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Sistema Central
View of the Cerro del Santo, 2.294 m, in La Serrota, Ávila Province, Sistema Central
Country Spain, Portugal
Highest point Pico Almanzor
 - elevation 2,592 m (8,504 ft)
 - coordinates 40°14′48″N 05°17′52″W / 40.24667°N 5.29778°W / 40.24667; -5.29778
Length 485 km (301 mi), ENE - WSW
Orogeny Alpine
Period Tertiary
Location of the Sistema Central in the Iberian Peninsula, just north of the 40° parallel
View of the Serra da Estrela, containing the highest point in continental Portugal.
Cerro del Padrastro hill close to Atienza, in the transition zone between the Sistema Central and the Sistema Ibérico.

The Sistema Central is a system of mountain ranges on the Iberian Peninsula.



A view of the Sierra de Gata peaks in the background over a mountain village.

The Sistema Central is a primary feature of the Meseta Central, the inner Iberian plateau, splitting the meseta into two parts. The Sistema Central runs in a ENE - WSW direction roughly along the southern border of the Spanish autonomous community of Castile and León and Extremadura continuing into the Guarda and Castelo Branco districts in Portugal.

Unlike the Sistema Ibérico, the Sistema Central range is a quite homogeneous system. It consists of several ranges that formed 25 million years ago as part of the Alpine orogeny.

The major mountain ranges are the Sierra de Guadarrama, which runs approximately along the border of the Madrid and Castile and León autonomous communities, the Sierra de Gredos north of the border between Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha stretching into Extremadura and containing the range's highest mountain, Pico Almanzor, at 2,592 m, as well as the Serra da Estrela, containing the highest point in continental Portugal, A Torre, 1.993 m.

"Sistema Central" is a widely-known academic geographical term. Local inhabitants, however, generally refer to the Sistema Central by the names of its smaller constituent ranges.

Mountain ranges

Amongst the main ranges of the Sistema Central from east to west are the following (highest points between brackets):

  • Serra da Estrela, (A Torre, 1.993 m).
  • Sierra de Gata, (Jálama, 1.492 m).
  • Sierra de Francia, (Pico de la Hastiala, 1.735 m).
  • Sierra de Béjar, (Canchal de la Ceja, 2.430 m).
  • Sierra de Gredos, (Pico Almanzor, 2.592 m).
  • Sierra de la Horcajada, (Risco de la Umbrela, 1.562 m).
  • Sierra de Villafranca, (Cerro Moros, 2.059 m).
  • Sierra de Piedra Aguda, (Piedra Aguda, 1.817 m).
  • La Serrota, (Cerro del Santo, 2.294 m).
  • Sierra de Hoyocasero, (Navasolana, 1.708 m).
  • Sierra de la Paramera, (Pic Zapatero, 2.160 m).
  • Sierra de Ávila, (Cerro de Gorría, 1.727 m).
  • Sierra de Ojos Albos, (Cruz de Hierro, 1.657 m).
  • Sierra de Malagón, (Cueva Valiente, 1.903 m).
  • Sierra de San Vicente, (Cruces, 1.373 m).
  • Sierra de Guadarrama, (Peñalara, 2.428 m).
    • La Mujer Muerta, (La Pinareja, 2.197 m).
    • Siete Picos, (Siete Picos, 2.138 m).
    • La Maliciosa, (Maliciosa, 2.227 m).
    • Cuerda Larga, (Cabeza de Hierro Mayor, 2.383 m).
    • Sierra de la Morcuera, (La Najarra, 2.122 m).
    • Sierra de Canencia, (Mondalindo, 1.831 m).
    • Sierra de la Cabrera, (Cancho Largo, 1.564 m).
  • Sierra de Somosierra, (Colgadizos, 1.834 m).
  • Sierra de Ayllón, (Pico del Lobo, 2.274 m).
    • Sierra de la Puebla, (La Tornera, 1.866 m).
    • Sierra de Ocejón, (Ocejón, 2.049 m).
  • Sierra de Alto Rey, (Alto Rey, 1.858 m).
  • Sierra de Pela, (Sima de Somolinos, 1.548 m).

See also


  • Wes Gibbons & Teresa Moreno, The geology of Spain. Geological Society of London, 2003

External links

Coordinates: 40°24′18″N 4°26′58″W / 40.40513°N 4.44946°W / 40.40513; -4.44946



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