Roland's Breach

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Roland's Breach
La Brèche de Roland
La breche de roland 2.jpg
Roland's Breach as seen from the French side.
Elevation2,804 m (9,199 ft)
Traversed byfoot
LocationHautes-Pyrénées, France
Aragón, Spain
Coordinates42°41′27″N 00°02′01″W / 42.69083°N 0.03361°W / 42.69083; -0.03361Coordinates: 42°41′27″N 00°02′01″W / 42.69083°N 0.03361°W / 42.69083; -0.03361
Brecha de Rolando is located in Spain
Brecha de Rolando
Brecha de Rolando
Location of Roland's Breach
Roland blows his olifant (ivory hunting horn) to summon help in the midst the Battle of Roncevaux as portrayed in The Song of Roland with Roland's Breach in the background

Roland's Breach (French: La Brèche de Roland; Spanish: La Brecha de Rolando; Aragonese: La Breca de Roldán; Basque: Errolanen Arraila; Catalan: La Bretxa de Rotllà)[1] is the name of a natural gap, 40 m across and 100 m high, at an elevation of 2804 m in the Pyrenees on the border of Aragón, northern Spain, and Hautes-Pyrénées, France.

The gap is situated in the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park[2] on the Franco-Spanish border, close to the steep cliffs of the Cirque de Gavarnie.

According to one legend Roland's Breach was cut by Count Roland with his sword Durendal in an attempt to destroy the sword, after being defeated during the Battle of Roncesvalles in 778.[citation needed] In a variant of one of the legends associated with Salto de Roldán, a rock formation about 25 km (16 mi) north of Huesca, Roland (Spanish: Roldán), the foremost of Charlemagne's paladins, was being hotly pursued by Saracens, the Muslim Arab occupiers of Spain. Cornered at Salto de Roldán, he escaped by leaping the chasm on horseback from one of the crags to the other; the horse died in the attempt. Roland continued northward on foot, and smote the Pyrenees with his sword to create Roland's Breach, so that he could see France one last time before he died.[3][4]

The gap can be reached from the Refugio Sarradets,[5] a nearby mountain shelter, in about an hour's climb.

The provenance of this myth is unclear as the Cirque du Gavarnie is approximately 150km East South East from the Roncesvaux Pass where the legend of Roland is based.



  1. ^ "Brecha de Rolando", retrieved 2013-08-20
  2. ^ "Parque Nacional Ordesa y Monte Perdido", retrieved 2013-08-20
  3. ^ Tomeo, Javier (4 May 2002). "El increíble salto de Roldán y su caballo". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  4. ^ Díaz, María (25 November 2011). "Leyendas de Huesca: El Salto de Roldán". (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Refugio Serradets o Brecha de Rolando 2587 m.", retrieved 2013-08-20

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