The Sierras Subbéticas Geoparkprovides an exceptional access to the geology of the heart of the Bética Mountain Ranges: the lower-Guadalquivir lands of the External Zones domain.
The landscape and geology of the Geopark are closely related; ridges are formed of hard limestone; valleys are created in areas underlain by softer argillaceous carbonates and other detrital sediments. The rocks, which range in age from the Jurassic to the Tertiary, were deposited approximately between 200 million years and 25 million years ago. The rocks of the Geopark are rich in fossils and are noted for their Mesozoic ammonites which are an extinct group of marine molluscs. The Geopark is internationally recognised as one of the most significant areas for the study of the evolution of this group of fossils.
The Geopark is also an important area for studying the history of the formation of the Bética Mountain Range. From the “Picacho de Cabra” peak it is possible to view the three big geological domains making Andalusia up: the SierraMorenaRange (Hesperian Massif), the GuadalquivirBasin and the BéticaRanges.
The karstic landscape is one of the best elements of educational and scientific value of the Geopark, for within its boundaries are included practically all the forms associated with the processes of dissolution of the limestone rocks; superficial, like the Nava karstic depression, the sinkholes of Los Hoyones, or the Lanchares stone field (karren); as well as underground forms, such as the Cabra Abyss and the Bats Cave (with cave paintings and palaeontological and archaeological remains); in the Geopark there are more than 700 inventoried caves.
The flora and fauna species are perfectly adapted to this rocky environment. More than 1.200 plant species are catalogued; 30 are endemic to the area and several threatened species are recorded. The most remarkable animals in the Geopark are the birds of prey; the Pilgrim Falcon is used as the symbol of the Geopark. The caverns provide habitats for an interesting fauna of cave dwellers. Fungi are of exceptional interest, especially the truffles, and the area is one of the few places in the world which is characterised by a major diversity of truffles.
In order to cater for tourists the Geopark has developed 1 visitor centre, 1 Eco Museum, several view-points and 9 trails. These facilities show the visitor how the geology provides the basis for the biological, archaeological and cultural patterns of this region.