Abandoned mines nestled between nature and sea..

Unspoilt vegetation, crystalline sea, sandy beaches  are  undoubtedly Sardinia’s “tag” words but the territory’s abandoned mines are equally representative of the island and  incredibly evocative and bewitching. These old mines and workers’ villages were closed over twenty years ago,  their undeniable  beauty and particularity  caused the  “UNESCO” to turn them into heritage of humanity, creating the Geomineral, Historical and Environmental park of Sardinia. This meant  restoration  and renovation of  these fascinating pieces of industrial archeology  that opened their doors to the public a few years ago.  One is free to wander around and imagine what the atmosphere must have been like in full activity…the noise of the mining trolleys, cries of the miners, rising dust. If only these edifices could talk.. is a frequent thought of mine.

The mines are mostly concentrated in the south western coast of the island near the towns of Iglesias, Carbonia (coal in Italian..)  and Arbus.

A VERY BRIEF OUTLINE..
Mining was  once Sardinia’s  most important industry dating all the way back to the Phoenicians and the Romans. The real boom came in the 1870s  also thanks to the introduction of dynamite which made extraction amazingly  easier!  Lead, silver and zinc were the three  distinguishing minerals of the area.   The mining industry thrived  for more or less a hundred years, and the island witnessed the building of immense mining  villages, often situated by the sea. In the 1960s, the reduced demand of  coal and the high extraction and export costs sees  the  industry decline slowly but surely,  concluding with the closure of the mines in the 90s.
 

 

MONTEVECCHIO
Montevecchio, also known as “Gennas” is a big mining village north of the town of Arbus, it was known for its large production of zinc, but following the drastic drop of its demand,  was closed in 1991. With a small charge ranging from  6 to 14  € (depending on the number of routes)  one can visit the village and go on a tour of the old abandoned buildings, observe the school, hospital, church depicting the miners’ families everyday lives.
For further information please go to the website www.minieramontevecchio.it Tel: +39  070 973173

 

INGURTOSU
The mines of  Ingurtosu are only a few miles away from Montevecchio, the name Ingurtosu originates from “gurturgiu” which means vultures in Sardinian dialect, these rapacious birds used to inhabit the area and  even today you can still see the odd one planing in the sky. Ingurtosu is in the midst of  the sandy dunes, its mines were used  to find zinc, silver and lead.  By the beginning of  the1900s, there were over 5,000 people living in the mining village.  The main offices were built in late 1800,  their construction in an elegant  neo-medieval style that does not go unnoticed.
NEBIDA and MASUA
The mining area of Nebida, located on the western coast 15 km from Iglesias,  is one of the most  beautiful archeological exhibits,  due to its stunning location  on a cliff overlooking the sea. There is a panoramic path starting from  the village with a long flight of steps with breathtaking views of the coast leading to  the remains of the Laveria Lamarmora coal washer.
Three km further up is the small town of  Masua and the  mine of Porto Flavia, literally set in a cliff with steep drop on the sea. The tour of  the mine is usually led by the miners who will give  detailed and engaging explanations while exploring  the galleries equipped with mining helmet!   At the end of the tour,  a must is the terrace with an absolutely breathtaking view of the sea and the famous rock islet “Pan di Zucchero” .

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