Industrial tourism in Asturias. Culture #TurismoIndustrial
Look around Admire the industrial heritage
Silhouettes of mining scaffolds dominate the horizon, steam machines rolling over metal tracks, towns born out of industrial paternalism... All a testimony to the richness that flows from underground, from the rivers and seafloor, to how men and women tried to tame nature.
This image is very different from the rural Asturias of the 19th century, whose inhabitants lived off of agriculture and livestock farming and only had a few canning factories and arms factories built in the 18th century. The men and women of Asturias had known about coal for at least two centuries but they had never shown an interest in mining it. But industrialisation required fuel and the Asturian deposits were too highly sought-after.
Mining and Industry Museum of Asturias - MUMI (San Martín del Rey Aurelio).
Don't miss ...
Mining and Industry Museum of Asturias - MUMI - (El Entrego-San Martín del Rey Aurelio).
Samuño Valley Mining Ecomuseum (Ciañu-Langreo).
Sotón Pit (Sotrondio-San Martín del rey Aurelio).
Mining town of Bustiello (Mieres).
Arnáu Mine Museum (Arnáu-Castrillón).
Railway Museum of Asturias (Gijón).
Coal mining opened the way for all the rest. With mining came the metallurgical and steel industry and power production, fuelled also by the abundance of water. The railway became the main figure of industrialisation. The landscape of the Principality was transformed, driving it towards the future.
The Steelworks Museum - MUSI (Langreo).
Asturias's industrial heritage, protected by the Spanish Cultural Heritage Law, includes three types of assets: isolated elements, such as the Tabaco Factory, located in the centre of Gijón; industrial plants, such as the one in Arnáu or the Trubia Arms Factory; and whole landscapes revealing a range of different activities, such as in the Nalón and Caudal basins and, more specifically, the mining landscape of Turón.
The Nalón basin offers three ways to discover Asturias's mining culture and its urban, social and economic importance. The first is by visiting the Mining and Industry Museum in El Entrego and exploring all of its exhibition space. The second is by following this sign: "Come and discover a valley, village and mine". This is what the Samuño Valley Mining Ecomuseum proposes to the traveller. Here you can enjoy a two-kilometre journey in train following the route along which coal extracted from the mines was transported, visit the entrance to the old San Luis Pit and explore the surroundings of the town La Nueva. The third alternative, much more intense, is to enter the darkness of the mine, the place where the real solidarity among the miners was formed. The company Hunosa offers guided visits of the Sotón Pit. Here you will descend down 556 metres in the old pit cage and explore the eighth, ninth and tenth floor.
These buildings and industrial structures dot the horizon of Asturias. Taking a trip along the motorways of the Principality you will see the outlines of the scaffolds that lowered the cages down into the pits, the unique architecture of the mining neighbourhoods, factories, old gas tanks and lofty chimneys. Be surprised by the business centre of Valnalón, the mining town of Bustiello or the scaffolds and pitheads of Mosquitera, Candín or San Fernando. Hidden inside the Salime Hydroelectric Power Station, the largest dam in Asturias, are wall paintings and low relief sculptures by architects and artists, as well as father and son Joaquín Vaquero Palacios and Joaquín Vaquero Turcios.
The motorways also pass by examples of the flourishing food-processing industry or other traditional arts.
Salime Hydroelectric Dam (Grandas de Salime).
Old coal loading dock (Muros de Nalón).
El Gaitero cider factory combines its activities with guided visits of their permanent collection and brewery, ending with a cider tasting session. A lot of other cider-press houses also offer similar activities. The canning industry led to almost a hundred of factories being opened, which provided a traditional source of employment for women. The Permanent Exhibition of the Canning Industry in Candás is located in the old cistern of the Bernardo Alfageme Cannery and Cider Factory.It contains a whole set of equipment that helps you understand the industrial activities and the working conditions of the workers and communities that were formed around about it.
The Mining and Industry Museum (MUMI) in El Entrego explores the historical memory of coal mining and has a mock mine. The Steelworks Museum of Asturias (MUSI) housed in a cooling tower of an old Duro Felguera Plant, in Langreo. The mining complex of Arnáu has one peculiarity that distinguishes it from the rest: some of its galleries run below the sea. Gijón's former railway station, Estación del Norte, now houses the Railway Museum of Asturias (MFA), which tells the history of the railway that became the backbone of life in the industrial revolution.