Las Médulas

Las Médulas, Spain

Las Médulas is a historic gold mining site near the town of Ponferrada. It was the most important gold mine (and largest open pit gold mine) in the entire Roman Empire. Las Médulas Cultural Landscape is listed by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites.

The spectacular landscape of Las Médulas resulted from the ruina montium (wrecking of the mountains), a Roman mining technique described by Pliny the Elder in 77 AD. The technique employed was a type of hydraulic mining which involved undermining a mountain with large quantities of water. The water was supplied by interbasin transfer. At least seven long aqueducts tapped the streams of the La Cabrera district (where the rainfall in the mountains is relatively high) at a range of altitudes. The same aqueducts were used to wash the extensive alluvial gold deposits.

The area Hispania Tarraconensis was conquered in 25 BC by the emperor Augustus. Prior to the Roman conquest the indigenous inhabitants obtained gold from alluvial deposits. Large-scale production did not begin until the second half of the 1st century AD.



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Founded: 0-100 AD
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Spain


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mike Walker (9 months ago)
Stunning vista and incredible history. The Roman engineering was mind boggling. A trip into the htunnels is a must unless you are claustrophobic or suffer from vertigo!
Hugo Pro B (11 months ago)
Visit to the gallery costs 3€ from 12 yrs. above and 2€ below 12 yrs.
Leo Boeren (12 months ago)
This trail at UNESCO site Las Medulas is well worth the effort to get here. Just after the parking is the aula archeologica where you can get a small map and explanation over which route to take for the duration you want. We went to La Cuevona, whereafter i took the steep path upwards to the mirador de Orellan. Walking all the way up is really worth it. The views are stunning. Downside is that the Galeria is closed between 1400 and 1700. Don't try this when it rains, too slippery. And second tip when you're doen again after seeing the mirador take the same route via La Cuevona back as the other route is boring.
James Clayton (2 years ago)
What a place , well worth a visit if in Northern Spain . The 10.6km walk is a great route with some interesting scenery. This can be found on the notice board at the car park or on AllTrails ect .
Rocio M. (3 years ago)
Incredible experience! You can discover the gold mines along different trekking. Even you can visit a gold mine inside, by paying a ticket and following some instructions. Get ready to walk, get water with you and enjoy the amazing views. You can also try the traditional food in any of the restaurants in the village.
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