Valley of Roncal
See also: Roncal (homonymy)
The Vallée of Roncal ( Valle de Roncal in Spanish, Erronkariko Ibarra in Basque) is Eastern of the Pyrenean valleys of the Navarre, and constitutes a Mancomunidad (administrative division), whose chief town is the village of Roncal.
The valley is directed North-South. It is composed of seven Villas (name in will euskera between brackets): Burgui ( Burgi ), Guard, Isaba ( Izaba ), Roncal ( Erronkari ), Urzainqui ( Urzainki ), Uztárroz ( Uztarroze ) and Vidángoz ( Bidankoze ).
The valley makes border with the France (department of the Yrénées-Atlantiques, Vallée of Barétous) in north, with the Aragon in the east (Province of Huesca, Vallée of Ansó) and in the south (Jacetania, Province of Saragossa), with the Navarrese valley of Salazar in the west.
Character of the zone Pyrenean east incontestably . The relief tends to increase and become more broken starting from Roncal towards Uztárroz, of the south in north. The zone mériodionale, around Burgui, relatively dissociates by a mountainous relief suave. The septentrional sector is the kingdom of the rock and the forests of beech and oaks.
In the north of the Valley the Valley of Belagua is, who proves to be the only glaciated valley of the Navarre. This one was formed by one of the languages of ice on the basis of the glacier of Larra. The vegetation is there made up of pines and Sapin S, of Hêtre S, Noisetier S, and others Chêne S. the natural reserve of Larra is beyond this valley; it is there that the culminating point of the Navarre rises: the Mesa of los Very Reyes (2.424 meters), as well as other important tops (Lakartxela, Txamantxoia,…). It is in addition about one of the most important solid masses Karstique S of Europe.
In the valley of Roncal several threatened animal species survive, of which the Ours of the the Pyrenees.
The climate of the area is very clearly mountain dweller, with rather short and moderate summers, succeeding the long ones and rigorous snow-covered winters, which allow the practice of the ski touring.
The rivers are numerous, the main thing of them being the ESCA (affluent of Aragon, itself flow of the Èbre), in which jètent themselves of many rivers (Belagua, Uztárroz,…).
As an administrative entity made up in Mancomunidad, the valley is made up of seven villas (i.e. autonomous communes equipped with a municipal council). These municipalities are gathered within the Junta del Valle de Roncal ( Assemblée of the Valley of Roncal ), traditional council of the valley.
The Junta is made up of 21 members: three per commune, of which the mayor of each one of them. The assemblies traditionally have place with Roncal, chief town of comarque, the mayor of this locality taking the presidency of the junta . Nevertheless, in July and in September, the assembly is held in Isaba and Urzainqui respectively, the presidency being then assumed by the mayor of the aforesaid communes.
The assembly is qualified in various matters concerning the shared interests of the valley: economic development, tourism, environment, agriculture,… The acts of the junta are carried out in the legal framework of the Forale Community of Navarre and of the Spain.
Into the level of the territorial administration, the valley is integrated into the Comarque of the Pyrenees Orientales (Roncal- Salazar) and into the Merindad of Sangüesa. In the legal field, it concerns the district of Aoiz.
The valley of Roncal has not ceased for thirty years seeing its population decreasing, in spite of the development of tourist activities.
The population is in addition growing old, since the Middle Age is 48,50 years there, the share of more than 59 years rising with 34,26%
The economy is mainly based on the pastoralism, in this mountainous region directed since always towards the breeding. Fishing, the ski touring and the excursion maintain rural tourism however, occupant from now on a majority of the population, but not stopping the progressive decline of the permanent population.
The Valley of Roncal belongs to the mixed zone of the Forale Community of Navarre, namely that the Basque is Co-official there, and can be used there of right by all the citizens in its relationship with the administration, which, on the other hand, adopts only the Castillan in their acts (in the zone bascophone, the Basque with the same legal authenticity as the Spanish ).
The population of the valley is very mainly Spanish-speaking, less than 20% of the inhabitants of the valley speaking more or less the will euskara, with variations according to the communes, as the table shows it below:
The survival of the will euskara in the valley is not ensured more by the old generations, since only 1,65% of the inhabitants have it as a native tongue. The others learned it following the installation from a bilingual educational system since the years 1980. This development of teaching out of Basque supported the assimilation of the unified Basque ( batua ), which replaces from now on the local dialect: the Roncalais ( roncalés ), or will uskara . This dialect of the Basque, spoken in the seven communes about the valley, was since Bonaparte considered as a simple dialect of the Souletin. Resurrección María de Azkue classified it like autonomous dialect. The insulation of the valley undoubtedly explains its particularisms, roncalais it being regarded most original of the Basque dialects, but also as one of purest and most preserving (having evolved/moved very little during the centuries). Its last native speaker, Fidela Bernat, died out in 1991, not without during long years to be carefully questioned by linguists, eager to collect last alive testimonys of the Eastern dialect and perhaps most authentic of the Basque.
Culture and traditions
the most known tradition of the valley is the versed tribute multiséculaire each July 13rd by the French neighbors of the valley Barétous inhabitant of Béarn. This ceremony, the Junta of Roncal , is known under the name of Tribut of the Three Cows , because of the nature even of the tribute.
Cheese of Roncal, made ewe's milk, and holder of a name of controlled origin
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