Tourism Las Medulas

The Medulas are located 35 km from La Portela de Valcarce, and is a great engineering work of the Romans, from where a terrifying amount of gold came to Rome.

Las Médulas was originally a Roman open gold mining, although the pre-Roman indigenous peoples had already exploited the site, washing the mud and sand. Surely the Romans began to work in the area in the time of the emperor Octavio Augustus, who personally directed most of the actions that between the years 26 and 19 a. C. conquered definitively the towns of the north of the Iberian peninsula. It is possible to emphasize the action of the mount Medulio, where the holocaust of Cantabrians and Astures is verified, who prefer to be killed before surrendering. However, the location of Mount Medulius is still under discussion.

Pliny the Elder, who in his youth was an administrator of the mines, reports that 20,000 pounds of gold were extracted per year, which, given the 250 years of exploitation, would give 5,000,000 pounds of gold, that is, 1,635 pounds .000 kg. According to the data of the professor and archaeologist Antonio García Bellido, the removed lands reach the 500 million m³, which, calculating an average yield of 3 grams per ton of earth, would result in 1,500,000 kg.

As for the number of workers, Pliny speaks of 60,000 manumitted workers. Modern studies, based on the earth removed, speak of 10,000 or 20,000 men, counting on suppliers, guardians, etc. Plinio comments in his writings the hardness of the work: "it is less reckless to look for pearls and purple at the bottom of the sea than to take gold from these lands."

The enormous engineering work done for the extraction of the mineral was a great destruction of the environment, but resulted in a spectacular and spectacular landscape of red sands, perfectly integrated with the vegetation of chestnuts and oaks, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.