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The Tajo River

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The Tajo River
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History of Aranjuez

The Tajo River

The geographical location of Aranjuez, in the confluence of the biggest river of the Iberian peninsula, the Tajo, and its main affluent, the Jarama, it has labeled the historical existence of the Royal Place, and its peculiar climate and vegetation. In the context of the castillan plateau, Aranjuez appears as a leafy island of natural wild wealth, thanks to the abundance of water and to the fertility of sedentary soils of the valley that form both rivers. Furthermore, the human contribution appended a vast system of irrigable, formed by channels, acequias and caceras, that gave cause for the gardens, the groves and the orchads.

So, the landscape of Aranjuez assembles all the necessary aspects for the residence of the man and the natural development, gathered armonically in a set of city that, as indicates the landscapist Carmen Añón, chairwoman of the Committee ICOMOS-UNESCO, assembles gardens, groves, orchads, lagoons, riversides and moors, whose final state results from the combined action from several physical or historical factors.

The beauty and wealth of the Tajo does not stop of being noted in the physiognomy of the Royal Place. The city is embraced by the river, channeled and bent. The history of Aranjuez is the history of the Tajo and the effort by mastering the rivers: to contain them, to cross them, to retain them, to navigate them. The riverbeds created the conditions of a complex system, with Arabic and medieval references, enriched by the Renaissance and illustrated engineers. The economic value of the water is made reality in cultivation and agrarian developments. But its symbolic value, as source of life and happiness, also is manifested in leisure uses (lunchrooms, vessels, bath) and as feasts and celebrations framework ( Pirate Decrease of the Tajo, in September, within the Fairs of the Riot, asserted of national tourist interest).

Furthermore, the streams of mounts withdrawals in dammings, as the Sea of Ontígola, feed the reservoirs and the sources of the gardens.

Aranjuez had shipyards, fleets and marine. Statues that they are rivers, columns of Hercules, sources of Narcissus and of Neptune..., all celebrates to the water as physical and mythical origin of the landscape.

The Tajo and Jarama form, in fact, the nature and ratio of being of Aranjuez. The river, present in the history, the art, the architecture the society and the culture of the Actual Spot and Villa with gastronomic characters (the «gangos» or lunchrooms), leisure (vessels and rides in harca) sports (tradition and successes in the School Club of Piragüismo, the fishing and in the National Raphel of the Tajo), festive (Pirate Decrease of the Slit), economics (agriculture and cattle-raising), cultural and social, and in this last area, the ecological wealth of the water. In the bank, are conjugated an infinity of kinds of flower and fauna, of certain wealth: the exceptional Carrizales of Villamejor, on the Creek of Martín Román, where abound the avetoros and the lagoon eaglets; the last bank and forest groves, in the Villamejor, Legamarejo, Sotomayor, Rebollo, The Flamingo and The Infantas places, with frequent herons presence and hammers, anades and ducks, tortoises and torcaces, partridges and quail, hares and rabbits; or the reservation of the Regajal, backuped butterflies ground.

©1998 Arannet

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