Province of Ourense
Orense (in Galician and officially Ourense) is a province in northwestern Spain, located in the southeastern part of the autonomous community of Galicia. It borders the provinces of Pontevedra to the west, Lugo to the north, León and Zamora to the east, and Portugal (Braganza District, Vila Real District, Braga District and Viana do Castelo District) to the south. Its capital is the city of Orense.
It has an area of 7,273 km² and is the only Galician province without access to the sea.
The population of the province is 309,293 inhabitants (INE 2018), of which 34.1% live in the capital. There are 92 municipalities in the province of Orense.
Other important towns in addition to the capital and its dormitory towns such as Barbadás or San Ciprián de Viñas are Verín, Carballino, Ginzo de Limia, Barco de Valdeorras, Celanova, Rúa, Allariz, Ribadavia, Maceda, Puebla de Trives and Viana del Bollo.
With the exception of the capital, none of the municipalities in the province reaches 15,000 inhabitants. The updated ordered list according to INE data in 2020 is as follows:
The province of Orense is the 20th in Spain in which there is a higher percentage of inhabitants concentrated in its capital (34.11%, compared to 31.96% for the whole of Spain).
It is a province with an average altitude that is not very high, but very mountainous.
The lands located to the west of the province, on the border with the provinces of Pontevedra and Lugo, are within the Galician Dorsal, that is, the western mountainous system of Galicia, with mountain ranges such as Suído or Faro de Avión, that can reach heights of around 1000 m: Coto de Puza at 1035 m, Marcofán at 939 m, Uceiro at 1003 m, Alledo 1013 m, reaching the highest point at the Faro de Avión itself, with 1155 m. They are very old materials, mainly granite, cut by fractures crossed by the rivers (Arenteiro, Cena, Avia, etc.) that make up the valleys. The general appearance is solid and it serves as a dividing line between the aforementioned rivers and the basins of the Ulla, Oitavén and Tea rivers (this same tributary of the Miño); while it acts as the first barrier against the Atlantic influence, but its relatively low altitude and the transverse valleys do not prevent the passage of rains, although attenuated.
The central-eastern region is much more rugged, with higher elevations. These reach the highest points in the mountains that border the provinces of León and Zamora: Sierra de Encina de la Lastra (Tara, 1099), Sierra del Eixe (Peña Trevinca, 2127 m, the highest point in the community), Sierra Segundera, Sierra Calva (Montouto, 2045 m). In the center, the Orensano Central Massif dominates, where a series of low-altitude mountain ranges develop in a radial direction, but which can easily exceed 1,500 m: Cabeza Grande (1,778 m), Sierra de Invernadeiro, Queixa (Seixo, 1707 m, Manzaneda Head), Sierra de San Mamede (San Mamede, 1618 m). These elevations were largely due to the tectonic movements of the Quaternary, being formed not only by uplifts, but also by more or less wide and more or less high depressions, which can sometimes appear as large pits. Thus, in the east we have the El Bollo depression to the north and west of the Sil-Miño Valley - which can be widened and stepped, as in Orense -; in the South, the Limia, the Maceda Valley and the Verín Valley.
Towards the south, the same tectonic phenomena alluded to have created another group of mountains with a different orientation (west-east), which are lower in height but higher than the western mountain ranges and which traditionally made communication with Portugal difficult, with the exception of the Verín depression: O Xurés mountain range ((Nevosa, 1539)), Larouco mountain range (Larouco, 1525 m), Penas Libres mountain range (Mair, 1083 m), Esculqueira mountain (Pened