Sistema Central

Sistema Central

Central System
Sistema Central
View of La Serrota, 2.294 m, in Ávila Province
Highest point
Peak Pico Almanzor
Elevation 2,592 m (8,504 ft)
Length 485 km (301 mi) ENE - WSW
Width 90 km (56 mi) NNW - SSE
Location of the Sistema Central in the Iberian Peninsula
Countries Spain and Portugal
States/Provinces Guarda and Castelo Branco districts, Extremadura, Castile-La Mancha and Castile and León
Orogeny Alpine
Period Tertiary
Type of rock Limestone and sandstone

The Central System, Spanish and Portuguese: Sistema Central, is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in the Iberian Peninsula. 2,592 m high Pico Almanzor is its highest summit.

The Central System is located just north of the 40th parallel and its ranges divide the drainage basin of the Tagus from the basin of the Douro.


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 an 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 neighboring 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. Other notably large ranges are Sierra de Gata and Sierra de Ayllón. The Central System links with the Sistema Ibérico at its eastern end through the Sierra de Pela, the Altos de Barahona and Sierra Ministra, the latter already fully part of the Iberian System.[1]

"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

The main ranges of the Sistema Central from west to east followed by their highest points are:

Main ranges and features

See also


  1. ^ Introducción al estudio del espacio geográfico soriano
  • Wes Gibbons & Teresa Moreno, The geology of Spain. Geological Society of London, 2003

External links

  • Physical geography and geology of Spain
  • Virtual Cadastral
  • Sistema Central in Montipedia
  • Ascensión al Mondalindo
  • Subida al Ocejón
  • Ascensión a la Sierra de la Puebla
  • Al cobijo de los Altos de Barahona