NATURAL MONUMENT BEAR ROCK
Cape Bear owes its name to the huge bear shaped rock that overlooks the surrounding landscape from the top of a 120 – meter – high granitic promontory. Modelled over thousand of years by the erosive action of wind and other atmospheric elements, the rock, dating back to late Paleozoic (approximately 300 million years ago), has finally been shaped into a bear, which is keeping guard over the strait between the coast of Palau and the isle of La Maddalena.
The Rock has been visited since prehistoric times and was so well known to the first seafarer who approached Sardinia, that it has been identified as one of the essential points of ancient navigation in the Mediterranean sea (some scholars have identified Capo d’Orso with the Homeric land of Laestrygonians).
Evidence of its presence can be found in the writings of the first geographers who studied Sardinia. The first graphic illustration of the Rock appeared in the book “Itinerario dell’Isola di Sardegna” (Itinerary of the Island of Sardinia) by A. Lamarmora, who dates the “peculiar resemblance” back to two thousand years ago because Ptolemy (II century AD) refers to this place with the name of Arcti Promontorium in his geography.
In 1993 the region of Sardinia declared the Bear Rock “Natural Monument” for its geological characteristics as well as its importance and peculiarity: the image of the bear has become the symbol of Palau and it also appears on its coat of arms.
From the top of the hill, at the bear’s feet, you can enjoy an amazing and unique view, grasping a wide stretch of the northern coast, the Archipelago of La Maddalena and the mountains of Corsica.
Near the Rock, in the middle of a big area of lush Mediterranean vegetation, there is the huge and impressive fort of Capo d’Orso, a granitic military battery dating back to the end of the 19th century, which was part of the complex system of fortifications in defence of the military basis of La Maddalena.