Canigou

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Canigou
A snow-capped Canigou across the Roussillon plain.
A snow-capped Canigou across the Roussillon plain (December 2004).
Elevation 2,784 m (9,134 ft)[1]
Prominence 550 m (1,804 ft)
Location
Canigou is located in France
Canigou
France
Range Pyrenees
Coordinates 42°31′08″N 02°27′24″E / 42.51889°N 2.45667°E / 42.51889; 2.45667Coordinates: 42°31′08″N 02°27′24″E / 42.51889°N 2.45667°E / 42.51889; 2.45667
Climbing
First ascent According to tradition, in 1285 by Peter III of Aragon
Easiest route Hiking

The Canigou (Catalan: Canigó) or Pic du Canigou is the highest of the mountains in Eastern Pyrenees; it is on the Massif du Canigou, in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, southern France.

Because it has sharp sides and is close to the Mediterranean Sea coast, until the 18th century the Canigou was believed to be the highest mountain in the Pyrenees.[1]

Geography[change | change source]

Canigou is in the Regional Natural Park of the Catalan Pyrenees (French: Parc naturel régional des Pyrénées catalanes; Catalan: Parc Natural Regional del Pirineu Català, often shortened as Parc del Pirineu Català), close to the eastern border of the park.

The Canigou peak is 2,784 m (9,134 ft) high.[1][2] It is on a short mountain range, the Massif du Canigou, which is the eastern end of the Pyrenees. The mountain is the 395th highest mountain in France.[3]

History[change | change source]

The first writings where the mountain is mentioned date from 949 with Montis Canigonis and Monte Canigone in Latin. The first written name of the mountain in Catalan (Canigó) dates back to 1300, and from this comes Canigou in French.[4]

The first ascent to Canigou was in 1285 by Peter III of Aragon, King of Aragon. This fact is mentioned in a chronicle written by Fra Salimbene, an Italian monk. It seems that the king did not go to the top of the peak.[5]

Le Canigou from near Vinça.
Le Canigou and peaches with flowers.

Climate[change | change source]

Although the dominant climate is largely Mediterranean at its base, the Canigou has several climate zones:

  • Mediterranean climate: from the base to 800–1,000 m (2,625–3,281 ft);
  • Mountain climate: from 1,000 to 1,700 m (3,281 to 5,577 ft);
  • Subalpine climate: from 1,700 to 2,300 m (5,577 to 7,546 ft);
  • Alpine climate: from 2,300 m (7,546 ft) to the top.

Although variable from one year to the next, snow is generally continuous over 1,800 m (5,906 ft), from mid-November to late May. The mean temperature in July is 12 °C (53.6 °F) and in January is −5 °C (23.0 °F).[6]

Canigou Flame[change | change source]

This mountain is a symbol for Catalan people. On its top there is a cross that is often decorated with the Catalan flag.[5]

Every year on 23 June, the night before St. John's day (nit de Sant Joan), there is a ceremony called Flama del Canigó (Canigou Flame), where a fire is lit at the mountaintop. People spend the night there and take torches lit on that fire in a spectacular torch relay to light bonfires somewhere else. Some estimates conclude that about 30,000 bonfires are lit in this way all over Catalonia on that night.[7]

Massif du Canigou[change | change source]

The Massif du Canigou is a mountain range in the Pyrenees in the French department of Pyrénées-Orientales. It is the part of the Pyrenees nearest to the Mediterranean Sea.

There are two old monasteries at the foot of the mountain, Martin-du-Canigou and Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa.

On 16 July 2012, the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy of France named the Massif du Canigou as a Grand Site of France.[8]

The main peaks of this mountain range are:[9][3]

  • Canigou peak (Pic du Canigou, 2,784 m), the highest peak of all
  • Puig des Tres Vents (2,731 m)
  • Roc Nègre (2,714 m)
  • Barbet peak (Pic Barbet, 2,712 m)
  • Puig Sec (2,665 m)

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Le reliefs des Pyrénées-Orientales" (in French). A la découverte des Pyrénées Catalanes. http://pyreneescatalanes.free.fr/Decouvrir/Reliefs.php. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  2. "Pic du Canigou, France". Peakbagger.com. http://www.peakbagger.com/peak.aspx?pid=28748. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Mont Canigou". peakery. http://peakery.com/mont-canigou/. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  4. Sordes, André. "Etymologie de Canigou" (in French). Sordon. http://andresordes.e-monsite.com/pages/etymologie-de-canigou.html. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Pic du Canigou" (in French). Pyrénées Team. http://www.pyrenees-team.com/pteam/photos/canigou/canigoug/3. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  6. Météo France weather station located at 2,600 m.
  7. "Aplec del Canigó" (in Catalan). Festes - l'espai on comença la festa. http://www.festes.org/articles.php?id=103. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  8. "Le massif du Canigó devient Grand Site de France" (in French). Ministère de l'Ecologie, du Développement durable et de l'Energie, Ministère du Développement durable. July 2012. http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/Le-massif-du-Canigo-devient-Grand,29034.html. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  9. "EL MASSÍS DEL CANIGÓ" (in Catalan). Canigó.cat. http://www.canigo.cat/. Retrieved 22 July 2013.

Other websites[change | change source]