Sorteny is a valley with a great diversity of habitats and species.
In this exhibition you will be able to see images of the most representative flowers and plants of the valley, as well as some of the most emblematic animal species such as the capercaillie, the white partridge or the partridge, the Pallars lizard or the isard, among others. If you are an observer, you can have a great experience visiting the valley.
REMEMBER that you are in an easily accessible natural park, the central area of the Ordino Biosphere Reserve. Take care of it and enjoy it !!

The Sorteny valley preserves many corners typical of a natural landscape but in reality, it is a highly anthropized valley from a very old age.
A place where livestock had to be set up between 4 and 5000 years ago and still survives today. Livestock, logging, mining and the harvesting of medicinal herbs have been the best represented human activities that have played an important role in shaping the landscape. Today only livestock farming survives, as a traditional activity.
The valley had another great activity from the beginning of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th. We refer to iron mining. From the Meners Pass, on the slope of Canillo and, punctually in the 19th century, from the slope of Sorteny, the largest set of mines in the country was exploited, which lowered the ore to the forges of Puntal, Serrat, of Ordino, La Massana and Encamp. From May to the end of October, mining generated a great deal of activity in the valley and the roads were fixed so that they could pass with the mules and mules that lowered the ore and raised the food for the miners.
In Sorteny we can find agricultural areas, especially lawns, although in some times of famine we could plant cereals and even in modern times, the potato. The valley, also very rich in plants, was for centuries a great space for collecting medicinal herbs.
So, we see that in Sorteny, although it does not have a permanent population, it had reached a relatively large temporary population.

We do not have absolute dates for this valley, but as in other Andorran valleys, livestock farming began during the Middle Neolithic (5400-3900 BC). During prehistory, Roman times, and even the Middle Ages, part of the community moved to the high mountains with their livestock and a minimum of utensils for cooking and caring.
From the Neolithic to the end of the Middle Ages, they brought more sheep than goats and bovids are a minority. They make cheese, which in addition to eating it is exchanged for other products that they do not have.
From modern times we see a specialization in sheep farming. Small livestock owners dedicate their livestock to the production of cheese in the family setting, while large livestock farmers, grouped in companies, favor the production of meat in Catalan cities. They enclose large fences that also facilitate the collection of grass intended for mules, which became more important from the 16th century onwards. Human groups, probably family members, moving to the high mountains are shrinking. From now on, it is the shepherd, who is now called a cowboy, who spends his time with the cattle.
From the end of the 19th century and during the 20th century, the cow prevailed, the mule disappeared, and the sheep were almost wiped out. From the first quarter of the 21st century, sheep and equine livestock increase discreetly, and Andorra sells cheeses again.

Originally the term comes from the Latin Horreum which has a broad meaning, barn, dry stone shepherd's hut where they keep milk and cheese.
In Ariège, Andorra, also in La Cerdanya, the barley designates the set of huts and structures that form a livestock farm in the mountain meadows. From the thirteenth century, we begin to discover in some documents, the right to bark, or make orris in the high mountains. We have from the parish of Ordino, a text from 1613, which literally says "build an orry, that is a hut, a milking corridor, a shed and everything else that would make you look good" ...
Once the cattle had finished their daily grazing time, shepherds and dogs returned the cattle to the barn. There they often separated lactating or pregnant females, plus the young from the rest. When it was necessary to make cheese, some nuts were milked, milk was boiled, fermented and the pasta that was made into cheese was prepared. The barley had a specific hut, a cool place for the cheeses, which came down to the village from time to time.
The construction of the whole orri is done with the dry stone technique, therefore without any mortar or earth. Depending on the needs, the barley changed shape. It is for this reason that in the same place we find remains of different eras.
The orris are in slightly marginal spaces, often close to the screes, where they will find the raw material to build them.
Look at the archeological remains in the corridors created by the shepherds to classify the cattle and milk them.

1- The shepherds' hut. Here the shepherds slept, cooked. So, they had a space for the bed of straw to sleep and a space for the fire. Some have storage space.
2- The milking corridor. These are corridors made of dry stone walls that were also used to classify livestock. With the cattle crowded, it was easier for the shepherd to milk the sheep.
3- The cheese hut, where after boiling and fermenting the milk, the pasta was left in the wooden cheesecakes, which acted as a mold and were left to finish fermentation and start curing.
4- The pleta. This is an enclosure created with dry stone walls, high enough so that the cattle cannot jump. The cattle were left there all night until the shepherd began a new day of grazing.
5- The corral - Sometimes we find a separate corral for non-breeding cattle. You can also find a chicken coop or a dog-covered area.

In the Meners Pass you can see part of the road used by miners and haulers to transport iron ore to the forges.
Mine mouths are not visible, they are covered by the erosion of the mountain itself. This whole area, although you can't see it, is a big gruyere, full of galleries. For security reasons they cannot be visited.
In the picture you can see the situation of some of the mine mouths, which are currently not visible.
In the other picture you can see one of the mine mouths. It is the most important set of mines in the Principality. They operated from 1625 to 1862. The ore went to the forges of Puntal, Serrat, Ordino, La Massana and Encamp. From there, ingots were made that were distributed throughout Catalonia and Andorra.