The Parque Cultural del Maestrazgo is a wild and ruggedly mountainous region of eroded  cliffs, river canyons, caves and upland meadows scattered with fossils. The name originates from  the Knights Templar military order - the 'maestres' - that controlled the region in the Middle Ages. Most of the villages have Iber, Roman and Moorish roots. Paleolithic remains, including cave paintings, are testimony to earlier human occupation.

         

Poetically named The Labyrinth Of Silence, the ancient landscape of the Maestrazgo is still revealing its secrets. 

        

Major dinosaur discoveries have been made in recent years. Galve, the site of many finds,  has a dinosaur interpretation centre; Dinopolis, the paleontology museum in the provincial capital of Teruel, has a world class collection of fossils and dinosaur remains.  Close by, the international Geopark at Aliaga is a geological wonder of twisted strata and mineral deposits.

           

The once-thriving villages of the Maestrazgo have been reduced over the centuries by the Carlist wars, the Spanish Civil War and the decline of agriculture. Today, the region has one of the lowest population densities in Europe and is officially classified as depopulated. 

                                                

Huddled in the majestic landscape is an architecural heritage of signorial manors, walled towns, fortified farmhouses, Romanesque churches, ruined castles and hundred of miles of footpaths, stone walls, maze-like sheepfolds and abandoned terracing. 

               

Local traditions include bull running, agricultural festivals and village fiestas that last for days - and nights - on end. The regional food is hearty and delicious, especially famous for artisan cheeses, mushrooms, honey, lamb and dry-cured ham. Wildlife includes vultures, eagles, the Iberian mountain goat and boar. Wild flowers and mountain herbs scatter the hills and fields.

                                 

Cañada de Benatanduz lies on the GR8 long distance footpath. The village is surrounded by glorious elevated walks through mountain meadows, wheat fields and pine forests.

        

In the sierras above the village is the ruin of Castillo del Cid, an Arabic fortification associated with the El Cid of legend. On neighbouring hills  are  the  caves and refuges used by the Maquis, the anti-Franco guerrillas who remained active in the area until the 1950's.

          

It is fashionable to talk of deep Spain. If 'España profunda' still exists, it is to be found in the mountain fastness that is the Maestrazgo.