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
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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

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eli calavia (18 months ago)
Nice place
La Manivela Suelta (2 years ago)
One of “must see”. It is area of old Roman gold mine. They run two aqueducts to flush down entire mount. I think it was great environmental disaster of that times. Fortunately Nature reclaimed this place and rearranged it in great style. I can assure you that walking around you will be astonished. This place is so picturesque that I have had big problems which photos should I publish. My opinion you can skip one thing. “Lago”, means lake. I could hardly find something interesting about it. Don’t forget to take a lot of water with you!
Livia Stafforte (2 years ago)
A beautiful and scenografic site. I recommended the visit when you are in the nearby or if you are going in the nord west of Spain.
Nora Szponar (2 years ago)
Lovely area with fascinating history of gold mining. Amazing old chestnut trees and lots of walking routes.
Ernest Mark (2 years ago)
Interesting exhibit and history of early gold mining by Roman empire in the museum. Site of tunnel entrances ok not much to see, short hike up the hill.
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