Las Medulas, Spain
A trip to Las Medulas, Spain, should start with a visit to the village of Borrenes. From here visitors can enter the UNESCO cultural park. Visitors should note that the area has poor roads, and is often best visited on foot, bicycles, or in a 4 X 4.
The first area that visitors will want to visit is The El Castrelín de San Juan de Paluezas, which was an Astur community, which was formed in the 3rd century BC. Guests can read signs about the community that once existed here and their way of life. The original settlers in this area lived in a walled city. They lived in houses that were built of stone with wooden and straw roofs. Visitors to El Castrello de San Juan de Paluezas can see the old stone foundations to these homes. Those that lived in this city were hunters and gatherers who often attacked the Roman outposts located in the lowlands. The people raised mostly sheep and goats, and Astrucon horses. They ate mostly acorn flour and raised barley, wheat and flax. A second similar site is the Castro de Borrenes, which the Astur built shortly before being invaded by the Romans. Visitors can see part of the city wall, which would have surrounded this city, although it probably was never finished as the Romans moved the people closer to the gold mines after they conquered them.
Las Medulas became more important during Roman occupation, when it was an important mining area. The Romans used opencast methods to remove 20,000 pounds of gold from the mountains each year. The gold was removed by 60,000 workers who would set fire against the rocks and then quench the fire with water. This would weaken the rock and water was then used to sweep away the debris, leaving the gold. To learn about this area, visitors should park at Médulas and visit the area of La Cuevona and La Encantada caves. Visitors will be able to understand the ruina montium network. At least seven aqueducts were dug under the mountain so that large amounts of water could flush the gold from under the mountains.
After visiting this area, visitors should hike up the strenuous path to the Orelian starting point. The center, which is closed on Tuesdays, has various opening times based on the weather conditions. Here visitors can learn about the techniques used in the area to get the gold out of the mountains. The trip is best done on foot and is an almost circular route
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The Romans conquered the people in this area and put them to work extracting gold from the hills. The Romans used hydraulic mining methods to mine the gold and the results of their techniques are still visible today.
Spain, Las Medulas, Las Medulas Gold Mining