World Heritage Photos

Las Médulas

Las Médulas is located between Lugo and León in the northern part of Spain. Las Médulas is a dramatic landscape, shaped by human intervention and natural processes. Las Médulas was the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. The opencast mining or Ruina Montium was one of the mining systems used by the Romans. By this system the Romans mined the gold-rich soil with tunnels and shifts. Water was conducted through the tunnels acting as an explosive, resulting in the collapsing of the mountain. After the collapse, water was used to conduct the gold-rich mud to the washing canals. Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic landscape with caves such as La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, and Cueva La Encantada, the Enchanted Cave. Today, the red mountains of Las Médulas are covered by wild flowers, oaks and sweet chestnut trees. Las Médulas is situated along the Ruta de la Plata, the Silver Route, an ancient Roman road from Mérida in the south to Astorga in the north. Las Médulas is situated close to Ponferrada, a town along the Way of James to Santiago de Compostela. Las Médulas was declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1997.

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Las Médulas - La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, of Las Médulas. The unique and dramatic landscape of Las Médulas was shaped by a Roman gold mining...

La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, of Las Médulas. The unique and dramatic landscape of Las Médulas was shaped by a Roman gold mining technique in the first and second centuries AD. The Roman author and army commander Pliny the Elder, a procurator in this region in 74 AD, described the gold mining technique. Las Médulas was declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1997.

  1. Las Médulas - La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, of Las Médulas. The unique and dramatic landscape of Las Médulas was shaped by a Roman gold mining...

    La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, of Las Médulas. The unique and dramatic landscape of Las Médulas was shaped by a Roman gold mining technique in the first and second centuries AD. The Roman author and army commander Pliny the Elder, a procurator in this region in 74 AD, described the gold mining technique. Las Médulas was declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1997.

  2. Las Médulas - Las Médulas was the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. The mining started in the first century AD, when Spain was...

    Las Médulas was the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. The mining started in the first century AD, when Spain was under Roman rule. About 20,000 Roman pounds of gold were extracted from the mine in Las Medulas every year. About 60,000 labourers were involved in the gold mining, most of the labourers were slaves.

  3. Las Médulas - Las Médulas: The opencast mining or Ruina Montium was one of the mining techniques used by the Romans. By this technique they mined...

    Las Médulas: The opencast mining or Ruina Montium was one of the mining techniques used by the Romans. By this technique they mined the gold-rich soil with tunnels and shifts. Water was conducted through them acting as an explosive, causing the collapse of the mountains. After the collapse, water was used to conduct the gold-rich mud to the washing canals.

  4. Las Médulas - Las Médulas: The red sandstone caves of La Cueva Encantada, the Enchanted Cave. The Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic...

    Las Médulas: The red sandstone caves of La Cueva Encantada, the Enchanted Cave. The Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic landscape with caves and a maze of underground tunnels such as La Cuevona and La Cueva Encantada. For the Ruina Montium a large network of canals was constructed to supply water to the gold mine.

  5. Las Médulas - Las Médulas: The Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic and unrealistic landscape with many caves such as La Cuevona,...

    Las Médulas: The Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic and unrealistic landscape with many caves such as La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, and La Cueva Encantada, the Enchanted Cave. The mine of Las Médulas was the most important gold mine in the entire Roman Empire. The gold mine was exploited until the beginning of the third century.

  6. Las Médulas - Las Médulas: The mining in Las Médulas ceased in the 3th century when the supply of gold was exhausted. Today, the...

    Las Médulas: The mining in Las Médulas ceased in the 3th century when the supply of gold was exhausted. Today, the destroyed red mountains are covered with wildflowers, oaks and sweet chestnut trees. Las Médulas is rich in wildlife such as wild boar, deer and wild cats. Las Médulas is also home to around hundred bird species.

  7. Las Médulas - Las Médulas is located in Spain, about 25 km from the town of Ponferrada, the capital city of the isolated El...

    Las Médulas is located in Spain, about 25 km from the town of Ponferrada, the capital city of the isolated El Bierzo region. The El Bierzo region is situated on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, also known as the Way of St. James, one of the most famous Christian pilgrimage routes. Las Médulas was inscribed on the n UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.

  8. Las Médulas - Las Médulas: Opencast mining or Ruina Montium was one of the mining systems used by the Romans. The result is a dramatic landscape...

    Las Médulas: Opencast mining or Ruina Montium was one of the mining systems used by the Romans. The result is a dramatic landscape that was shaped by human intervention and natural processes. Las Médulas is situted along Ruta de la Plata, the Silver Route, an ancient commercial Roman road, it runs from Augusta Emerita, modern Mérida, in the south to Astorga in the north.

  9. Las Médulas - A visitor to the UNESCO World Heritage Las Médulas. The imposing landscape of Las Médulas is characterized by red sandstone...

    A visitor to the UNESCO World Heritage Las Médulas. The imposing landscape of Las Médulas is characterized by red sandstone rocks overgrown with numerous wild flowers, shrubs, oak and sweet chestnut trees. Sweet chestnuts are a delicacy in Spain, especially in the provinces of León and Castile. Visitors are not allowed to pick and eat the sweet chestnuts or take them away.

  10. Las Médulas - Las Médulas: The entrance to La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, is the largest cave in the landscape of Las Médulas. After more than...

    Las Médulas: The entrance to La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, is the largest cave in the landscape of Las Médulas. After more than two centuries of gold mining the Romans departed and left here a devastated landscape with caves and underground galleries. For nearly two thousand years, the landscape has remained almost untouched.

  11. Las Médulas - After two centuries of gold mining, the Romans abandoned Las Medulas, leaving the landscape  to its current shape. Las Medulas...

    After two centuries of gold mining, the Romans abandoned Las Medulas, leaving the landscape  to its current shape. Las Medulas is visited by hundreds of tourists each year. The viewing point Orellán is located about eight kilometres from the small mountain town of Las Medulas, it offers one of the best views of the landscape of Las Médulas. Las Medulas is located near the Sil River.