The gold mines of Rodalquilar

Set in the heart of the rugged and arid Cabo de Gata, the abandoned gold mines of Rodalquilar are a fascinating and extremely atmospheric spot to visit. The mines experienced a minor gold fever in the 1880s . They were reopened for a brief flash in the pan in 1989, before finally closing a year later. There are a number of abandoned mining cottages in the deserted village of San Diego, though some have been renovated now for tourism accommodation.  At the bottom of the slope, the village of Rodalquilar itself is attractive and has a few bars offering cool drinks after a visit to the mines.

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Las Médulas

Panoramic view of Las Médulas

Las Médulas in the region of El Bierzo were once the site of the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire.  The spectacular landscape of Las Médulas resulted from the Ruina Montium, a Roman mining technique described by Pliny the Elder in 77 AD which consisted of undermining the mountain with large quantities of water supplied by at least seven long aqueducts tapping the rivers in the nearby mountains. Today the collapsed mining shafts form an eerie terrain of jagged peaks, gorges and ravines, composing one of the most beautiful post-industrial landscapes in the world. Continue reading