Iberia: natural history and environment

The weblog of the iberianature website: www.iberianature.com
The environment, geography, nature and landscape of Spain

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Castilian synonyms for mountains, etc

Richard Ford, the 19th century traveller and first British hispanophile, jokingly said in ‘Gatherings from Spain’ that the country is just one big mountain. 24% is above 1000 m and 76% between 500 and 1000 m. Spain has an average altitude of 660 metres. In Europe only Switzerland is higher (by a long way - average altitude of 1,300 metres).
So it should come as no surprise that Castilian is so rich in words for mountains, hills, cliffs and plateaus. Here’s a by no means exhaustive list.

alcor: hill
alcarria: high-flat plateau with little vegetation.
aguja: jagged peak
altiplanicie: extensive high plateau
altiplano: synonym of altiplanicie
altozano: small hill
arista: ridge; arête

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