In the Bierzo, northwest of the Aquilanos Mountains and next to the valley of the Sil River, are Las Médulas, a fantastic landscape resulting from the Roman auriferous exploitations, and declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
Its reddish print simulates a winding and mysterious landscape. Nobody would say that the bluffs hide, under their entrails, the gold of the Romans.
In the 1st century A.D. the Roman Imperial authorities began to exploit the gold deposits of this region in north-west Spain, using a technique based on hydraulic power. After two centuries of working the deposits, the Romans withdrew, leaving a devastated landscape. Since there was no subsequent industrial activity, the dramatic traces of this remarkable ancient technology are visible everywhere as sheer faces in the mountainsides and the vast areas of tailings, now used for agriculture.
Muted mining for centuries, the place of the Medulas becomes a beautiful landscape of great tourist attraction, which is completed with a museum infrastructure of an archaeological classroom. Here is described, in detail, the period in which the largest open-air gold exploitation of the entire Roman Empire maintained its activity.
The Medulas offer the visitor, in addition to a place of extraordinary beauty, the opportunity to know a curious and complicated system of exploitation that the Roman geographer and naturalist, Plino el Viejo, called “ruin montium”