornerstone of religious beliefs. Location: Santa María de Valverde (Valderredible). With the Middle Ages now in full swing, the museological display exhibited in the Tower of Pero Niño, in San Felices de Buelna, offers visitors a chance to gain an insight into feudal society through the life and exploits of Pero Niño, the Count of Buelna. To relive this period in history, the exhibition offers a presentation using multimedia technology, with a special emphasis on audio and tactile elements that are accessible to people with visual impairments and on the humanisation of the display’s line of discussion through eight actors who recreate scenes in the life of Pero Niño, his knighting and the granting of his countship. Graphical resources, optical games, virtual theatre with holograms, themed and audio-interactive volumes, with touch-screens or electromagnetically activated and fulfilling an educational function make up the list of technologies placed at the service of culture and history. Location: San Felices de Buelna. • Comarca del Nansa: House Museum of Tudanca, also known as the Casona. It was the residence of the writer and patron, a key figure in 20th-Century Spanish thinking and creation, Don José María de Cossío y Martínez-Fortún, author of El Cossío. This building houses some literary treasures such as the manuscript of Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejía by García Lorca, letters by Alberti, paintings by artists of the same generation and bullfighting souvenirs of Cossío’s matador friends etc. Location: Tudanca. • Carrejo. The Cantabrian Museum of Nature is located in an 18th-Century mansion in the locality of Carrejo and is a clear example of a space where modern museography is combined to perfection with popular period architecture. The exhibition is aimed at anyone interested in Cantabria’s natural environment, offering them a concise and enlightening overview of the region’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems through three independent spaces that form the centre. Location: Carrejo. • Altamira, the cradle of civilisation. Near the comarca of Besaya, in Santillana del Mar, lies one of Cantabria’s most important attractions - Altamira. Next to the original cave, in a beautiful building designed by Navarro Baldewerg, the Altamira

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Museum is a centre for the preservation, study and dissemination of the Altamira Cave and Prehistory and a unique space where visitors can get to know humanity’s earliest artwork. Location: Santillana del Mar. After this exciting tour, the Aguila and Parra casonas await us in the medieval town. These magnificent examples of early 16th-Century architecture in the Gothic tradition house interesting exhibitions on various themes. Discovering “our things”: Ethnographic Museum of Cantabria in Muriedas, near the capital. Located in the Casona de Velarde, this museum displays notable collections of objects from various periods of history and of various types, uses and origins. They include popular furniture, kitchen utensils, the tools of traditional trades, household furnishings and a large number of unique pieces of great historical value and very representative of the region’s material culture. Location: Muriedas (Camargo). • Santander, an interesting itinerary from prehistoric times to the seabeds of the Bay of Biscay: from the Museum of Prehistory to the Maritime Museum. In a land of great caves housing rock art, the Cantabrian Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology is home to material remains from some famous archaeological sites: La Garma, El Castillo, Altamira… Its collections of Palaeolithic stone tools and portable art, carved into bone and horn, make it a leading museum in Europe. The collection is being moved in 2009 and will be exhibited temporarily at a space at the Mercado del Este market in Santander. The itinerary runs along one of the world’s most beautiful bays and, passing the Festival Hall, the venue for an intense artistic programme throughout the year, it heads for the Cantabrian Maritime Museum, where visitors can enjoy an entertaining and educational initiation into the wonders of the seabed thanks to the museum’s beautiful aquariums, and gain an insight into the intense relationship between humans and the sea that has shaped the character of the Cantabrian people. Location: C/ San Martín de Bajamar (Santander). This array of ideas is complemented by other centres of interest such as the Santander Fine Art Museum, the River Asón River Basin Nature Interpretation Centre in Arredondo, the Trasmiera Eco-park, the Prehistoric Interpretation Centre in Ramales de la Victoria, the

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River Port Activity Interpretation Centre in Limpias, the Botanical Interpretation Centre in Arboreto de Liendo, the Historical and Stonework Technique Interpretation Centre in Cereceda, the Las Encartaciones Ethnographic and Cultural Interpretation Centre in the Villaverde Valley, the Wetland Ecology Workshop Interpretation Centre in Bรกdames-Rada, the Neolithic Megalithism Interpretation Centre in Ampuero-Guriezo, and the Saja-Nansa Eco-museum Visitor Reception and Interpretation Centre in Polaciones. The Pasiego Valleys are also home to various centres, including the Wet Nurse Musuem in Selaya, the Casa del Pasiego in San Roque de Riomera, the Museum of the Indianos in Saro or the Villas Pasiegas in Vega de Pas. Cultural agenda The region of Cantabria has an extensive programme of artistic, musical and cultural activities, organised both publicly and privately. The most notable event is the Santander International Festival (FIS), an occasion with over half a century of history which attracts the finest of the international art and music scene to the city in the month of August. Throughout the year, the Cantabrian Festival Hall also offers an outstanding musical and theatrical programme which includes opera, great recitals, classical music concerts, dance, theatre and specific events for children.

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Other institutions like the Caja Cantabria Social Fund, the University of Cantabria, the Santander Athenaeum and the Marcelino Botín Foundation provide Santander and Cantabria with a wealth of cultural events. Equally, the most prestigious speakers offer lectures to students from all over the world in the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) summer courses. Similar events include the University of Cantabria (UC) summer courses, the Artesantander Modern Art Fair, the Music and Academy gatherings and the Santander Piano Competition, which make this city Spain’s cultural capital in the summer. Especially in the summer season, the rest of the region’s municipalities also organise a varied cultural programme, crammed with performances of high artistic quality. In many of these localities, the evenings come alive with crowds of visitors who go to enjoy the best musical or theatrical performances, etc. The main attractions include the region’s folk festivals, including the Cantabrian Infinita Festival. In all of them top Spanish and foreign artists perform. The network of municipal theatres coordinated by the Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport over recent years brings a joint artistic programme to the region’s main towns, which ensures the quality of the shows. This network includes the Cantabrian Film Institute, with associated municipalities that show the programmes and cycles devised throughout the year, and the Concha Espina Municipal Theatre in Torrelavega.

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NATURE

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Protected spaces Cantabria has large expanses of natural land that come under some kind of protective concept. They include mountain, wetland and forest and all of them are of great ecological value. The Cantabrian Network of Protected Natural Spaces incorporates 37 spaces. These include one national park, the Picos de Europa, shared with Asturias and Castilla y León; six nature reserves: the Liendres Dunes, Saja-Besaya, Oyambre, the Peña Cabarga Massif, the Asón Hills and the Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Wetlands; one natural monument, the Monte Cabezón Redwood Trees; eight Special Protection Areas for Birds and 21 places of regional interest. Picos de Europa National Park With a surface area of 250 square miles, the Picos de Europa National Park stretches across Cantabria, Asturias and León. Within Cantabria it occupies a surface area of 60 square miles. The Picos de Europa are part of the Cantabrian Mountain Range. The main point of entry to the Picos de Europa in Cantabria is via the A-8 Autovía del Cantábrico to Unquera, where there is a turning onto the national N-621 road to Potes, the capital of the comarca of Liébana. This road runs through the spectacular La Hermida gorge. From Potes, the regional CA-185 road leads to Fuente Dé, one of the entry points to the National Park and the location of the famous cable car. The park’s geology is unique and all of the rocks belong to the Palaeozoic Era, or in other words they were formed over 230 million years ago. At that time, the Picos de Europa were submerged under a shallow sea, the bed of which gradually deposited carbonated sediments and remains of organisms that, following various processes of transformation, gave rise to the various types of limestone masses that now make up the region. Practically every altitudinal zone of vegetation is present on the Picos de Europa: colin, montane, subalpine and alpine. Consequently this national park is home to a wide variety of vegetation: oak trees on the rocky cliffs, riverbank forests, mixed forests, oak woods, beech groves and scrubland. The location of the Picos de Europa between two regions, the Euro-Siberian and Mediterranean, contributes to the wealth of animal life. This national park’s fauna is probably the richest and most varied of all Cantabria.

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Oyambre Nature Reserve Oyambre is reached via the Autovía del Cantábrico on the C-131 Comillas-La Revilla road to the Rabia inlet. This space spans the municipalities of Comillas, San Vicente de la Barquera, Udías, Val de San Vicente and Valdáliga. The reserve’s ecosystem includes a broad cross-section of species and habitats that are characteristic of the Cantabrian coast with various natural settings coexisting within a few kilometres, from the cliffs of the Oyambre headland to the forest environment of Monte Corona, including inlets and estuaries, coastal plains, meadows, beaches and dune systems, among others. The reserve’s animal life is determined by its variety of ecosystems. It is a thoroughfare for a large number of migratory bird species, with almost two hundred species counted, and also home to large communities of vertebrates and invertebrates that are very representative of coastal and wetland habitats. The local mammals include badgers, squirrels, foxes and martens and the birds include seagulls, cormorants, stilts and swans. There are also amphibians such as frogs and salamanders and, naturally, aquatic organisms such as razor-shells, clam and crab. On the Oyambre beach, one of the largest of the reserve, there is an inscription on a small monolith that summarises the story of the aviation pioneers who became the area’s claim to fame. “This is the beach where the first transatlantic aeroplane that touched Spanish soil landed. It was the ‘Yellow Bird’, a direct flight from Old Orchard (USA), crewed by Sollant, Lefebre and Ltti, 10 June 1929”. Monte Cabezón Redwood Trees Natural Monument. Very close to the Oyambre Nature Reserve, there is a plot of six acres where a colony of redwood trees grows. This natural space, known as Monte Las Navas, was given Natural Monument status in 2003. It is a unique place because the redwood is a rare species, capable of growing to great heights and enormous proportions and longevity. Monte Cabezón’s redwood trees were planted in the late 1940s.

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Peña Cabarga Massif Nature Reserve This reserve is reached via regional road CA-412, which from near Heras climbs the massif, going around its east flank and part of its southern side to the Pico Llen summit. There are other routes from the northern area and from the Cabárceno Nature Reserve, which is located within its boundaries. This natural space’s unique features include its climatology, given that the climactic conditions differ greatly between the base of the massif and the area around the summit. The same thing can be said of the north and south sides, which have different temperatures and precipitation. As far as the geology is concerned, Peña Cabarga is made up of calcareous rocks (limestone and dolomite) which have undergone a process of karstification. In other words, mildly acidic waters that penetrated through the fissures in the rock widened the crevices and created passages and caves inside the massif where stalactites and stalagmites were formed. On the surface some very characteristic topography was formed such as karrens, chasms, dolines, etc. The most spectacular example of these karstic forms are the cone-shaped calcareous pinnacles or ‘tower karsts’, of a reddish colour, which have developed in this natural space. Also as a result of the karstification process undergone by the calcareous rocks of Peña Cabarga, a complex inner network of subterranean waters was formed, which replaced the almost non-existent network of surface waters. The vegetation includes groves of buckthorn, holm oak, bay, hawthorn and service trees, among others, on the south side. In the low areas there are lime, hazelnut and ash trees. The Cabárceno Nature Reserve falls within this space, located on the site of a former opencast iron mine. The Liencres Dunes Nature Reserve The Liencres Dunes Nature Reserve is usually accessed via regional road CA-231 from Santander to Boo de Piélagos, heading after Liencres towards the Valdearenas beach in the heart of the reserve. Dune fields are accumulations of sand caused by the wind and fed by the swell. The Liencres Dunes are the most extensive and well-developed dunes on the Cantabrian coast, including from a botanical point of view. The area is home to various types of dune depending on the mobility of the sediments that form them, a factor which determines how vulnerable they are. The primary dunes are located close to the beach and the mobility of their

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sand is greater, given that they are more exposed to the wind. These dunes progressively grow in size and make up the most vulnerable ecosystem. When a mobile dune is colonised by vegetation, semi-permanent or secondary dunes begin to develop, formed on the basis of the erosion of the previous level’s dunes. Tertiary or permanent dunes are formed when the dune’s vegetation reaches a high level of stability. Permanent dunes reach heights of up to 40 metres above sea level and their mobility is imperceptible. In 1949, the tertiary dunes were repopulated with Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster) with the aim of stabilising the dunes and forming a protective barrier against the advancing sediments. The most common component of the sand is silica, but it also contains other components of bioclastic origin, fragments of shells of organisms that inhabit the estuary, which give the sand the characteristic golden colour of Cantabria’s beaches and dune fields. Saja-Besaya Nature Reserve The Saja-Besaya Nature Reserve covers a surface area of 95 square miles, spanning several Cantabrian municipalities: Ruente, Los Tojos, Campóo de Suso, Cieza, Arenas de Iguña and Cabuérniga. The reserve reaches a maximum height above sea level of 2,087 metres at the Iján peak. The main means of access from Santander to the Saja-Besaya Nature Reserve are the N-611 road and the Autovía del Cantábrico. The N-611 links the regional capital to the towns of Torrelavega and Reinosa and runs along the River Besaya towards the villages of Villasuso, Los Llares and Pujayo. From the Autovía del Cántabrico road, which connects Santander and Oviedo, there is an exit for Cabezón which leads to a regional road that runs along the Cabuérniga valleys. The nature reserve borders the Cantabrian Mountains in the south and rises to the east; its highest summits are the peaks of Cordel (2,040 metres) and Iján (2,087 metres). To the north it borders on the Sierra del Escudo.

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The Saja and Besaya Rivers are separated by age-worn mountains of gentle and rounded summits and moderate altitudes, which gain in height as we approach the Cantabrian Mountains. Obios is the highest peak. Three different altitudinal types of vegetation are present in this reserve: colin, montane and subalpine. The watershed of the River Besaya, which rises in Peñuquíos, is made up of the Cieza and Poniente mountains. These are crosslaid with rivers and streams of a moderate flow rate, such as Los Llares, which increases its flow considerably before yielding it to the Besaya. The River Cieza is another of the Besaya’s main tributaries. The Saja system is the more varied. The basins of the Saja’s tributaries form a dense network of streams and channels; the fluvial valleys are wider, with fast-flowing and longer rivers running through them, such as the Argoza. The Saja’s headwaters coincide with the highest area of the reserve, where there are deep mountain streams and torrents. The drainage from a large expanse of limestone takes place at Fuentona de Ruente. Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Wetlands Nature Reserve The Marshlands of Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Natural Park is located on the eastern section of the Cantabrian coastline and includes parts of the districts of: Argoños, Ampuero, Bárcena de Cicero, Colindres, Escalante, Laredo, Limpias, Noja, Santoña and Voto. The Santoña marshes were created by the rise in sea level following the last ice age, which led to the flooding of the River Asón’s fluvial valley. The Victoria and Joyel marshes developed in a simpler manner. Various inland water courses converge at these wetlands to empty into the sea: the Limpias and Rada inlets. To the west, small streams flow into the marshes and the main inflow of fresh water comes from the River Asón. The seawater penetrates this estuary through the San Martín channel from the Bay of Biscay and, as a result of the tides, every six and a quarter hours,

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approximately, it goes back out, and this filling and emptying is repeated periodically. One of the most interesting aspects of this natural space is its birdlife. The Santo単a and Noja Wetlands Nature Reserve is the most important Cantabrian marshland from an ornithological point of view. It occupies a strategic position on the migratory route undertaken every year by millions of aquatic birds from their breeding grounds in Northern Europe to their winter quarters in Southern Europe and Africa, making it a place where birds feed and rest and also a wintering ground. The main group of birds that inhabit the wetlands are waders, which have long legs and beaks that allow them to dig deep into the mud and feed on the invertebrates that live there. There is also an important population of waterbirds, such as the mallard, common teal and shoveler. Other birds associated with aquatic environments are common to the Santo単a and Noja marshes, including the great cormorant, the grey heron, the little bittern, the black-headed gull, the kingfisher and the osprey, among others. The spoonbill merits special mention as the symbol of the nature reserve; this bird receives its name from the shape of its beak and up to 75 percent of the Dutch population visit this reserve to rest during their prenuptial migration. During their postnuptial migration groups of up to a hundred specimens take shelter in the reserve. The nature reserve is home to large populations of amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

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Collados del Asón Nature Park. The Collados del Asón Nature Reserve is located in the south-eastern corner of Cantabria, at the headwaters of the Asón and Gándara Rivers. Its surface area covers 18 square miles and it reaches a maximum height of 1,434 metres above sea level and a minimum of 250 metres. It is located entirely within the municipality of Soba. It is an area of steep and complex topography, with sizeable slopes and elevations which in many cases exceed or come close to 1,500 metres. The geological formation that supports the entire territory is a large limestone formation. The rainwater, through a karstification process, has gradually moulded the rocks and given rise to a number of surface formations such as karrens, dolomites and karst fields or blind valleys and also a large number of caves, caverns and chasms. It is therefore an area full of clefts, grooves and cavities where the waters filter down and create internal currents that often sprout up as springs. This is the case of the Asón waterfall, the waters of which come, in part, from a karst field. The Miera and Alto Asón valleys were eroded by the glaciers which created the widest and deepest U-shaped valleys, with cirques at the high areas and glacial deposits. The surface hydrographic network is made up of two main rivers: the Asón, which the reserve gets its name from, and its tributary, the Gándara. The source of the River Asón is a karstic spring which drops into the void to form an immense and beautiful waterfall exceeding a height of over 50 metres, in the form of a horsetail. The reserve is also home to a subterranean water network made up of a system of interconnected conduits ranging in length between 2 and 30 kilometres. This mesh of underground streams is one of Europe’s biggest subterranean networks.

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Beaches The Cantabrian coastline has up to 90 beaches of fine white sand which constitute one of the region’s main tourist attractions, bringing in thousands of holidaymakers every year. Big, small, urban, wild, isolated and peaceful or open to the Bay of Biscay, the majority of these beaches are located near important localities which have an extensive range of accommodation and plenty of facilities. Cantabria’s municipalities that have beaches are: Val de San Vicente, San Vicente de la Barquera, Valdáliga, Comillas, Alfoz de Lloredo, Santillana del Mar, Suances, Miengo, Piélagos, Santa Cruz de Bezana, Santander, Marina de Cudeyo, Bareyo, Noja, Santoña, Arnuero, Laredo, Liendo and Castro Urdiales.

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Caves of geological interest Cantabria has over 6,500 caves in its subsoil. In addition to the prehistoric caves of great artistic and historical value, the region has an extraordinary subterranean heritage of great geological value. The Soplao, Culvery and Alto Asón Cave Network are the greatest exponents. Just in the comarca of Alto Asón, there are over 4,500 caves. If there is one thing this area is known for internationally it is the quantity and quality of its caves. Buried deep in the bowels of Asón, its subterranean heritage is unparalleled on the Iberian Peninsula and even in Europe. For instance, inside the Torca del Carlista sinkhole, there is an enormous chamber that three football pitches would fit in. Furthermore, the Cueto-Coventosa system is Spain’s most famous underground network. This cave’s speleological system goes to a depth of over 800 metres and has a total length exceeding 32 kilometres. A circuit of guided tours offered by professional speleologists allows visitors to explore a world of adventure and admire this unique creation of nature. The majority of these caves can be accessed by anyone, regardless of their physical condition, age or experience. There are caves for all tastes, ranging from simple horizontal caves, accessed without ropes but very expansive, to others in which abseiling becomes an important part of the visit. Visitors can choose the level of difficulty and adventure in caves like Cofiar or Cueva Fresca. Another of the region’s most notable geological wonders is the Cave of Cullalvera, in Ramales de la Victoria, of spectacular dimensions thanks to the effect of water erosion. Its mouth is monumental with a height of 40 metres and a width of 30. In addition to its geological value, it houses the deepest prehistoric paintings in the world.

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CANTABRIA, A CROSSROADS Camino de Santiago and Camino Lebaniego Cantabria’s relationship with the pilgrim trails goes back to days of old. The region is proud to be home to the Santo Toribio de Liébana Monastery, one of the four holy places of the Christian world, and also a port of call on the coastal Camino de Santiago, or Way of St James. The celebration of the 2010 Holy Year of St James is the perfect time to discover the coastal pilgrim’s trail to Santiago de Compostela. Walkers opting for this route will discover that Cantabria is an attractive crossroads. The two trails are the Northern Camino de Santiago and the Camino Lebaniego, which leads to the Santo Toribio Monastery, home to the Lignum Crucis relic and where, since 1512 and through a papal bull issued by Pope Julius II, indulgence can be obtained during the Lebaniego Holy Year. These two routes are a favourite among pilgrims and hikers from all over the world. The two trails partly coincide and the Lebaniego is a link between the two Ways of St James to Santiago, the coastal route and the French route. The Coastal Camino de Santiago runs along the coastline through a beautiful landscape, crammed with art and history. The trail through Cantabria begins in El Haya de Ontón, near the seaside town of Castro Urdiales, and passes through many of the region’s coastal localities such as Laredo, Santoña, Santander, Santillana del Mar, Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera, all the way to Unquera. From near here, in Hortigal in the municipality of Val de San Vicente, the trail joins the Camino Lebaniego on its way to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, in the foothills of the Picos de Europa mountains. The routes and paths of both trails are home to a wide variety of magnificent scenery blended with important examples of civil and religious architecture and a rich cultural heritage. Collegiate churches like the one in Santa del Mar, churches like the Mozarabic Santa María de Lebeña, Romanesque churches like the one in Bareyo, gothic churches like the four Santa Marías (in San Vicente, Santoña, Laredo and Castro Urdiales) and Santander’s cathedral, alongside the Neogothic Monastery of Viaceli, the Cistercian Abbey of Cóbreces or the

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Baroque colonial-style Cigüenza church, appear before pilgrims together with outstanding historical buildings and cultural landmarks, including the world-famous Altamira caves. Nine stages The Camino de Santiago in Cantabria can be completed in nine stages. Some of them are very easy, like shortest stage, of 12.1 kilometres, between Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera. The rest range between 14 kilometres (between Castro Urdiales and Guriezo) and the longest stage of 33 kilometres between Santander and Santillana del Mar. The ‘Northern Trail’ crosses the region from east to west, following practically the entire coastline and offering incredible panoramic views of the Cantabrian coast and, depending on which way you look, the mountains that crown the region. In addition to its religious heritage, the Camino de Santiago on its way through Cantabria reveals some interesting historical remains and civil architecture, including the medieval town of Castro Urdiales, the La Yseca ironworks, Laredo’s historic centre, the little pilgrim’s museum located in the Güemes hostel, the La Magdalena Palace in Santander, the typical Cantabrian rural architecture of Ruiloba, Gaudí’s Capricho building, the Pontifical University and the Palacio de Sobrellano in Comillas, the Castillo del Rey castle and walls in San Vicente... It also offers charming scenery like the Tina Mayor and Menor tidal inlets, the Oyambre nature reserve, the Luaña beach and the beaches of the Cantabrian capital, including El Sardinero, the impressive views over the Bay of Santander from Somo, the Guriezo Valley, Mount Buciero and the Oriñón and El Pontarrón tidal inlet. 50 more kilometres to Santo Toribio In 2010, pilgrims to Santiago with time to spare can take the opportunity to visit Santo Toribio, following the Camino Lebaniego. This trail consists of just three more stages and a little over 50 kilometres. The Deva and Nansa river basins, the majestic Picos de Europa and localities of great rural tradition like Herrerías, Peñarrubia and Potes are well worth discovering. A well-tended network of hostels, many of them established recently thanks to the boost that the Regional Government’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport gave to these facilities for the occasion of the Lebaniego Holy Year celebrations in 2006, awaits pilgrims choosing this alternative on their way to Santiago in the 2010 Holy Year of St James.

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Lebaniego Holy Year The progressive disappearance of paganism and ancient Roman beliefs, the adoption of Christianity as a common binding religion, the widespread worship of saints and the resistance of the burgeoning Christian kingdoms to the Islamic invasion are some of cornerstones on which European cultural unity is based, shaping the landscape where the great medieval pilgrim trails emerged. The growing veneration of the saints, anointed by the church as intercessors before God in human matters, capable even of producing miracles and cures, quickly led to a proliferation of temples erected in their honour, which were often depositories of sacred relics. All of this led to a large number of the faithful travelling to these holy places in search of protection and favour: the first pilgrimages took place. The strategic need to maintain the lines of communication that interconnected the major spiritual (and political) centres of the time acted as a conveyor belt for the transmission of the cultural features of each place, as the enormous historical and artistic heritage strewn around each trail demonstrates. Clear evidence was left of the exchange of ideas, techniques and theoretical concepts which favoured the existence of these important arteries. In addition to Jerusalem, the scene of the Passion and Death of Christ, in Europe two main destinations, where these trails came to converge, gained prominence due to their special symbolism: Rome, where the tomb of Saint Peter constituted the cornerstone of Catholicism, and Santiago de Compostela, named after the Patron Saint of Spain, under the protection of whom the Christians fought the expansion of Islam, which threatened to reach the very heart of Christian Europe. On the basis of these two destinations of great significance, a constellation of trails and paths intertwined, structuring the two great European spiritual roads under the names of the Camino de Santiago (the ‘Way of St. James’), with a variety of starting points and ending in Compostela, and the Via Francigena, which started in Canterbury before entering Northern France, following the flow of the Lower Rhine and heading to its final destination, Rome. In 1512, having legally formalised what was already an ancient tradition, these two historic trails were joined by the Camino de Santo Toribio de LiĂŠbana, in Cantabria, which perfectly exemplifies the importance of many of the less famous trails, which although connected to the route and tradition of the main pilgrimages, have some unique and exceptional characteristics.

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Our understanding of these trails, whether they are important or modest, of their landmarks and landscapes, of the artistic expressions they produced and of what they meant in their day, is paramount to our understanding of the very root of who we now are, because their indispensable legacy is part of what essentially defines us as Europeans. Our governments are responsible, through their cultural policies, for promoting and disseminating this generous inheritance, taking the necessary action to maintain it, and giving the public the opportunity to learn about their past, to discover their history and to enrich themselves with the feeling provided by the experience of learning. These institutions’ objectives must include providing information on these cultural phenomena and ensuring that the tourism services are adequately adapted to their specific needs. Within this framework, the Routes of Europe international initiative, which aims to highlight the value of these trails and promote cooperation between the communities that share this valuable heritage, now has the full support of the Cantabrian Government. Through its Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport and the Managing Company for the Lebaniego Jubilee Year, Cantabria has joined the cause on the basis of the cultural principles that the initiative revolves around and the inescapable obligation to take part in a project in which the region feels so profoundly involved as, and this something that unjustly is little known, the only region in the world that has two holy trails: the Santiago in the north, running along our coast from El Haya de Ontón to Unquera, and the Camino Lebaniego to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, which shares the privilege, alongside Jerusalem, Rome and Compostela, as one of the world’s four holy places. The last Holy Year at Santo Toribio was celebrated in 2006/07 under the slogan ‘Cantabria 2006/07. Liébana, Land of Jubilee’. Cantabria collaborates with Galicia, France and Italy for the creation of ‘The Trail of the Relics’ The Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport of the Cantabrian Government has signed a

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collaborative protocol for the launch of the ‘Trail of the Relics’ with the region of Abruzzo in Italy and the municipal councils of Celanova in Galicia and Conque in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France. The aim of this protocol is to provide stability to relations between the regions of Cantabria and Abruzzo and the municipalities of Celanova and Conques in order to undertake a joint tourism and cultural development project to highlight the value of the relics and historical-cultural resources linked to the itineraries of the ‘Routes of Europe: the Camino de Santiago and the Via Francigena’. In this sense, the ambition of Routes of Europe’s objective is considerable, aspiring to unite all of the regions of Europe that have a relic. The aim of the network is to consolidate and strengthen the historicalcultural ties of its members and to organise a joint tourism package based on the considerable religious and cultural heritage spread throughout the area: churches, museums, buildings etc. The goal is to establish a trail which brings the relics and the beauty of their surroundings into the limelight. THE TWO TRAILS The Northen Trail Following the discovery in Campus Stellae of the remains of the Apostle James in the early 9th Century, the Asturian monarch Alfonso II encouraged pilgrimages to the Holy Sepulchre by travelling there himself and ordering the construction of a small temple, thereby becoming the first pilgrim in history. Under the protection of Charlemagne, with the intention of keeping its frontiers safe from the Islamic threat, a corridor was created along the Cantabrian Mountains along which the first streams of pilgrims flowed. Coming from France and Central Europe, they entered via Irún, and significant numbers came by sea from England and the Nordic countries through the many ports on the coast. The Camino del Norte (the ‘Northern Way’) was inaugurated as the original Way of St. James, where the emerging trails of Europe would converge with the invisible, but nonetheless real, water courses. After covering much of the coast, the most popular way to Compostela at that time was the one that, recalling the route taken by the Asturian monarch, started from the church of San Salvador in Oviedo and, crossing León, headed inland to Santiago; this was known as the Ruta Primitiva, the Original Route.

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From the 10th Century, as the Arabs retreated south and, due to the Cluniac influence, a new route was organised through La Rioja and Castilla in favour of its powerful monasteries, which became the most popular route from then on since it also avoided the winding coasts and steep mountains of the north. The Way of St. James was established once and for all and the doors were opened to the extraordinary cultural exchange that would transform the medieval world. This French Way promoted in Cluny became in this manner the most widely accepted, although the Northern Way never lost its status as a recognised and traditional route, as the countless churches, hospitals and shelters demonstrate, erected after the new route was established and crammed with reference to St. James and to the pilgrimage itself. Currently, due to the high cultural demands and renewed popular interest in these historical trails, various ‘Friends of the Way’ Associations have joined forces with the governments of the northern regions of Spain to undertake the task of revitalising, signposting and providing services for the old paths, which have made the coastal option a powerful alternative to the conventional way. The large number of binding elements that converge on these trails (art, religion, tourism, international exchange, sport etc) only increase their value and multiply their appeal. The Cantabrian Coastal Way crosses the entire region in nine stages, from east to west, passing through seaside and rural towns and villages of great interest and replete with history. These include Castro-Urdiales, Laredo, SantoĂąa, Santander, Santillana del Mar, Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera and they all offer accommodation for pilgrims and tourist information centres, as well as the green landscapes and peace for the soul that our region provides to any walkers who venture to explore it in this manner.

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The Cruceno Way to Santo Toribio de Liébana Cantabria’s immemorial relationship with the Way of St. James has an added dimension in this region, because in addition to this first and safest route to the tomb of the apostle, the pilgrims visited the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana before continuing on their way to Compostela. Without leaving Cantabria they embarked on the Camino Lebaniego or Camino Cruceno, a trail that in just two days would take them from the San Vicente de la Barquera area, over the hills that separate the Nansa and Deva river basins, to this impregnable bastion of Christianity, an unmissable visit due to its special significance. The Monastery of Santo Toribio has for over a thousand years housed one of Christendom’s most precious relics: the Lignum Crucis. The biggest known fragment of the Holy Cross was brought to León in the 5th Century by Santo Toribio from the Holy Lands and was subsequently taken to this hidden refuge to safeguard it from Islamic desecration. So, the pilgrims on the coastal Way of St. James would now become crucenos on their journey in Liébana, leaving behind the constant proximity of the Bay of Biscay for a few days for the shelter of the limestone peaks of the Picos de Europa and, stopping for nothing, they would enter the very heart of the Liébana valley itself and prostrate themselves before the most eminent relic of Christ. On the basis of this ancient tradition and thanks to the papal bull granted by Julius II in 1512, a centuries-old practice was ratified and the Monastery was given the

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status of holy place of pilgrimage. Thereafter, the years on which the Day of Santo Toribio falls on a Sunday will be considered by the church as Holy Years, offering plenary indulgence to any pilgrims journeying there, who will thereby earn their jubilee and obtain a pardon for their sins. The exceptional nature of this condition led to an unprecedented promotional campaign by the Cantabrian Government during the 2006/2007 Lebaniego Jubilee Year, borne out by countless activities of great significance in every cultural and religious field. This ensured that the event was publicised nationally and internationally like it had never been before. It became an enormous focus of attention and yielded record visitor numbers, including pilgrims motivated by its spiritual significance and tourists looking for high-quality cultural tourism. Indeed, aside from the purely religious phenomenon, the comarca of LiÊbana in which the monastery is located is one of Spain’s most beautiful mountainous areas, home of the dramatic Picos de Europa scenery and a privileged natural environment. An excellent and varied supply of accommodation is available and the area’s heritage, tourist attractions and cuisine are first-rate, with countless places of interest that make it a superb choice of destination.

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ROUTES FOR PILGRIMS The Castilian Trail Liébana and Castile are separated by the rugged topography of the Cantabrian Mountains, which form a sizeable mountainous barrier, in particular when it comes to the Peña Labra and Peña Prieta peaks, with various intermediate summits that come close to or exceed 2,000 metres. The historical predecessor of this trail seems to be a Roman road. It is the prolongation towards Liébana of the ‘Vía del Burejo’, which from Pisorca (Herrera de Pisuerga) followed the course of the River Burejo to the Colmenares area (Dehesa de Montejo), where the important Roman archaeological site of El Otero is located. The continuation of the road through Cervera de Pisuerga and Pernía Valley seems logical, given that in this area the road finds passage to Liébana, and Potes, via both Sierra Albas and Piedrasluengas.

The Leonese Trail The mountainous boundary which separates Liébana from the province of León is one of the highest and most rugged of the Cantabrian Mountains. This section between Peña Prieta and the central massif of the Picos de Europa (Torre del Llambrión) is characterised by its great height, always above 1,600 metres and a large number of peaks that easily exceed 2,000 metres. The main route between Liébana and León is the San Glorio Pass. The origin of the San Glorio way is unknown, but it is presumed to date back to the late medieval period, when Liébana was a heavily populated and dynamic comarca belonging to the Kingdom of León. However, the possibility of a Roman predecessor cannot be discarded and in fact two of the rare traces of the Romanisation of Liébana are trails that have been preserved in the towns of Potes and Villaverde, practically at the foot of the San Glorio pass.

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The Asturian Trail The Asturian Trail is the most complex because the Picos de Europa must be crossed. The trail ran through the municipality of Cabrales and climbed from Arenas, along the Caoru road, to Sotres. From here, there were two possibilities: one following the course of the River Duje to the Áliva passes, before descending to Espinama, and the other by going around the western massif of the Picos on the north side, to the village of Bejes, before crossing through the Pelea Pass to Cabañes and continuing through Pendes and past the San Fransico hermitage to Potes.

The Coastal Trail The traditional route that led to Liébana from the coast began in the San Vicente de la Barquera area and ran along the Nansa river basin and the Lamasón Valley. From there, two paths existed: one through the Pasaneu Pass to the Bedoya Valley and the other through the Arceón Pass to Lebeña. The two trails converge again at Castro and follow the course of the River Deva to Potes. The main landmarks on the trail continue to be its old monasteries and churches.

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The Besaya Romanesque Road Inland trails and joining with the French Way With the rise in popularity of the French Way to Santiago through Castilian lands, the routes that linked Cantabria from the coast or interior to this main route multiplied. Through the various mountain passes (Los Tornos, Palombera etc) pilgrim trails led to the meseta, the central Iberian plateau, towards Burgos or Palencia, in search of the main flow of European pilgrim traffic travelling through Castile and its great monasteries and cathedrals. One of the oldest routes from the meseta to the coast was the Roman road, much of which ran along the River Besaya, negotiating the mountains through the Bárcena Ravine and reaching the sea at Portus Blendium (now called Suances). In its new role as a connecting road from Cantabria to the Way of St. James, it began at Santander and Santillana del Mar and went to Torrelavega, followed the Besaya along the old road and passed through Cantabrian and Palencian towns and villages before joining the main pilgrim trail in Carrión de los Condes, passing an abundance of Romanesque architecture and important historical heritage. In Cantabria, the trail is home to the following sights: the Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana in Santillana del Mar, the Church of Santa María de Yermo and the medieval architectural complex in Cartes, the archaeological remains of the Roman road in Bárcena de Pie de Concha and Molledo, Romanesque churches in La Serna, Silió and San Martín de Quevedo, the Roman site of Julióbriga in Retortillo, near Reinosa, and on the provincial border, the Romanesque Collegiate Church of San Pedro, in Cervatos, a building of great artistic value. This road’s long historical tradition, the wealth of its content and its enormous natural and scenic appeal have now led to initiatives to promote its revival. Its candidacy to be officially recognised by the Cantabrian Government’s cultural authorities is currently being assessed.

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HOSTEL NETWORK • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Castro Urdiales • 16 Beds • 942 87 15 12 • Police: 942 86 12 94 Hostel Network Islares •18 Beds • 671 99 58 70 • Tourist Office: 942 87 15 12 Guriezo • El Pontarrón • 18 Beds • 942 85 00 61 1 Castro Urdiales Liendo (Barrio Hazas) • 10 Beds • 650 867 193 / 942 64 30 07 2 Guriezo Colindres •18 Beds • 942 68 18 20 3 Liendo Laredo • El Buen Pastor • 20 (camas dobles), 8 rooms • 942 60 62 88 4 Laredo Laredo • La Trinidad • 6 Beds • 942 60 61 41 5 Laredo Santoña • Junior Hostel • 12 Beds • 942 66 20 08 6 Colindres Gama (Bárcena de Cicero) • 14 Beds • 942 64 20 65 7 Gama Güemes • El Cagigal • 40 Beds • 942 62 11 22 8 Santoña El Astillero • Nuestra Señora de Muslera • 14 Beds • 696 27 12 58 • 691 88 28 56 9 Güemes Cabárceno • Penagos City Council• 24 Beds • 635 07 03 71 10 El Astillero Santander • Santos Mártires • 20 Beds • 942 21 97 47 11 Santander Polanco • El Regato de las Anguilas • 6 Beds • 942 82 40 28 12 Polanco Santillana del Mar • Jesús Otero Municipal Hostel • 16 Beds • 942 84 01 98 13 Santillana del Mar Cóbreces • Abbey Cisterciense • 24 Beds • 942 72 50 17 14 Cóbreces Comillas • La Peña • 20 Beds • 942 72 25 91 • 942 72 02 89 15 Comillas San Vicente de la Barquera • El Galeón, Claretianos Convent • 45 Beds • 942 71 53 49 • 664 56 88 41 16 San Vicente de la Barquera Serdio (Val de San Vicente) • 16 Beds • 942 71 84 31 • 664 10 80 03 17 Serdio (Val de San Vicente) Riaño (Solórzano) (opción ciclista) • 32 Beds • 942 67 63 00 (City Council) 18 Lamasón 19 Cicera (Peñarrubia) CAMINO LEBANIEGO´S HOSTEL 20 Potes 21 Baró • Cades • Coming Soon 22 Camaleño. Santo Toribio • La Fuente (Lamas n). • 20 Beds • 942 72 7958 • 942 72 78 10 • Cicera • 20 Beds • 679 530 105 • 942 730 964 • Potes • Plaza Mayor • 45 Beds • 942 73 81 26 • Santo Toribio • 38 Beds • 942 73 05 50

N Colombres (Asturias)

Unquera

Comillas

San Vicente

Santoña Laredo

Güemes

Polanco

Gama

Astilleros

Cóbreces

Serdio

Somo

Penagos

Santillana del Mar

Colindres

Riaño (Solórzano)

islares

Castro-Urdiales El Haya de Ontón

Liendo

Guriezo Islares

Santoña

Laredo

Somo

10 Unquera

7

12

Serdio S. Vicente

Localities with Lodge Road Pilgrims Coastal Route Main (Across the Bays by boat Option Land (Surrounding Bays walk) Other Alternatives (Cyclists, Tourism, etc.). Limit Autonomy

9

Comillas

)

Cóbreces

12 Santillana

9

28

13 3

Polanco

Santander

26

Güemes

31 Astillero

4

19

Colindres

24 Güemes

13

9

12

5

Liendo Guriezo Islares

9

23 Castro

11 Gama

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Pobeña (Pais Vasco)

Santander

“A “E “S “E “L “A “A “A “E “N “S “E “A “A “L “C “A “A “A “P “A “M


FACILITIES OF TOURIST INTEREST CANTUR

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Cantabria’s most notable tourist facilities (the Cabárceno Nature Park, the Fuente Dé Cable Car and the Alto Campóo ski station, among others) are managed by the public enterprise Cantur S.A. (the Cantabrian Regional Tourism Promotion Company), which is dependant on the Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport. If Cantabria is a land of contrasts, a land for all the sense, Cantur offers visitors some magnificent facilities with which to enjoy nature, the animal kingdome, winter sports, golf and the local cuisine. Visitors can explore from the Picos de Europa National Park (reached via the Fuente Dé Cable Car and where visitors can enjoy relaxing at the Refugio de Áliva) to the mouth of the River Pas at its magnificent golf course. They can enjoy the comarca of Campoo at the source of the Ebro and its Restaurante Fontibre, at the Nestares golf course and at the Alto Campoo ski station. Down below, in the Pisueña Valley, lies the Cabárceno Nature Park, a demonstration of our respect for animal and plant life. And overlooking the Bay of Santander, presiding over it from afar on the Llen peak, the ‘Dark Room’ of Peña Cabarga offers one of the most spectacular views of the capital and the Cantabrian Mountains. Cantur have an information line (Infocantur: 902 210 112) and a website where users can find out about all of their services (www.cantur.com)

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“Fuente Dé” Cable car Sight, sound and smell are, of the five senses, the first that are awakened by the Picos de Europa. The mountain range, which reaches heights of over 2,000 metres, overwhelms visitors who feel like just a dot on the valley plain. The silence is startling to the ears and the nose picks up on the delicate scent of the mountains, of chestnut, oak, walnut and hazelnut… As an alternative to quad bikes or walking, Cantabria has an attractive system for climbing the Picos de Europa: the Fuente Dé Cable Car, which clears a drop of 750 metres and brings the passenger to a height above sea level of 1850 metres. Once on top of the mountain, visitors can go hiking, climbing or cross-country skiing and stay in the Refugio de Áliva, a hotel right on the mountain, four kilometres from the cable car. The area has a rich natural environment and cuisine and is an excellent place to find restaurants and taverns for sampling local produce and dishes and to discover peaceful spots and paths to explore on foot, bicycle or horseback.

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Alto Campóo Ski Station Campóo Los Valles is Cantabria’s southernmost comarca and gives rise to one of the great contrasts that the region boasts. With a more arid appearance than the northern part of the region, in winter it offers lovers of snow sports around 28 kilometres of pistes for skiing and snowboarding at the Alto Campóo station. The Alto Campóo ski station is in the Cantabrian Mountains at around 90 kilometres from Santander, very close to Reinosa. It ranges from 1,650 metres to 2,125 metres above sea level. It has 23 pistes, of which 10 are red, 9 are blue and 4 are green, as well as over 3 kilometres of linking routes, a cross-country circuit and a snowpark. In total there are almost 28 kilometres of ski slopes. Of the pistes, two have official approval for competition. The station has five chair lifts and eight ski lifts with a capacity of 13,100 people per hour. It also has a children’s play par, ski schools, restaurants, cafés... In December 2008, the stations opened the best park on the Cantabrian Mountains for snowboarding. The park has six kickers of green, blue and red difficulty levels, ranging between 1.5 metres for beginners to a maximum of 12 metres, a step-up jump, two rails, a flat down box, a flat box and an up-flat-down box. The boxes range from four to eight metres high. Enthusiasts can obtain more information from the www.altocampoo.com website, where they can see the latest news, the snow forecast and four webcams to verify the condition of the pistes.

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Golf Courses The comarca of Campóo is home to another landmark that the Cantabrians pride themselves on, the source of the River Ebro. After walking along the banks of the river and its first abundant waters, enveloping oneself in the green and luxuriant cloak of the trees, the tranquillity of the setting, visitors can sample some traditional cuisine at Restaurante Fontibre and, just a few kilometres away, play golf on the 18-hole Nestares course. Cantur has two golf courses: Nestares, at the foot of Alto Campóo, and Abra del Pas, in the area surrounding the mouth of the river of the same name. Both courses are characterised by the natural environment that surrounds them and by their modern facilities. Nestares is an 18-hole par-72 course with a versatile layout and great technical appeal. It is a course where the conditions have been made the most of and it is ideal both for regular players and beginners. The Abra del Pas Golf Course benefits from its proximity to Santander, just fifteen kilometres away, and Torrelavega, at eight kilometres. It is easily accessible and, although a 15-hole par-68 course, the Cantabrian Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport has plans to extend it by another three holes. Both courses, Nestares and Abra del Pas, have a practice area, approach bunkers, a putting green, changing rooms, a café and restaurant, equipment to rent and training and improvement courses. Cabárceno Nature Park The Cabárceno Nature Park is an invitation to lose oneself among the ochre-coloured and moonlike rocks that define the karstic landscape. However, this is just one of its features, the most striking perhaps, the one that first hits you. Then the surprise comes in the form of 114 species of animal life, around a thousand animals living in semi-freedom. The park’s great respect for the environment and its animal and plant life is evident. As a result, an average of 600,000 people visit the park annually. Visitors can explore this territory of nearly 2,000 acres by bus, quad bike or car. Once in the park they can attend exhibitions and environmental workshops, go hiking or relax at its cafés, restaurant or viewpoints.

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However, this is the most public facet of Cabárceno, its touristy side. The park also undertakes a great deal of research and conservationist activity. Research geared towards species conservation is one of the park’s priorities, working in collaboration with scientific entities and Spanish and European universities. Studying the behaviour of the African elephant and various endangered species reproduction programmes (European bison, tiger, white rhinoceros, brown bear…) are the main activities, and they are conducted to great success: the Cabárceno Nature Park is one of just a few European sites where all of the species reproduce naturally. It also has Spain’s biggest gorilla enclosure and one of the biggest in Europe. In April 2007 the park received two new residents, Nadia and Nicky, two specimens of the Western Gorilla, which came from Madrid’s zoo. The Peña Cabarga Dark Room Cantabrians know this summit popularly by the name of Peña Cabarga, although in truth the viewpoint sits upon Pico Llen, a 569 metres above sea level and to the south of the Bay of Santander. Peña Cabarga, visible from afar, is one Cantabria’s most privileged viewpoints. It offers views over the Bay of Santander, the Cantabrian Mountains and the land stretching east and west. In an attempt to revitalise the viewpoint and attach to it the importance it deserves, the Cantabrian Government has set up a ‘Dark Room’ on the crag, which as led to an incredible increase in visitor numbers. Pico Llen is part of a nature reserve of ten square miles, distributed between the municipalities of Liérganes, Medio Cudeyo, Penagos and Villaescusa. The silhouette of this sierra has since 1968 been rounded off by the Monument to the Indiano and the Cantabrian Navy, popularised with the nickname El Pirúli, the ‘Lollipop’. The Dark Room is located on the first platform of this monument, occupying a surface area of 23 square metres, and it offers (without looking out and thanks to an optical system) a three-dimensional image of the surroundings in real time and moving. In Cádiz and Edinburgh there are similar towers and in Cantabria it has been a resounding success with thousands of visits since it was opened in April 2007.

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COMARCAS & LOCALITIES

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Cantabria has a large number of beautiful and emblematic localities, although, undoubtedly, the most visited is the capital, Santander. This city of 200,000 inhabitants is modern and cosmopolitan and lies along one of the world’s most beautiful bays. Santander is a fairytale city, perfect for tourists and with an attractive summertime and nocturnal atmosphere. In addition to a comprehensive and varied cultural offering, this regional capital has a large number of impressive natural spaces, such as the Mataleñas and La Magdalena parks, as well as areas full of charm and history such as El Sardinero, Paseo Pereda and Castelar, given Historical-Artistic Site status. A large number of holidaymakers are attracted by this city’s magnificent beaches, in particular those of El Sardinero, La Magdalena and La Virgen del Mar. Its privileged geographical location makes it the region’s prime tourist destination, very close the Cabárceno Nature Park and with fast access to the inland area thanks to its modern infrastructures. The coastal localities worth visiting include San Vicente de la Barquera, Comillas, Suances, Miengo, Liencres, Pedreña, Ajo, Noja, Isla, Santoña, Laredo and Castro Urdiales. There are also some beautiful comarcas, towns and villages inland which are a must-see for visitors to the region, including Santillana del Mar, the comarca of Liébana and its capital Potes, Ucieda, Cabuérniga, Ruente, Bárcena Mayor, Los Tojos, the comarca of Campóo, Valderredible,San Roque de Río Miera, Liérganes, Ampuero, Arredondo and Soba.

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RURAL TOURISM

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For lovers of rural tourism, Cantabria is the ideal destination for immersing oneself in nature. The region is a favourite destination among Spaniards in this type of tourism. It has over 500 establishments distributed around the region. This interesting offering includes the Cantabria Infinita Quality Club, which brings together 49 casonas, palacios, inns and hotels with a particular charm. The region is a privileged place for this kind of tourism given that it natural isolation has favoured the survival of small villages among valleys and mountains, by the sea or next to fast-flowing rivers. Cantabria offers so many possibilities, from sea to mountain, to combine nature, sport, culture and gastronomy: an attractive combination for anyone looking for tranquillity and traditional charm for their holiday.

This tourism model has been developed by a new generation of hoteliers in the region who are consolidating the quality offering, adapting it to the demands of a clientele who are looking for alternative ways to spend their holidays and free time. Although the most important focal point of rural tourism in Cantabria are still Li茅bana and Saja-Nansa, other coastal and inland areas (Camp贸o, As贸n, Valles Pasiegos, etc) are undergoing significant development within this tourist sector, which translates into a growing range of rural hotel establishments.

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INTERNATIONAL STUDY CENTRE HIGHER SPANISH STUDIES IN COMILLAS

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The coastal town of Comillas, known for its extraordinary modernist architecture, is home to an ambitious cultural project: the International Centre of University Studies in Spanish (CIESE), destined to become a leading centre of excellence in Spanish language. The aim of the centre is to promote the Hispanic language and culture and offer specialised training in the language. Following its recent launch, the idea is to provide quality education which includes academic and research programmes and specialised training in Spanish, as well as in language, science and professional and business practice in Spanish. The centre will also apply new information and communication technologies. This institution, managed by the Comillas Foundation, has the backing of the Cantabrian and Spanish Governments, as well as private companies and entities including the Santander Group, the Cervantes Institute, the University of Cantabria and the Menéndez Pelayo International University, among others. Located in the former Pontifical University of Comillas (a unique building designed by the Catalan architect Joan Martorell y Montéis (1833-1906) and completed by Lluís Doménech i Montaner (1850-1923), whose first phase of restoration involved an investment of 32 million euros), the CIESE will begin its regular teaching activity in September 2010 and from 2011 the Degree in Hispanic Studies will be offered. However, various training activities are already being offered to Spanish teachers from various countries of the five continents, and various courses, seminars and gatherings at the highest academic level have been held, with the participation of prominent specialists and prestigious Hispanists. In parallel, in 2012 the first United World Colleges course will be held, given that Comillas has also been chosen as one of the headquarters of this institution.

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CANTABRIA INFINITA QUALITY CLUB

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a large number of hotels and guest houses with a strong personality, not too many rooms and a complementary offering which combines activity and relaxation in keeping with modern leisure habits.

Making the extraordinary the norm is the guiding principle of the services offered by the 54 hotel establishments and 47 restaurants that belong to the Cantabria Infinita Quality Club. Under the supervision of the Cantabrian Government’s Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport, this club is the best proponent of the excellence offered to the region’s visitors: quality and good food. All of this is accompanied by privileged settings and beautiful green and blue landscapes which stimulate relaxation and enjoyment. In this rural tourism and culinary offering, the details are the most important factor. The numerous and notable buildings that exist in the region’s rural environment have favoured, over recent years, the appearance of

The Cantabrian Infinita Quality Club represents this commitment to quality rural tourism. The club’s members comprise 54 establishments which share the common feature of being located in natural or rural settings, with traditional or unique architectural styles, small in size and combining excellent service with impeccable facilities in keeping with the demands of an increasingly expert and exacting customer. The establishments, including casonas (large houses), posadas (inns) and hotels, have state-of-the-art facilities and superb service. They are distributed throughout the region, so staying in them is the perfect way to see Cantabria in all its diversity. On the coast, inland or near the historic towns and villages, this accommodation allows visitors to let their imagination run free and relive the sensations that may have been felt by the inhabitants of these old ancestral palacios and casonas, which have now been converted into extraordinary establishments.

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Tradition and innovation in gastronomy In the wake of the Cantabrian Infinita Quality Club for hotels, inns and casonas, in 2005 the Quality Club for Restaurants was created, which from its 31 initial establishments has now grown to 47. Aspects such as the service, facilities, menu, tableware and setting have been taken into account when it comes to forming this select restaurant club which amply demonstrates the traditional belief that the best food is eaten in the north.

This club’s restaurants invite the most discerning diners to tour the valleys and comarcas of Cantabria to discover the most exquisite traditional dishes or to be astonished by the art of modern cuisine. Known as one of the best in the country, the regional cuisine’s fame has positioned it in its rightful place and made it a major tourist attraction. The food itself is the best advertisement for a region that has known how to maintain its tradition and culture and bring it in line with modern times and the latest innovations and the region’s best chefs and menus are a part of this club. The know-how and skill of these chefs is applied to create a cuisine characterised by the variety of its dishes and stews, as well as the quality of the ingredients used and their masterful preparation. The sea and the countryside place first-class produce at the disposal of these 47 restaurants, bringing Cantabrian cuisine the well-deserved fame it has within Spain.

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Tasty fish, succulent seafood, top-quality meat and cheeses with protected designations of origin form the backbone of the regional pantry and an important part of the Quality Club menus, which include among their delicacies the cocido montañés (‘mountain stew’) and Santoña anchovies, not to forget typical desserts and sweets such as sobaos and quesadas. All of this is seasoned with exceptional service and premises that suit both traditional and more avant-garde tastes, with old favourites or unique signature dishes. And, needless to say, the quality and presentation are unbeatable.

For more information on the Cantabria Infinita Quality Club, visit www.calidadcantabria.com

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SPORT AND ADVENTURE TOURISM

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Cantabria is the ideal destination for lovers of sport and adventure. The unique nature of the region offers natural resources that are well suited to ensuring the best conditions for various sports and active tourism activities. The landscape, with an extensive coast, steep mountains, deep rivers and a magnificent subterranean paradise, make the region an ideal destination for lovers of adventure sports who can do activities like canoeing, rafting, paragliding, potholing, trekking, horse riding, off-road driving, waterskiing, canyoning, bungee jumping etc. Many visitors to the region take advantage of the extensive coastline to do an array of water sports including sailing, surfing and windsurfing, rowing, waterskiing etc. River fishing is another big attraction for lovers of water-related activities. The region has an extensive river basin of 3,000 square kilometres, plus those of the Deva and Ebro Rivers. All of the region’s rivers have established fishing preserves (a total of fifty or so) for its most characteristic species: trout and salmon. But these are not the only fish that can be found in Cantabrian waters, which are also home to barbel, bass, plaice, eel, crayfish and more. Cantabria also prides itself on being the birthplace of the greatest Spanish golfer of all time, Severiano Ballesteros, a privilege which comes on top of the special topographical and climactic conditions that the region offers lovers of this sport. As a result of these two characteristics, an increasing number of enthusiasts are visiting the region to enjoy its golf courses. Golf tourism is another activity to add to the wide variety of tourist attractions offered by the region, which optimum climactic and geographical conditions for playing golf, with very good temperatures for outdoor

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sports and courses that have the advantage of privileged settings, close to the coast and surrounded by exceptional scenery and localities and infrastructures that are ideal for tourists. Cantabria now has nine golf courses, eight of which are distributed along the region’s coast and one of which is inland. They all have an abundance of cultural heritage and restaurants in the surrounding area, as well as countless beaches in the vicinity. Of these courses, two are managed by the Cantabrian Government’s Regional Ministry of Culture Tourism and Sport, through the Cantabrian Regional Tourism Promotion Company (Cantur): the Nestares and Abra del Pas golf courses, ideal for those wanting to start to learn golf because no membership is needed in order to use their facilities. Furthermore, for lovers of winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, Cantabria has the Alto Campóo Ski and Mountain Station, which is also very close to Reinosa. Alto Campóo is a very well-equipped station for winter sports, located on peaks exceeding a height above sea level of 2,000 metres. Located on the geographical summit of the Campóo Valley, 24 kilometres from Reinosa and 95 from Santander, this station offers some magnificent facilities for skiing, modern and convenient road links and unbeatable scenery. The Alto Campóo Ski and Mountain Station and its catchment area provide modern services for leisure activities, including the recently opened Multipurpose Building, located at the foot of the pistes. This modern building with glass curtain walls which has a communications tower with webcam, a megaphone communicating with the piste area, a digital weather station, an ADSL telephone line, a lounge area for skiers in the

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event of bad weather, customer service, a children’s area, toilets, ticket offices, a self-service restaurant, cafés, shops, a Ski Service, ski pass machines for users’ convenience and to speed up purchasing the passes etc.

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NAUTICAL TOURISM

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Some of Cantabria’s coastal localities are very active as marina towns. The most important are Castro Urdiales, Laredo, Colindres, Santoña, Suances, Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera, although Santander is the leading centre in this regard. The city and Santoña are home to Northern Spain’s largest natural harbours. Hundreds of recreational vessels, particularly sailing boats, visit these attractive coasts every year, originating predominantly from French and English harbours. The wind on the Bay of Biscay is rarely calm, making it the ideal place for sailing. Indeed, regattas are held throughout the year. Cantabrian has a large fleet of resident sailing boats and is a breeding ground for elite competitors who have earned important achievements in national, international and Olympic competitions. Several sailing schools operate in the region and throughout the year beginners and improvement courses are available with specialised instructors. The Prince Felipe Centre of Excellence for Sailing in Santander is the current training and preparation headquarters for the Spanish Olympic sailing team. Marinas The exceptional topographical conditions of the Cantabrian coast favour harbours which allow fishing and water sports practically all year round. In Cantabria, sailing is possible virtually throughout the year thanks to the excellent conditions offered by its bays, where some of the main marinas are located. In the Bay of Santander and the Laredo-Santoña Bay, every day of the year sailing and motorboats go out on the water.

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The most important marinas are, from east to west: Castro Urdiales. This marina is located in front of the town’s sailing club and next to Castro’s beautiful fishing harbour. It has a capacity of over 100 vessels and is easily accessible. At just 15 miles from Bilbao, this marina, and in particular its sailing club, offers a vessel transfer service and has a breakwater for sailing and motorboats. Laredo. Laredo’s marina is located next to the stanchion of the magnificent Salvé beach, two kilometres from the old quarter of Laredo, this seaside town’s historical centre. It has a sailing club service with cranes for hoisting boats, wintering facilities and large hangars. This marina, due to its special conditions, is ideal for sailing activities throughout the year. Its sailing club also provides its services all year round. Santoña. This beautiful seaside town is home to a marina with a capacity of 100 vessels. It has jetties on a well-protected dock. Pedreña Marina. With a capacity of over 120 vessels of lengths of up to 12 metres, the attractive Pedreña Marina is located on the southern side of the Bay of Santander, in the locality of the same name in front of the well-known Real Club de Golf de Pedreña. It has a wintering service, spacious hangars and a social building with every service needed for the boats and their crews. Marina del Cantábrico. The most important marina of the Cantabrian coast. Located in the southwest of the Bay of Santander, it has a capacity of over 500 vessels without length restrictions. It has a travelift and wintering service, hangars, cranes, cafés, sailing shops and every service needed for boats and their crews. It is located near Santander Airport and the Autovía del Cántabrico road.

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Puerto Chico. Located in one of Santander’s most emblematic areas, in the heart of the city, Puerto Chico is, without doubt, one of our country’s best-known marinas, as the breeding ground for Olympic competitors of the stature of Gorostegui, Abascal, Piris and López-Vázquez. It has a capacity of 300 sailing and motorboats. It also has wintering areas for light sailing craft. Other localities such as Suances, Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera, which have important fishing harbours, have space for recreational craft, including sailing boats and motorboats. The Cantabrian Government is developing a Harbours Plan which envisages the creation of bigger and more modern infrastructures in the main coastal localities mentioned above.

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THERMAL TOURISM

Cantabria, whose landscape of green pastureland and crystal-clear rivers preserves the magnificence of nature, offers an excellent range of thermal tourism facilities. The quality of the region’s waters makes a leading destination both in terms of the number establishments it has and the benefits that its visitors obtain from their stay. The sector offers seven traditional thermal spas, plus Hotel Real’s thalassotherapy centre in the capital Santander. The majority of these spas are located in the heart of nature or very close to the beaches, so that in addition to enjoying their treatments, visitors can take advantage of the many possibilities offered by the surrounding areas. Alceda Spa In the Toranzo Valley, on the banks of the River Pas, the Alceda Spa is nineteenth-century building which preserves all of its old flavour. This valley is noted for its civil architecture and enormous cultural heritage, including palacios and hermitages, as well as for its prehistoric caves. Its spectacular scenery and the park that surrounds the premises make this spa the ideal place for strolling or hiking. The spring of sulphurous waters is considered the most plentiful in Spain and its properties are recommended for dermatological, respiratory and relaxation treatments, as well as cosmetic, rheumatological and allergic treatments, always under medical supervision. The treatments offered at the Alceda Spa include the thermal and hydrotherapy baths, natural shower, atomisation, nasal inhalations, jacuzzi, sauna, paraffin mud, relaxing and therapeutic massages and lymphatic drainage.

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Corconte Spa Gran Hotel Balneario de Corconte is located at the Ebro reservoir and very close to the province of Burgos. It is a Renaissance-style highland masonry mansion, located near Reinosa, Fontibre, where the River Ebro rises, the Alto Camp贸o Ski Station, the Roman ruins of Camesa Rebolledo and Juli贸briga and the Cantabrian village of Arg眉eso. Active tourism and numerous activities like horse riding, trekking, walking, boat trips and skiing are some of the leisure options available to its visitors. The properties of its waters, chlorinated-sodium-sulphurated, are recommended for treating rheumatism, arthritis, arthrosis, tendonitis, muscle spasms, skin problems, nervous conditions like stress or anxiety or varicose syndromes. The Corconte Spa also offers cosmetic facial and body treatments, toning and slimming. Drinking the water is recommended to treat kidney problems of various kinds, urinary tract infections and digestive conditions. Corconte Spa also offer aesthetic facial and corporal treatments, slimming and toning. On the other hand, the drinking water is recommended to combat the kidney problems in its various manifestations, the infections of the urinary tract and digestive disorders. Hotel Spa la Hermida This spa is located in the municipality of Pe帽arrubia, an area of over 54 square kilometres, in the heart of the La Hermida Gorge, a monumental feature which takes its name from the village. It opened in September 2006. With its reopening, the Hotel Spa recovered an activity that went back to 1881. Now this superb four-star hotel has 57 rooms and four floors. The spa has a surface area of 2,000 square metres and is divided into three areas. The wet area has eleven hydrotherapy baths, an aerobath and chromotherapy, as well as seaweed and sea mud body wraps. The thermal spa area is equipped with a fitness and leisure circuit, thermodynamic pool, jacuzzi, five-shower set, footbath, cold bath, Roman bath, dry sauna, cold dew, Hermida bath and natural thermal grotto. The dry area has medical surgeries, physiotherapy, a gym, massage rooms, cabins and colonic hydrotherapy.

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LiĂŠrganes Spa The LiĂŠrganes Spa is located in the locality of the same name, declared a historicalartistic monument, and just fifteen minutes from Santander. Built at the turn of the century, its clientele have included kings, and the spa is surrounded by a park of hundred-year-old trees. It has two springs of great renown and proven thermal benefits. The curative properties of their waters are ideal for treating rheumatism, respiratory and skin problems, and stress. Thirty or so different thermal techniques are available at this spa. The LiĂŠrganes Spa treats complaints such as allergies, asthma, chronic bronchitis, arthrosis, rheumatism, fracture recovery, psoriasis and acne and also offers anti-stress and anti-smoking treatments. It also offers numerous thermal techniques such as baths (general, bubble, hydrotherapy, soothing, with essences, milk and steam), a circular and Scottish shower, jets, sea mud, paraffin muds and seaweed body wraps, among others. There is also a wide range of massages available: complete, partial, reflexotherapy, lymphatic drainage, facial, anti-cellulite, underwater massage and foaming massage. Many of these services are also offered in an established located just a few metres from the spa, the Posada Termal del Sauce.

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Puente Viesgo Spa The Puente Viesgo Spa, located in the Pas river basin in the town of the same name, is also close to Santander. This locality is famous, in addition to its spa, for its important prehistoric caves, including the Castillo, Monedas, Pasiega and Chimeneas caves, which in July were given World Heritage status alongside five other Cantabrian caves. The area’s heritage and landscape make it the ideal place for relaxation. Its waters, classified as chlorinated, sodiumated, bicarbonated and calcic, are recommended for treating problems with the circulatory, respiratory and locomotive system. Many of the complaints treated at the spa are cardiovascular, such as high blood pressure, hyperuricemia, diabetes, varicose veins, phlebitis and heart conditions. It is also suitable for preventing and treating rheumatological illnesses, complaints related to the respiratory tracts and neurotic problems, hyperemotivity and insomnia. The Puente Viesgo Spa offers a multitude of thermal treatments and services such as thermal, bubble, seaweed, Dead Sea salt or hydrotherapy baths. It also offers the latest spa techniques, including pressure jets, thermal sauna, sea mud, paraffin mud and atomisation. The innovations at this great thermal complex include the Temple of Water, a thermal spa installation of over 2,000 square metres involving a thermal circuit with pools, waterfalls, jacuzzis and upstream rivers, as well as the floating pool, a new idea for relaxation and wellbeing.

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Solares Spa The Hotel Spa Solares, a classic centre in Northern Spain, was refurbished and reopened in 2006 as a modern thermal complex. Its architecture evokes the Romanesque style of the original building and even reconstructs some of its old areas. Its interior is equipped with modern hydrothermal facilities in keeping with the latest trends in spa therapy. The Solares waters are bicarbonated, chlorinated, calcic and sodiumated and are recommended for digestive, metabolic, diuretic and nervous system treatments. The spa uses thermal bath techniques, hydrotherapy, showers, mud and beauty treatments, pressotherapy and massages. Solares has a relaxation area with a large thermal pool of almost 900 square metres, with an area for rehabilitation and fitness training. The Aquarium, reminiscent of an ancient Roman bathhouse, offers a series of different rooms. The centre also has a children’s spa and rooms for various body treatments. Hotel Real Thalassotherapy Center The Hotel Real Thalassotherapy Centre is located right on the El Sardinero promontory in Santander, very close to the famous Magdalena Palace, in an establishment of great artistic renown and with unbeatable views both over the bay and the El Sardinero beaches. It is the only thermal centre that has a five-star rating (the rest have four) and it offers seawater treatments as an innovation. The use of seawater in its treatments is complemented by the use of seaweed and sea mud. The centre’s services include pressure showers, jet showers, Vichy showers and tri-functional baths.

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It also has a sauna, Turkish bath, aromatherapy room, seawater pool, treatment and massage cabins and a gym. Beauty treatments are also available among the Hotel Real Thalassotherapy Centre services. It also has sauna, Turkish bath, aromatherapy room, seawater swimming pool, treatment and massage cabins and gym. The aesthetic treatments are also included among the services of Hotel Real Thalassoterapy Center. Lastly, numerous specific treatments have been devised such as the anti-stress, relaxations, fitness, slimming, tired legs, back and postnatal treatments.

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CULINARY TOURISM

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Cantabria is known for the exquisite quality of its local produce. Its pantry is plentiful and varied, including cheeses, the best meat and preserves, and the famous fish and seafood of the Bay of Biscay. The variety on offer is such that a tour of Cantabria’s cuisine through its various comarcas is possible. The beautiful Santander Bay possesses a wealth of marine species which are responsible for the prestige of the local cuisine: seafood like clams and razor-shells, fish like sea bream, red mullet, sardines and bass, among and molluscs such as squid and cuttlefish. Santander’s cuisine revolves around the sea, and its clams ‘a la marinera’ and rabas (calamari) are an integral part of any appetizer. The culinary itinerary starts in the Barrio Pesquero, the Fishing Quarter, and continues to Puertochico and El Sardinero and end in the Corbán area, on the outskirts of the city. The coastal strip is a must for sampling fresh and exquisite seafood and fish, plucked from the Bay of Biscay. The itinerary, starting on the east coast, comprises Castro Urdiales, famous for its sea beam ‘a la preve’ and the local snails, and Laredo has its own way of preparing bonito. The respigos, tender turnip leaves, and the jibiones, or squid, are also typical of Laredo. Santoña is known universally for its canned anchovy and bonito, present in the best kitchens in the world, and in Isla grilled crawfish or lobster are on the menu, alongside some excellent red peppers. Pedreña has some extraordinary local clams and is also home to its iconic open-air barbecues. One the west coast, the town of Suances is famous for its prestigious culinary workshops, preparing seafood, rice, cod and more. Ubiarco, Oruña, Ruiloba and Comillas have a varied culinary offering which includes fish, meat and traditional Cantabrian stews. The main attraction in San Vicente de la Barquera, an important fishing port, is its sorropotum, a variant of the casserole, which is made on the boats themselves as they go out to fish, as well as oysters farmed in its tidal inlet and a wide variety of Bay of Biscay fish. In Unquera, a locality on the border with Asturias, the typical corbatas are a must, sweets made from delicious puff pastry.

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The special topography and microclimate of Liébana allows the locals to grow vegetables, fruit and pulses with surprising success. Mushrooms and snails are in abundance and there is an important industry of traditionally made high-quality cheeses with protected designations of origin, such as the Bejes-Tresviso picón or the quesucos of Liébana. But without doubt the real stars of Liébana’s cuisine are the cocido lebaniego stew and the orujo, a spirit obtained from grape pomace. For dessert, the local honey and homemade sweets are worth trying. And to help everything go down, try a tea from the Áliva passes with orujo. The Saja-Nansa area is characterised by the cocido montañes and its generous compango accompaniment of meat, the most popular stew in the region that can be sampled in the taverns and restaurants of Bárcena Mayor, Tudanca, Ruente, Ucieda and Carmona. Stewed kidney beans are also very typical of this area. These should be accompanied by some good local produce, in particular the Tudanca beef and, at the appropriate time of year, some game. It is also the ideal place for sampling the trout and salmon. The comarcas of Campóo and Valderredible are home to the olla ferroviaria (the ‘railway worker’s hotpot’, the T-bone steak, heather honey and mushrooms. Their exceptional mountain beef, exquisite horse and kid are also on the menu, as well as a fine puff pastry for dessert (pantortillas). In Campóo de Suso they are fine producers of cheese and honey, of jams and wild preserves. In Valdeolea and Valdeprado del Río they offer good beef, suckling lamb and kid, as well as heather honey and magnificent bread, the Olea, baked in a wood-fired oven. In Rozas and Campóo de Yuso, the speciality is the free range chicken, or picasuelos (‘groundpeckers’). Valderredible’s potatoes are considered the best in Cantabria and here they also produce good honey, as they do throughout the area, and a tasty traditionally made pure sheep’s milk cheese. The Pas valleys are famous for their cakes: sobaos and quesadas, products that have become the best ambassadors of Pas culture. The itinerary includes three towns in the Pas area: San Roque de Riomiera, Vega de Pas and San Pedro del Romeral. Apart from the sweets, they are also known for their beef, kid stew, stewed beans, orchard produce

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and cheeses (the soft Vega de Pas cheese and the Pas cream quesucos, both made from cow’s milk). The cuisine of the Asón and Soba valleys includes salmon, trout and elver. The culinary itinerary should include: Colindres, where good seafood and fish is served, Limpias, where the picatostes (sippets) with chocolate are famous, and Ampuero, where elver and game days are common. In the Soba Valley, good mushrooms can be collected and robust lamb roasts are prepared. Arredondo, known as ‘the capital of the world’, has some excellent trout preserves and a good reputation for lamb and kid stews.

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FESTIVITIES OF TOURIST INTEREST

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TOURIST ATTRACTION FESTIVALS • • • • • • • • • •

LA VIJANERA. Silió. (1st Sunday of the year) EPIPHANY PROCESSION. Santillana del Mar (5th January) SANTOÑA CARNIVAL. The most important Carnival in the north of Spain (40 days before Maudy Thursday) LA FOLIA. San Vicente de la Barquera. (Sunday after Easter Tuesday) EL COSO BLANCO. Castro Urdiales (Last week in June) CANTABRIA DAY Cabezón de la Sal (2nd Sunday in August) GALA FLORAL (FLOWER FESTIVAL). Torrelavega (The Sunday following August 15th) BATALLA DE FLORES (FLOWER BATTLE). Laredo (Last Friday in August) GUERRAS CÁNTABRAS (CANTABRIAN WARS) Los Corrales de Buelna (The last week in August and the first one in September) CAMPOO DAY Reinosa. Last Sunday in September.

REGIONAL TOURIST ATTRACTION FESTIVALS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

LA PEROLA Vargas. Puente Viesgo. (20th January) PASIÓN VIVIENTE (LIVING PASSION). Castro Urdiales (Good Friday) EASTER. Santander CHILDREN’S DAY IN CANTABRIA. Santander. (first Sunday in June) VERBENA DEL MANTÓN (MANTON FIELD PARTY). Ramales. (Saturday after St. Peter) NOCHE DE SAN JUAN (SAINT JOHN’S NIGHT) Soto de la Marina. 23rd June VIRGEN DE LA SALUD. Aliva. 2nd July SAN BENITO. Barcenaciones. 11nd July BAÑOS DE OLA. Sardinero (Santander) (middle of July) EL CARMEN. Revilla de Camargo (16th July) EL CARMEN. Suances. 16 de julio. SAN PANTALEÓN. Escobedo. 27nd July SANTIAGO BULL FIGHT Santander. (July. Coincides with the festivity of Saint James) FERIA DE LA HOYA Villaverde de Trucíos (last Sunday in July) SAN CARLOS. Mount of the same name in the Picos de Europa. (First Sunday in August in years that end in 0 or 5) HIKE TO BRAÑA LOS TEJOS . On the border between the districts of Lamasón and Cillorigo de Liébana. (1st week in August) VIRGEN DE VALVANUZ. Selaya (15th August) LA GATA NEGRA. Carasa. 16th August LA SEMANUCA. Santander. (Last week in August) INTERNATIONAL DESCENT OF THE RIVER DEVA Unquera. (Last Sunday in August) LA GRAN MARMITADA. Santoña. Semana coincidente con el 8 de Septiembre. ENCIERRO DE AMPUERO. Ampuero (7th/9th September) VIRGEN DE LA LUZ. Peña Sagra-Aniezo (Cabezón de Liébana). 8th September VIRGEN DE VALENCIA (Sanctuary of Vioño. Piélagos) (8th September) FIESTA DEL COCIDO (STEW FESTIVITY). Ucieda. (1st Sunday in September) FIESTA DE LA CRUZ (FESTIVITY OF THE CROSS). Potes 14th September LA BIEN APARECIDA Ampuero. 15th September SAN CIPRIANO. Cohicillos (16th September) DESEMBARCO DE CARLOS V (THE LANDING OF CARLOS V). Laredo (September) FIESTA DEL ORUJO. Potes (2nd weekend in November) SAN ANDRÉS. Castro Urdiales 30th November 111


Consejería de Cultura, Turismo y Deporte del Gobierno de Cantabria Pasaje de Peña, 2. 1ª Planta. 39008 Santander.

Tlfno.: +34 942 207 458 / 59 Fax.: +34 942 217 666

www.consejeriactdcantabria.com

Dirección General de Cultura

CANTUR INSTALLATIONS + 34 942 318 950 (Regional Agency for Tourist Promotion) INFOCANTUR www.cantur.com

+34 902 21 01 12

Sociedad Regional de Turismo

Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno +34 942 563 736 Golf Abra del Pas +34 942 577 597 Golf Nestares +34 942 771 127 Estación de Esquí y Montaña Alto Campóo +34 942 779 222 Hotel La Corza Blanca +34 942 779 250 Teleférico de Fuente Dé +34 942 736 610 Hotel Refugio de Áliva +34 942 730 999 Restaurante Fontibre +34 942 779 541 Biblioteca Casa Museo de Tudanca +34 942 729 025 Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico +34 942 274 962

Tlfno.: +34 942 208 280 Fax.: +34 942 208 284

Club de Calidad Cantabria Infinita

+34 942 208 280

CENTRAL DE RESERVAS

+ 34 902 76 02 06

Pasaje de Peña, 2. 1ª Planta. 39008 Santander.

Tlfno.: +34 942 207 420 / 21

Dirección General de Turismo

Miguel Artigas, 4. 39002 Santander.

Tlfno.: +34 942 208 265

Dirección General de Deporte

Pasaje de Peña, 2. 1ªPlanta. 39008 Santander.

Tlfno.: +34 942 207 410 / 11

Miguel Artigas, 4. 39002 Santander. srturismo@gobcantabria.es

www.clubcalidadcantabriainfinita.es

Sociedad Gestora Año Jubilar Lebaniego Miguel Artigas 4, 2ª Planta 39002 Santander.

Tlfno.: +34 942 208 008 Fax.: +34 942 208 284

Asociación Año Jubilar Lebaniego

Pasaje de Peña 2, 1ª Planta. 39008 Santander.

Tlfno.: +34 942 207 458 / 59 Fax.: +34 942 217 666

www.turismodecantabria.com

HOLIDAY TELEPHONE

+ 34 901 111 112 Customer Service from 9:00 h to 21:00 h

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Asociación Empresarial de Hostelería de Cantabria Tlfno.: +34 942 367 030

www.dormirencantabria.com

Asociación Empresarial de Camping de Cantabria Tlfno.: +34 942 367 030

Asocc. Empresarial de Agencias de Viajes de Cantabria Tlfno.: +34 942 319 063 www.ceoecant.es/aedave

Asociación de Turismo Rural de Cantabria Tlfno.: +34 942 217 000

www.turismoruralcantabria.com

Asociación de Agencias de Viajes y Operadores Turísticos Tlfno.: +34 942 36 09 36


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OFICINA REGIONAL DE TURISMO SANTANDER MERCADO DEL ESTE Hernán Córtes 4. 39003 SANTANDER. Tlfno.: +34 942 310 708 Open all year. Opening hours: 9:30 - 13:30 h. 16:00 - 19:00 h ofitur@cantabria.org OFICINA TURISMO CASTRO URDIALES Avda.de La Constitución, s/n. 39700 CASTRO URDIALES. Tlfno.: +34 942 871 512 15th September to 30th June Opening hours: 9:30 - 13:30/16:00 - 19:00 1st July to 14th September Opening hours: 9:00 - 21:00 h turismocastro@cantabria.org OFICINA TURISMO LAREDO Alameda de Miramar, s/n. 39770 LAREDO. Tlfno.: +34 942 611 096 15th September to 30th June Opening hours: 9:30 - 13:30/16:00 - 19:00 1st July to 14th September Opening hours: 9:00 - 21:00 h laredo@cantabria.org OFICINA TURISMO SANTILLANA DEL MAR Jesús Otero, 20. 39330 SANTILLANA DEL MAR. Tlfno.: +34 942 818 251/812 15th September to 30th June Opening hours: 9:30 - 13:30/16:00 - 19:00 1st July to 14th September Opening hours: 9:00 - 21:00 h santillana@cantabria.org OFICINA TURISMO UNQUERA Ctra. N-634 KM. 279. 39560 UNQUERA. Tlfno.: +34 942 719 680 Only open during Easter and summer Opening hours: 10:00 - 15:00 h. 16:00 - 18:00h turismounquera@cantabria.org

Cuevas de Cantabria www.cuevasdecantabria.es

+34 902 999 222 Telephone for booking visits to Caves

Cantabria Mar Infinita www.cantabriainfinitamar.es

+34 902 995 906

Telephone for information and booking the Cantabria Mar Infinita Schoone

Teléfono del Peregrino www.cantabria2009.es

+34 902 999 222

Information telephone on Cantabria, Liébana, Land of Jubilation

Teléfono de El Soplao www.elsoplao.es

902 82 02 82 Information telephone

OFICINA TURISMO AEROPUERTO DE SANTANDER Ctra. del Aeropuerto, s/n. 39600 MALIAÑO. Tlfno.: +34 690 600 825 Open all year. Opening hours: 8:00 - 21:00 h OFICINA TURISMO VALLADOLID C/Héroes de Alcázar, 22. 47001 VALLADOLID. Tlfno.: +34 983 330 199 Open all year. Opening hours: 9:30 - 13:30 h. 17:00 - 20:00 h pfiturvalladolid@hotmail.com

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1. Quintanilla de Lamasón 2. San Vicente de la Barquera 3. Pilgrim on Route to Liébana 4. Bears. Cabárceno 5. Beach of Langre 6. Saja Beech Forests

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7. El Soplao Cave 8. Puntal. Somo 9. Reinosa. Ebro Reservoir 10. Carnivals at La Vijanera 11. Liébana Valley 12. Iglesia mozárabe de

Santa María de Lebeña

Available in the enclosed CD

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The use of the photographs included here in is only permitted for publication in connection with editorial contents in the media that refer to Cantabria. Any other use may lead to legal actions.

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13. The Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana 14. Pontifical University of Comillas 15. Castro Urdiales 16. Cheese of Cantabria 17. Typical products of Cantabria 18. La Arnía

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19. Beaches of Liencres 20. Carmona. Cabuerniga Valley 21. Mouro Lighthouse. Santander 22. Fuente Dé Cable Car. 23. Aerial view of the La Magdalena Peninsula Santander 24. Covalanas. Ramales de la Victoria

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25. Vega de Pas 26. Colegiata de Santillana del Mar 27. Playa y paseo del Sardinero. Santander 28. Museo Etnográfico de Cantabria 29. Subida a Tresviso 30. Playa de Somo

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31. Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico 32. Liérganes 33. Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno 34. Ciudad Romana de Julióbriga 35. Ciudad Romana de Julióbriga 36. Palacio Sobrellano. Comillas 25. Vega de Pas 26. Colegiata de Santillana del Mar

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27. El Sardinero beach and promenade. Santander 28. Ethnographic Museum of Cantabria 29. Route to Tresviso 30. Torre de Pero Niño Middle Ages Interactive Exhibition Centre 31. Cantabrian Maritime Museum 32. Liérganes 33. Zebras at Cabárceno

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34. Roman Town of Julióbriga 35. Camesa-Rebolledo Roman-Medieval Site 36. Sobrellano Palace. Comillas

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37. Palacio Sobrellano. Comillas 38. Colegiata de Castañeda 39. Cueva El Castillo. Patrimonio UNESCO 40. Cueva La Garma. Patrimonio UNESCO 41. Cueva Chufín. Patrimonio UNESCO 42. Cueva El Pendo. Patrimonio UNESCO

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43. Cueva Las Monedas. Patrimonio UNESCO 44. Cueva de Altamira. Patrimonio UNESCO 45. Cueva Covalanas. Patrimonio UNESCO 46. Playa del Camello e Isla de Mouro 47. Bahía de Santander 48. Oyambre 37. Sobrellano Palace. Comillas 38. Collegiate Church of Castañeda 39. El Castillo Cave. UNESCO Patrimony

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40. La Pasiega Cave. UNESCO Patrimony 41. La Garma Cave. UNESCO Patrimony 42. El Pendo Cave. UNESCO Patrimony 43. Las Monedas Cave.UNESCO Patrimony 44. Hornos de la Peña Cave. UNESCO Patrimony 45. Cueva Covalanas. Patrimonio UNESCO 46. Chufín Cave.UNESCO Patrimony 47. Las Chimeneas Cave. UNESCO Patrimony

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48. Altamira Cave. UNESCO Patrimony


CANTABRIA P R E S S D O S S I E R 2011



Dossier Cantabria 2011 English