Environment Field Note: Tale of the Mountains

Segovia is an old city with a lot of history. It houses a castle, which once held the King and Queen of Spain. It has a magnificent cathedral. It has a Roman ruin that runs throughout the city. However, all of this was made by man. What about the natural creations and wonders?

What do you think the environment is like? What features stand out and really give Segovia its natural beauty? Is it the rivers and streams? Or is it its vegetation and animals? Could it be all of the above? What do you think?

They actually all are combined into one important feature that spans thousands and thousands of miles across the Iberian Peninsula. It’s a mountain range. Not only is it a mountain range, but it has a special meaning to the people that see it every day.

Do you remember when I first talked about looking out and seeing the snow-covered mountains? These are the ones I am talking about now. They are called Sierra de Guadarrama. This is a mountain range that separates Segovia from the capital city of Spain, Madrid.

This mountain range has also formed many smaller mountain ranges that have waterfalls, wild animals, streams, valleys and more. It has served as a shield to protect the city of Segovia in many wars and against some weather conditions.

As you will read, you will get to know a little more about this amazing environmental feature!


In Segovia, many people are conscious of their environment. Do you know how we have recycling bins in our schools in the United States? On just about every street here, there are three large metal bins that look like dumpsters. They each are for a different recycled item. They even have a bin where you can recycle clothing, too! The people here are very conscience about their environment and helping preserve its natural beauty.

What do you think is one of their main natural attractions? I’ll give you a hint: Look back at this title and you will be able to tell. Did you say mountains? If so, you are correct! All throughout the small city of Segovia, no matter where you look, you can see the mountain range. It’s known as Sierra de Guadarrama. The highest peak is 7,965 feet.

In order to get from Segovia to Madrid, the capital city of Spain, everyone must drive through this beautiful range. The slopes created by the mountains have formed the main two rivers that run through the city of Segovia, Eresma and Moros.

Throughout history, these mountains have served as a barrier and have been used for defense. Can you imagine the mountains working as shields? In the Spanish Civil War, there were many battles fought in these mountains. Trenches and guns can be found today throughout the passes of the mountains.


What makes this environment special or different?

There are two parts to this answer. First, there are myths connected to these mountains that the citizens of Segovia love to share. Located within this mountain range, there is a peak that looks exactly like a pregnant woman who is lying down. This peak resembles the side view of her. Can you picture this?

The story goes like this. There were two royal families who wanted to unite the two major cities or Spain. They made an agreement that their firstborns would get married when they reached the appropriate age. Then, the cities would finally be at peace with one another and be ruled under one royal family.

Well, the one family had a daughter and the other had two sons. As they grew up they became very good friends. Their parents told them of this promise they had made before they were born.

However, the daughter who was to marry the oldest son fell in love with the younger of the two sons. They were so in love, but knew that they were not allowed to marry! The older brother found out that his fiancé was pregnant with his brother’s baby. The older brother took his sword and as he was about to stab his brother, the girl jumped in front of him to save her love and she ended up being killed.

As legend goes, she was placed in the mountains to separate the two brothers forever. What do you think about that? Just like in the story, the mountains separate the two cities of Segovia and Madrid.

The second part that makes the mountain range so special are the places and natural wonders created by the mountain range. Two rivers, valleys and waterfalls are just some of the special features of this environment.

What parts of this environment help people to live here?

I have already listed a couple of the main important features that help the people live around these mountains. The first are the rivers. Have you guys studied how main cities were formed? Normally, they were formed around running water, right? These two rivers are similar in that way. The rivers help people to survive because people can get fresh water from the rivers.


The animals that are found in these mountains are part of the famous dishes in Segovia. For example, baby pigs that are known as a delicacy of Segovia can be found in some of the popular dishes here.

Another advantage that helps people live here is the protection offered by this mountain range. Like I said earlier, it protected the citizens in times of war. Nowadays, Spain is at peace. In history, however, this was important.


What challenges do people face living in this environment?

The environment has challenges dealing with the people, if that makes any sense. Can you guess why? The mountain range is located between two major cities. This means that people come to visit, and need to cross the mountains to get from place to place. Railways and passes have been constructed, which threaten the ruin the mountain environment.


How have people been adapting to this environment?

Over many years, the people have learned to use natural environment in their everyday lives. Water from rivers and streams, and food from the natural environment, are just a few examples of how nature can better the lives of people.

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