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Canigou (Catalan Canigó) (el. 2 784,66 m./9137 ft.) is a mountain located in the Pyreneesmarker of southern Francemarker.

Due to its sharp flanks and its dramatic location close to the coast, until the 18th century the Canigó was believed to be the highest mountain in the Pyreneesmarker.

Trekking and sightseeing

Spectacular jeep tracks on the north side of the massif lead to the Chalet de Cortalets (at 2150 m.) which is a popular outpost for walkers.

There are two ancient monasteries at the foot of the mountain, Sant Martí del Canigó and Sant Miquel de Cuixà.

Canigó Flame

This mountain has symbolical significance for Catalan nationalist groups. On its summit there is a cross that is often decorated with the Catalan flag. Every year on the 23d June, the night before St. John's day (nit de Sant Joan), there is a ceremony called Flama del Canigó (Canigó Flame), where a fire is lit at the mountaintop. People keep a vigil during the night and take torches lit on that fire in a spectacular torch relay to light bonfires somewhere else. Some estimates conclude that about 30,000 bonfires are lit in this way all over Catalonia on that night.


The Canigó inspired a collection of poems called "Canigó" by Catalan poet Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló.In these verses Verdaguer compares the snowy mountain to a Magnolia flower:

Lo Canigó és una magnòlia immensa
que en un rebrot del Pirineu se bada;
per abellesfades que la volten,
per papallons los cisnes i les àligues.
Formen son càlzer escarides serres
que plateja l’hivern i l’estiu daura,
grandiós beire on beu olors l’estrella,
los aires rellentor, los núvols aigua.
Les boscúries de pins són sos bardissos,
los Estanyols ses gotes de rosada,
i és son pistil aqueix palau aurífic,
somni d’aloja que del cel davalla. (p. 27-28)

Meaning: The Canigó is an immense magnolia that blooms in an offshoot of the Pyrenees; its bees are the fairies that surround it, and its butterflies the swans and the eagles.Its cup are jagged mountain chains, colored in silver by the winter and in gold by the summer, huge cup where the star drinks fragrances, the airs freshness and the clouds water. The pine forests are its hedges and the ponds its dew drops, and its pistil is that golden palace seen by the nymph in her dreams descending from heaven.


The Pic de Canigó shot to fame in England in late May 2008, when a group of teenage air cadets, from Tynemouth, UK were involved in a daring rescue. The lives of two stricken Belgian nationals, who had succumbed to injuries due the intense winter conditions and falling several hundred feet, were saved in a rescue mission lasting several hours. The daring rescue concluded with the Securitie Civil air detachment, based at Perpignan, airlifting the injured walkers to hospital for treatment of their injuries and extreme exposure. This rescue received intense local press coverage in the UK, and national press coverage to a lesser extent. It is not known if the young people involved in this rescue were commended or decorated in any form.

See also


  1. Histoire du Roussillon - Le relief des Pyrénées-Orientales
  2. Pyrénées Team - Croix du Canigou
  3. Vermut a la rebuda de la Flama del Canigó
  4. Festes - l'espai on comença la festa

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