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“Amazing Roman mining landscape” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Las Medulas

Las Medulas
| Province of Léon, Spain
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Type: Historic Sites
Attraction Details
Okehampton, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
45 attraction reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Amazing Roman mining landscape”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

A wonderful place to visit, right on the edge of the Montanes de Leon, not far from Ponferrada. The site was recommended by a Portuguese colleague, as worth driving some miles for, and we agree with his assessment.

Go to the village of Las Medulas first, go to the museum, where they explain how the mining of the entire mountain worked using just the pressure of water. The remains of the mining landscape covers a large area with many walking trails though some great terrain with weird ridges of remaining orange snadstones. We took a walk up to the Caves and then headed back to the village which was a nice 1-2 hour walk around the site. The village has many different small cafes and eating places (except on a Fete day!). Try the local honey, with it's rich taste of the Chestnut flowers. Sample some of the locally produced jams including Quince Marmalade. The local ladies will explain how they take the bee products and use them.

In the heat of the summer, an afternoon visit will be challenging due to the heat, but in September it was fine. We finished off with a great meal sampling some of the local dishes in the Hotel at Las Medulas, with a terrace overlooking the lake.

Then at the end it's well worth driving up to the view point and looking down on the remnants of the mined mountain, with fabulous Chestnut woods, when you can see the scale of the Roman mining efforts. It's a worthy World Heritage site!

Probably best done on a good day, as you need good visibility to appreciate the scale of the mining.

Visited September 2012
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English first
Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Unforgettable”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2012

It is located a few kilometres from Ponferrada, beyond the lake Carucedo is Las Médulas, natural wonders indeed - created by the Romans, who dug gold. 60,000 slaves for 250 years had produced 1,650,000 kg of gold (5,000,000 Roman pounds). They led the water through canals, which were dug up and hence arose incredibly bizarre landscape of jagged mountains, caves and ravines.
It is wonderful, incredible to see it. But more incredible is that it is the people who made it, poor slaves, but diligent Romans and theirs architects :).
I must confess that we never were coming up to have all the view before us, because it was so warm and unfortunately I had my sciatica and therefore a little difficult to go. But I want to come back some day and do this trip at finish :).

Visited August 2012
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Illinois
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Eerie place, but spectacular in its own way”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2011

As Medulas is a small town outside Ponferrada located right at the site where the Romans let loose with a ton of water and blew the insides out of mountains as they searched for gold. The town is dedicated exclusively to tourism surrounding the site. There is one ugly modern box hotel and one "rural hotel" Agoga which is pleasant, quiet, surrounded by green yards and flowers. (single room with breakfast about 45 E).
There is a nice, but small visitors center, which is very informative. Without it, I would have had no idea where all these strange formations came from. Some artifacts, some models, some short movies.
The prime attraction is walking around the area. There are well marked, car-free paths that lead up and down, both through the maze of "leftover mountain innards" and up to some incredible, spectacular even, viewpoints over the entire site. I have never seen anything like this and I understand how it made its way onto the UNESCO world heritage list.
Though it's well off the beaten path, it is worth a trip for anyone who is visiting the Bierzo or lower Galicia.

Visited May 2011
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hamburg
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“ghosts of mountains”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2011

After having eaten a big menu of cocido in the medieval town Castrillo de los Polvazares, we overcame our sluggishness and decided to drive over to see the legendary Medulas hills.
In Roman times, the area was the most important gold mine. Already then, a river had been diverted, and transformed into a powerful jet, that could cut up mountains. I did not believe the story.
In spite the time being already four pm, we chose the country roads along the pilgrims path.
Missing the turn offs, we almost gave up, but just made it at dusk and did not regrett the drive: Reddish hills some shaped like dromedar backs others like stalagmites. most of them with one side overgrown. Various Panorama platforms are avaiable, but the roads require a four wheel drive, so we decided not to ruin our rental car. Go there if you are in the area!

Visited January 2011
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leeds
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“You would think it was a natural phenomenen”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2009

If you like nature, visit this site. It is amazing to think that the Romans destroyed the mountain to obtain the small quantity of gold embedded in it. Their engineering was interesting, forcing water into the mountain until it exploded. Don't try to visit it in the afternoon in summer, it is much too hot! Do visit the lago de somiedo to see snakes in the water and other aquatic creatures

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