Terres de l’Ebre
Between two natural parks
The Ebro is one of the most important rivers in the Iberian peninsula. At its mouth in the Terres de l’Ebre, its waters define a diverse landscape which sits between the sea and the mountain ranges of the Els Ports Natural Park. Spending time in this area brings the visitor close to the different cultures which have shaped its heritage – the Moors, the Jews and the Christians – as well as the riches of its natural environment: Ebro Delta Natural Park, beaches, or the mountains of the Els Ports Natural Park.
This region, spreading from the Ebro Delta inland along the largest river in Spain, covers 367,729 hectares and has a population of 190,000 inhabitants.
Cycling, hiking, and kayaking are just a few of the activities to enjoy in one of the more environmentally diverse areas of Catalonia – declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2013.
The cultural and natural heritage of the Terres de l’Ebre region offers a myriad of hidden details within the mosaic formed by the four southernmost counties of Catalonia. The broad range of options, far away from the crowded typical tourist sites, means that there is something on offer for each and every visitor
Customs and traditions
Southern Catalonia has a rich and unique variety of cultural traditions; its music, the typical dance known as the jota, and bull running activities are just a few examples. Most local town festivals are based around music – whether it be that played by traditional wind ensembles, or the jota, which is both sung and danced.
The tune of the jota usually alternates sung lyrics with instrumental breaks. A small group of musicians (rondalla) with a clarinet, trumpet, euphonium, guitar and traditional small guitar known as a guitarró, accompanies the singers. These, in turn, improvise lyrics which often talk about social problems, congratulate people on special dates, relate the life of country-farmers, or, as in the old days, throw out a marriage proposal to a loved one. The jota is a unique form of popular expression through music and has been declared one of the national dances of Catalonia, together with the sardana – which is more common in the north.
Wind ensembles started to become popular in the Terres de l’Ebre area towards the end of the 19th century thanks to the influence of traditional Valencian music. They are made up of wind and percussion instruments and are popular in nearly all the towns of southern Catalonia, especially in the Baix Ebre and Montsià counties. These bands form an essential part of local town festivals and also participate in more solemn town parades such as those marking important dates in the religious calendar.