Río Tinto

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This area takes in the upper and middle sections of the Tinto River. It is unique in the world, both on account of its beautiful colours, and for its exceptional environmental and historical conditions. Europe's largest open-cast mining area can be found around its upper section. It was exploited as far back as Tartessian times, and especially by the Romans.

This long history of mining activity has given rise to a weird and wonderful landscape. The name of the river comes from its red colour, with shades of ochre on the banks. These hues come from the high content of iron salts and sulphates in the water. These, combined with low oxygen content give the water a low (acidic) pH.

Vegetation on the banks of this river is scarce on account of the acidity of the environment, but special mention should be made of the plant known as "brezo de las minas" (heather of the mines). This is an endangered species, endemic to the province of Huelva, and provides food for a vital animal community.

Although you could imagine that life would be impossible in these conditions, the water here is home to a wide diversity of microorganisms adapted to extreme habitats - many are still not scientifically catalogued - that feed on minerals alone. So much so, that area is being studied by the NASA Space Agency to understand these life forms, given the probable similarities between the environmental conditions here and those that could exist on Mars. In the caves and canals of the mining areas different species of bats also nest.

The most surprising thing, however, is the amount of mining infrastructure and elements in the area, that tell the story of a hard but highly important historical stage in the development of Spain. The Peña del Hierro Mine here is specially noteworthy for its depth and for the multicolour lake that has formed at its base.

General information

Extension: 16957 hectares Date of declaration: 18/01/2005 Environmental units:Sierra Morena Atlántica mountain

Interest Points

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    1-6.5622840006637.6947200588/media/img/viewpoint_map_ico.jpg28231428

    La mina de Peña de Hierro (Nerva, Huelva) se encuentra en el extremo norte-oriental del anticlinal de Riotinto, a unos 10 km de la población de Minas de Riotinto y a unos 3 de la de Nerva. Se trata de una mina menor comparadas con las de Riotinto pero con unas leyes en metales bastante altas. Debe su nombre al gran crestón ferruginoso que corona la mina a cielo abierto.

    Su historia se remonta a la época Romana, pero su mayor productividad se encuadra desde mediados del siglo XIX a tercer cuarto del siglo XX. A finales de 2004 la Fundación Río Tinto ha puesto en valor este patrimonio minero. Desde el Museo Minero de Riotinto se organizan visitas turísticas que acercan a uno de los más bellos y excepcionales parajes de toda la Comarca Minera de Riotinto: Peña de Hierro.

    Municipality:Nerva
    Province:Huelva
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    En 1873 un consorcio financiero extranjero con mayoría de capital británico compró las minas de Riotinto, constituyendo la empresa Río Tinto Company Limited Iniciándose así la presencia británica en la Cuenca Minera de Río Tinto que perdurará hasta 1954. Las primeras casas construidas fueron la Casa Consejo (Vivienda  del General Manager) y una hilera de diez casas. En 1895 se construyeron otras diez casas, entre ellas la que nos ocupa. La Casa nº 21 posee tres plantas y dos jardines con una superficie total de 540 m2.

    La Casa nº 21 fue inaugurada el 28 de julio de 2005 y su conocimiento ofrece la oportunidad de realizar un viaje en el tiempo hasta la época victoriana, y percibir un ambiente similar al que se puede observar en films como Memorias de África o Pasaje a la India.

     

    Municipality:Minas de Riotinto
    Province:Huelva
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    Con un total de más de 300 km de vías, el ferrocarril de vía estrecha de Riotinto se empezó a construir en junio de 1873; se inició la obra por cinco puntos diferentes, debido a la urgencia de acabarlo en un corto plazo de tiempo. Su construcción finalizó el 28 de julio de 1875 con un coste total de 767.190 libras. El trazado, planeado y supervisado por George Bruce, tuvo que adaptarse a las características del terreno, aunque discurriendo siempre paralelo al río Tinto. Todo ello motivó el que fuese necesaria la construcción en hierro forjado de 8 puentes diferentes. Del mismo modo se proyectó y llevó a cabo la construcción de cinco túneles. A lo largo de la vía general también se edificaron 12 estaciones para regular el tráfico de mercancías, pero además existían otras en diferentes pueblos de la cuenca para el tráfico de pasajeros. Esta obra de arquitectura industrial dejó de utilizarse en mayo de 1975.

    Fundación Río Tinto en su afán de salvaguardar el patrimonio histórico minero de la comarca ha recuperado 12 Km. de la antigua línea comercial de Riotinto, en locomotoras y vagones restaurados del parque móvil de la antigua compañía minera se realizan viajes en los que se disfruta de paisajes impactantes como el antiguo polo industrial de la comarca y parajes naturales siempre acompañando el curso del Río Tinto.

    Municipality:Minas de Riotinto
    Province:Huelva

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