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Linares-La Carolina Mining District

Distrito minero Linares

In Linares, La Carolina and the towns in the Sierra Morena region you will find one of the largest mining basins in mainland Spain and, without doubt the largest in the world with regard to lead production. At one time there were endless mining concessions, 65 km of master wells and almost 700 km of galleries. Today there are 65 listed properties and buildings, distributed throughout the mining district. There are a number of trails running through archaeological sites, mining towns, old railway lines, mining operations and foundries.

The Territorial Museum (Baños de la Encina), the La Carolina Museum and the Mining Landscape Visitor Centre (Linares) are available for you to learn about an activity here that dates back 4,000 years. But, did you know that the oldest pelota courts, tennis courts and football fields in Spain are scattered around this landscape? Or that in this mining are the wagons travelled through the skies on aerial cables?

In 1991, the last mining operation in Linares was closed, Minas La Cruz, one of the most important concessions in the Linares-La Carolina mining district where lead, silver and copper ere extracted in the foothills of Sierra Morena. A mining activity that once employed 50,000 miners from the region at the beginning of the 20th century and that today remains cradled in an always latent hope. What is a reality is the existence of an indelible imprint that has marked this territory and its people with fire, and the validity of an industrial heritage that visitors find extraordinary.

In an old loading dock on the Madrid railway station you will find the Mining Landscape Visitor Centre. The five rooms halls here introduce visitors to local history and heritage, and to the district in general, highlighting the role of mining during the town's heyday. In La Carolina there are two interpretation centres, the town's Museum and the Mining Visitor Centre, located in the La Aquisgrana Mine, as well as a number of interesting features, such as the Torre de Perdigones in the Calle Ondeano; in Baños de la Encina there is the Territorial Museum, with information on mining in prehistoric times, as well as a number of archaeological sites dedicated to mining, such as Peñalosa and the Migaldías fort (4,000 years old).

This mining territory has become an authentic mosaic consisting an excellently preserved Mediterranean hillside, dotted with ore washing sheds, machine houses, wells and sinkholes, chimneys, winches, stations and halts, waste dumps, etc. The whole complex forms a landscape of enormous cultural and environmental value. Towns with deep mining roots, like Araceli, Los Guindos and El Centenillo stand today as a unique, indelible reminder. By bicycle, on horseback or on foot, the district has numerous trails enabled for visiting ravines, railway lines, drovers' trails and bridle paths where you can discover this old mining region that is as old as humanity itself.

Linares-La Carolina Mining District