Alquézar, Aragon, Spain

Alquézar is a municipality in the province of Huesca, in the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. In 2004, it had a population of 309. Situated on a limestone outcrop of Eocene age to the west of the canyon of the Rio Vero river in the Sierra de Guara national park, the village has grown around a castle (alcázar) and the Colegiata de Alquézar of Santa Maria (consecrated in 1099). The limestone is rich in nummulites (large foraminifera) from the shallow marine depositional environment. Since Alquézar is situated in the Sierra de Guara National Park, there is much tourist activity in outdoor pursuits such as canyoning, walking, rock climbing and abseiling, as well as ornithology (since eagles nest on the steep faces of the Rio Verocanyon). Several campsites and outdoor activity companies cater for this interest. The surrounding area to the south towards Barbastro in the direction of the flatter Ebro basin is part of the Somontano, an area known for its fine wines. There are more than 60 limestone caves with prehistoric cave paintings which has led to the region being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998. An example is the cave at Arpán on the A-2205 road heading north towards Bárcabo.

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