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 alluvial deposits with galleries and shifts. Water was conducted through them 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 La Encantada, the Enchanted Cave. Now, the red mountains of Las Médulas are covered by wild flowers, oaks and sweet chestnut trees. Las Médulas is located along the Ruta de la Plata, the Silver Route, an ancient road that runs from Mérida in the south to Astorga in the north. Las Médulas is located near Ponferrada, a town along the Way of James to Santiago de Compostela. Las Médulas gained status as 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...

La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, of Las Médulas. The unique and dramatic landscape of Las

Médulas was shaped by a Roman gold mining system in the first century. Las Médulas is

located along the Ruta de la Plata, the Silver Route, an ancient Roman road that runs from

Mérida in the south to Astorga in the north. Las Médulas is an UNESCO World Heritage.

  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...

    La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, of Las Médulas. The unique and dramatic landscape of Las

    Médulas was shaped by a Roman gold mining system in the first century. Las Médulas is

    located along the Ruta de la Plata, the Silver Route, an ancient Roman road that runs from

    Mérida in the south to Astorga in the north. Las Médulas is an UNESCO World Heritage.

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

    Las Médulas was the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. The mining started in

    the first century, when Spain was under Roman rule. About 20,000 Roman pounds of gold

    were extracted from 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: Opencast mining or Ruina Montium was one of the mining systems used by the Romans, by this system they mined the alluvial...

    Las Médulas: Opencast mining or Ruina Montium was one of the mining systems used by

    the Romans, by this system they mined the alluvial deposits with galleries 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 Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic landscape with caves, such as La Cuevona, the Huge Cave...

    Las Médulas: The Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic landscape with caves,

    such as La Cuevona, the Huge Cave and La Encantada, the Enchanted Cave. 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.

  5. Las Médulas - Las Médulas: The walls and caves of La Encantada, the Enchanted Cave. The Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic...

    Las Médulas: The walls and caves of La Encantada, the Enchanted Cave.

    The Ruina Montium caused the formation of a dramatic landscape with caves and a maze

    of underground galleries, such as La Cuevona and La Encantada, the Enchanted Cave.

    For the Ruina Montium a network of canals was constructed to supply water to the mine.

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

    Las Médulas: The mining in Las Médulas ceased in the 3th century when the supply of gold

    was exhausted. Nowadays, 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 of the isolated El...

    Las Médulas is located in Spain, about 25 km from the town of Ponferrada, the capital of the

    isolated El Bierzo region. The El Bierzo region is situated on the famous Route of Santiago

    de Compostela, also known as the Way of St James, a pilgrimage route. Las Médulas was

    declared an UNESCO World Heritage 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...

    Las Médulas: Opencast mining or Ruina Montium was one of the mining systems used by

    the Romans. The result is a dramatic landscape, shaped by human intervention and natural

    processes. Las Médulas is located along the Ruta de la Plata, the Silver Route, an Roman

    road that 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 landscape of Las Médulas is characterized by red rock formations...

    A visitor to the UNESCO World Heritage Las Médulas. The landscape of Las Médulas is

    characterized by red rock formations overgrown with wild flowers, oak and sweet chestnut

    trees. Sweet chestnuts are a delicacy in Spain, especially in León an 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, the largest cave in the landscape of Las Médulas. After two...

    Las Médulas: The entrance to La Cuevona, the Huge Cave, the largest cave in the landscape

    of Las Médulas. After two centuries of 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...

    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.