Very close to the Mediterranean coast, specifically in the municipality of Cuevas del Almanzora, east of the province of Almeria, a group of mountains belonging to the Baetic Mountains is evident to everyone.
This is the Sierra Almagrera, also known as the “Land of Silver”, because of the large deposits of this mineral that were exploited in the past. Nowadays, there are only traces and ruins that have become tourist attractions, where you can see the vast amount of evidence of what was once a land full of prosperity.
In general, the Sierra Almagrera is very small; only about 8.5 kilometres long and 3 kilometres wide. The “Tenerife” peak is its highest point at 366 metres above sea level.
Sierra Almagrera is a place with years of history formed by a multitude of faults on the seabed that caused an uplifting of the mountains. The first settlers there were the Agaric, Carthaginian, Phoenician and Roman peoples.
They all relied on mining activity as their main source of economic supply. At the end of the 19th century, after discovering the “Jaroso” reef, mining gained so much popularity that at least 1,760 mining concessions were granted.
During that time, there was nothing better to do in the area of the Sierra Almagrera than to work in the exploitation of the mineral, which yielded extraordinary profits for the whole region.
It was there where the first silver mining operartions were developed in Spain, from which two large deposits were mined, separated from each other by several kilometres. These are the native silver deposits of “Las Herrerias” and the “Galena Argentifera” of Sierra Almagrera.
The mining work created drastic changes in the landscape during the 19th and part of the 20th centuries. The green areas of the mountains were replaced by foundries, wells, buildings and tracks by which the railroad that transported the extracted material passed through.
In the Sierra Almagrera there are about 400 kilometres of galleries, which reveal an underground world that many have studied to learn more about the activities that were developed in these lands of Almeria for many years.
Walking through the caves
For tourists wishing to visit the mountains where these impressive mines once operated, a hiking route is available to help them explore the area safely.
The first hiking route was created in 2013 by the City Council of Cuevas del Almanzora and comprises 11 kilometres of walking routes, with a medium-high difficulty level.
During the trip you can immerse yourself in the great industrial heritage that was extremely profitable at that time, and today is part of the tourist and historical attractions of Almeria.