Did you know that over 36 million years ago, the geographical centre of Catalonia was covered by a sea that gradually receded as the Pyrenees started to form? This process left behind rock formations, caves and remarkable landscapes, especially in the Bages region, around the Moianès and near the town of Collbató. This area is today part of the Geoparc Mundial UNESCO de la Catalunya Central, a space that offers a wide range of tourist attractions that enable you to explore the fascinating world of geology and mining.
To start with, there is the Parc Natural de la Muntanya de Montserrat. It is astonishing to think that this mountain, with its spectacularly rocky appearance, used to be a river delta millions of years ago! The signposted routes start out from different strategic points, such as the monastery, and many of them offer information about the geology of the park. It is only a short distance from there to the Parc de Sant Llorenç de Munt i l’Obac, a large protected natural space where we can find monoliths, caves, cliffs and canals. It is a landscape shaped by erosion and the materials deposited along river beds during the Tertiary period, around 50 million years ago!
Don't miss the chance to see the Caves of Montserrat, at Collbató, one of the most remarkable cave systems in all Catalonia. In one underground passage you can discover the place inhabited by the earliest Neolithic settlers, and see the results of the geological processes that have acted on the conglomerate and limestone rocks, giving them unusual colours and forms.
From the depths of the mountain of Montserrat, we go to the heart of the Moianès region. Between Moià and Collsuspina there are the caves of Coves del Toll. This is a cave system over 2 kilometres in length, equipped with walkways and lights, part of which was the refuge of prehistoric animals, and also of early man. Many of the objects found at this site are on display at the Museu Arqueològic i Paleontològic de Moià.
To continue with our visits underground, we can go to the salt mountain of the Parc Cultural de la Muntanya de Sal, where we can enter the best-known salt mines in Catalonia. You can learn all about the relation between man and salt, and the geological peculiarities of the area.
Don't miss it!
In Manresa you can visit the Valentí Masachs Geology Museum, a space with over 5,000 minerals, 2,000 rocks and 3,000 fossils on display! Besides offering a close look at so many geological treasures, the museum also explains the uses of these minerals and we can learn about fascinating subjects such as radioactivity, the depletion of the Earth's natural resources, or the minerals of the future.