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The Aran Valley is located in the Pyrenees, in the province of Lleida. It is a unique valley with an Atlantic climate and especially favoured for the quality of its snow. The Garonne and Noguera Pallaresa rivers have their sources in the Pla de Beret.
It is a valley surrounded by peaks, some of them 3,000 metres above sea level, with over 200 lakes. Some, such as the Mar or the Tort de Riu, are among the largest in the Spanish Pyrenees. Their extensive forests contain pines, firs and beeches.
The Aran Valley preserves and maintains its enormously rich artistic-cultural heritage, with its many churches: Salardu, Arties, Vielha, Bossost. The much-admired carvings of Romanesque images such as the Christ of Salardu, Casarilh and Vielha. Or the unique christening fonts of Arties, Vilac or Vilamos and works of art that date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, making up a much prized artistic heritage.
The villages of the Aran Valley, with their characteristic architecture, feature buildings made of stone, slate, and wood, and are particularly noteworthy for their Romanesque and Gothic churches.
One particular feature of the Aran Valley is its language, Aranese. It is a live language spoken daily by its people. It belongs to the Occitan language branch and it is a variant of the Gascoigne de Cominges tongue, although it retains its own distinctive personality.
Another feature of the Aran Valley is its rich cuisine. Being a frontier valley, Aranese cuisine is very much influenced by French cuisine although it also has its own typical dishes, such as the well-known “ Olla Aranesa” (Aranese Stew).
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