The colonel’s eyes

From Rasquera to the Coll de Pins and the Lister observatory; return through the hermitage of Santo Domingo

Technical data

Technical data

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Introduction to the route

Good walkers are well aware that the Cardó mountain range offers beautiful horizons over the Terres de l’Ebre. At the northern end of the massif, when the mountain range descends towards the gentle plains of the Móra basin, there is a point that has a special meaning, and not precisely because of the beauty that is contemplated from there, but rather for the horror that was glimpsed there.

At the end of the Spanish Civil War, the Coll de Pins was chosen by the republican army to be able to observe, with a certain certainty, the development of the offensive on the other side of the Ebro. This is the so-called Lister Observatory, by Lieutenant Colonel Enrique Lister. Just below the summit, a small anti-aircraft shelter was excavated, in the face of the danger posed by the enormous superiority of national aviation. In holes of the same kind and even more precarious, on the other side of the river, in Pàndols i Cavalls, young people of eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old were huddled … while a hell was unleashing that was swallowing every day -the bear.

This place stands out for its ability to evoke tragedy, while, paradoxically, it also manages to fall in love with it. The views are extraordinary and the charming descent down the ridge of the Watchtower leaves a good taste in the mouth, despite the terrible episodes with which the mountain has been connected.

Map and tracks


Recommended map

Serra de Cardó 1:20.000 Ed. Piolet

Route description

The excursion begins and ends in the village of Rasquera. Right next to the church (1) is the Camino de Peçols, the old royal road between Rasquera and Tivenys. You reach the cemetery and continue up. Care must be taken not to get lost in a heavily eroded area (2), where other trails have opened up. Try to turn left and take the road that leads directly to the Rasqueres pass (3).

On the pass is the road that goes up to Cardó and, just crossing it, there are two signs (one is from the Democratic Memorial) and the horseshoe path that goes up directly to the Coll de Pins pass (4). Once there, continue to the left, following the ridge path that goes up to the tip of the Coll de Pins (5), where the observatory is located. Although it is difficult to assume, toponymy experts say that in the past the word neck was also used to identify the highest points. This meaning, common in the Middle Ages, now only survives in Terres de l’Ebre. The expert Jesús Burguenyo states that “in toponymy, things are often not as obvious as they sometimes seem. […] Generations of geographers, hikers, cartographers and scholars of toponymy have been deceived for decades. We looked for passes (mountain passes) where there are actually hills. ”

The light that floods the Coll de Pins is precisely what the character related to it, Colonel Enrique Líster, lacks. Formed in the Soviet Union, when the Civil War broke out he played a prominent role as an officer in the army of the Republic. He ordered the execution of anarchists and Trotskyists in Aragon, and his enemies accuse him of sending the international anarchists and brigadiers under his command to the Battle of the Jarama to a veritable carnage. After the war he went into exile in the USSR where he became a general. He returned to Spain in 1977 and appears to have been paid by the KGB until his death in Madrid in 1994.

The descent follows the path that runs along the ridge and leads directly to the hermitage of Santo Domingo (6), from where it returns to Rasquera. It is worth completing the good taste of the landscape with the famous cakes that are made here.


From Coll de Pins to the hermitage there are some stretches of terrain that, with humidity, can be a bit slippery and you have to be careful.

To be able to follow the route correctly, you need to download the track. The existing signaling is not in good condition and does not provide accurate information of the different nodes.

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