Without a doubt, the is one of the most impactful landscapes in León, and a required stop for all that visit the province. It’s located in the region of Bierzo, about 20 km outside of Ponferrada and 150 km outside of the capital. It’s strangeness of this place has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status. It’s a natural monument and, due to its historic relevance, a cultural park.
It has a spectacular reddish-colored landscape and strangely-shaped, clay-like mountains, where the Romans of Legio VII (in the first century) extracted gold using basic methods, mainly hydraulic energy. They took the water from the snow that accumulated in the mountains and launched it at great pressure take out the surface layers of land, leaving the precious gold nuggets in sight. When the gold was in deeper layers of the mountain, they caused cracks in the earth, forming caves that can still be seen. When they abandoned the site in the 3rd century, it has undergone transformations and some areas are now fully of vegetation (oak trees, chestnut trees, etc.). The best place to see this landscape is from the Orellán viewpoint.
You can find the remnants of forts and other settlements on the outskirts. There’s plenty of hiking trails to follow, and an archeological room in Carucedo.
... Read more