THE COUNCIL OF IBIAS AND SAN ANTOLIN
The Council of Ibias is a part of the Fuentes Del Narcea Region located in the south west of Asturias. This area is the largest protected area in Asturias and a member of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves which includes Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias Natural Park, the Integral Natural Reserve of Muniellos and the Cueto Arbas Partial Natural Reserve.
You can find many traces of megalithic burial structures, tumuli and dolmens throughout the area especially in Seroiro, Pradías, Andeo and Vilares de Arriba. The area is also historically connected to the gold mining industry heralding from Roman times and the production of wine which was introduced by the Benedictine Monks in the medieval times.
The more southerly location of this area bordering with Leon and Galicia make the terrain ideal for the production of wine and is still one of their main industries. Also, it is the only winemaking area in Asturias. The beautiful landscapes full of grapevines produce young and light wines with big personality that have been awarded with protected geographical status and origin denomination “Vino de Calidad de Cangas” (Quality Wine from the land of Cangas). These wines are highly regarded and go perfectly with the regions gastronomy.
Another interesting and historic remnant is the religious and nobility architecture of Palaces and large stately Houses highlighting the wealth of this area throughout the ages.
The council of Ibias is surrounded by the magical forest of Muniellos which was declared UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its vast ecological value. Here you will find a mixture of European Beech and Oak forests intermingled with Silver-Birch, Hazel, Ash, ancient Yew and Holly and offering a wonderful palette of colour and beauty throughout the seasons. The area boasts six glacial lakes and is also home to wildlife: bears and Capercaillies (A Type of Grouse) as well as Wolfs, Roe deer, Wild Boar, Chamois and Otters. Due to the importance of this forest and the controls surrounding the ecosystem there are only 20 people allowed to visit the area a day so if you want to visit you had to ask for permit……. well in advance.
Around the council of Ibias you will also find the Natural Park of Fuentes Del Narcea, which has one of the most diverse ranges of fauna in the North of Spain and the Natural Park of Fuentes del Narcea Interpretation Centre. This is the land of the cunqueiros which where craftsmen who specialized in making wooden tools and vessels. The main village is called San Antolín de Ibias and it is there where you can visit the Church of San Antolin, the Church of Cecos, the Church of Talasid, the Palace of Tormaleo and the Palace of Ron. Ibias is also of important ethnographic value and you will find the Interpretation Centre of the Palloza which is made up of buildings with thatched roofs currently used as stables.
Throughout the council of Ibias you can enjoy many walking routes such as the Route of the Gold, The Gorge of Bustelin, The Route to the Seroiro Dolmen, The Route of the Pico Miravalles and the Sisterna Lakes Route. There are other more long distance routes such as the Way of the Bear; car routes like the Route of the Passes and many Mountain Bike routes. The area is also a paradise for fishermen and hunters.
The Gastronomy of Ibias is typically Asturian offering stews (especially the popular cabbage stew), Asturian reared beef; fish from their rivers, local cold meats like the popular “Chosco”, crusty country bread and classical Asturian desserts. The area is also very popular for fruits of the forest: dried nuts in winter and plump berries in summer and of course, everything should be accompanied with the fantastic Wine of Cangas (Vino de Calidad de Cangas).
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