Berdún (688 metres) is one of the most easily-recognised villages in Aragón. Built lengthways along the crown of a hill, it is the capital of the Canal de Berdún municipality, which also includes Martes, Biniés, Villareal de la Canal and Majones. La Canal (The River Valley) was until recently the only means of communication between the Pyrenean valleys. It gives its name to the intra-Pyrenean depression on either side of the Aragon river between Jaca and Yesa. It is the only significant longitudinal depression and is 50 km long.
The municipality, a natural linking route between the Pyrenean valleys, was of strategic importance and therefore became a meeting point for people of different cultures and customs. Its villages are especially rural in nature and its inhabitants are almost exclusively dedicated to crop production and sheep and cattle farming. The Santiago Pilgrimage Route runs the length of the Canal de Berdún and has left its mark in the numerous Romanesque constructions along its length.
The village of Berdún has a large number of noble houses of great architectural value. The parish church houses a Barroque organ built in 1738 and restored a century later. The altarpieces are particularly fine, as are the wooden openwork of the sacristy and the carved stalls of the choir. The Gateway of the Virgin, one of the three entrance gates that used to provide access to the village through the old village walls, still survives and leads to the main square.
The surrounding landscape lends itself to a number of leisure activities. The great plains and river valleys are ideal for cycling, horse-riding or trekking. Adventure sports, such as gorge-walking, rafting, canoeing, paragliding and gliding are available. Hunting and fishing are also popular.
The Canal de Berdún area has a particularly diverse birdlife as a result of the great variety of habitats in the surrounding area. The aquatic ecosystem of the Yesa reservoir, the high Pyrenean valleys, the Mediterranean groves of gall and holm oaks, the San Juan de la Peña and Santo Domingo ranges with their extensive pine and boxwood forests and the cereal plains of the Canal de Berdún give rise to this biodiversity. Lammergeiers, red kites and griffon vultures are often present. Furthermore, it is a transit area for migratory birds, such as cranes, travelling to and from central Europe in the spring and autumn.
Other villages in the municipality: Biniés - Majones - Martes and Villarreal de la Canal
Text taken from the Jacetania Area Signposting Plan. 2001-2006