Visit this unique Ecomuseum It is a fun and very enriching experience. for the whole family. Traces of mining activity survive here like in few other places. In the Vbeyond Samuno, in the heart of the Asturian coal basin, coal has been exploited for almost two centuries and in all possible ways: mountain galleries, mining shafts, open-pit mining... All this shaped the environment but also the character and courage of its people. So the mining spirit is breathed everywhere.
How to get to the Samuño Ecomuseum?
It is located in ciaño, in the council of Langreo. But more than a typical museum, it is actually an itinerary open to a large environmental and heritage complex. About two hours is what we will use to visit it. We first access the interior of a coal mine thanks to a mining train, and we reached the base of the farm located more than thirty meters below the surface. Then we went up outside in an underground elevator. Upstairs we calmly tour the facilities of the Well San Luis and the town of La Nueva, one of the best examples of heritage linked to Asturian mining.
If we are in Oviedo take the Boulevard de San Julián de los Prados; A-64 towards Santander; take exit 26 to merge onto AS-17 towards Langreo; At the roundabout, take the third exit AS-117 towards Valnalón/La Moral/Otros Poligonos/Valle de Samuño Mining Ecomuseum/La Felguera/Puerto de Tarna, merge onto AS-117 and take the exit towards Ciañu.
the reception center
The old one El Cadaviu station (building that housed the locomotives and transport facilities of the old mining complex), is the starting and ending point of our route. Old photographs, equipment and mining tools are exhibited here; an audiovisual and explanatory panels of the route and its most relevant parts. With our tickets in hand we take our seat in the corresponding car.
the mining train
the journey of 2 kilometers, about 20 minutes, It ascends through the narrow valley of the Samuño river, following the reverse route to the one carried out in the past by the wagons. that, loaded with coal, came down from the well. This rail road was recovered in 2013 for cultural visits and now an audio guide helps us to identify what we come across along the way: species of trees, the mouth of The Trechora, or the Well Samuno, which produced 168.000 tons of coal per year. After 900 meters of surface travel, we leave the natural light and the mine absorbs us. We enter the Emilia sinkhole, an old mining cross section of almost a kilometer in length, between coal dumps camouflaged by vegetation and the remains of loaders, washers and hoppers. It is the largest section of mine that can be visited in Spain by underground railway. A section that ends at the first floor of the Pozo San Luis, at a depth of 32 meters. This is where we get off, checking first-hand the extreme humidity conditions inside the gallery. They are waiting for us the guides who will accompany us from this moment on and who demonstrate an exhaustive knowledge of mining exploitation, of the risks and working conditions, and of all its sociological and economic implications.
With a elevator that evokes the old mining cages we climb up the cane of the well to the surface of the mining complex.
The San Luis Well
It is one of the jewels of Industrial Heritage on a national scale and a unique experience within European industrial tourism. Not in vain, the idea of the ecomuseum was mainly inspired by the old Pozo and the mining town of La Nueva that developed in its surroundings, with different types of workers' housing, barracks, school... this brings us very close to the origins of industrialization in Spain, and due to its uniqueness and degree of conservation, the entire complex was declared A Cultural in 2013.
The riveted steel tower stands in front of the impressive House of machines (modernist style) that preserves intact the extraction machinery and the pulleys that allowed the ascent and descent of the miners inside the exploitation. Other mining facilities that we can also visit are the offices, the plumbing, the medicine cabinet, the forge, the carpentry or the workshop, where the Ecomuseum has a locomotive exhibition: an Ensidesa steelworks, the famous "Guillermo Sala" locomotive and two other electric ones. The toilet house It is one of the most striking places in the well, since the distribution of the dependencies tells us about the hierarchy of those who worked here. Specific spaces were designed for sworn guards, security guards or foremen, with differentiated accesses and clearly separated from the rest of the workers. All these rooms and the pieces they house immerse the visitor in the history of a mine that was in operation until 1969.
If we so decide, after the visit we can stay to eat in the village or in nearby recreational areas. Without haste the excursion is more pleasant. And if the weather allows it, it is possible to go down to the visitor reception center by walking along an easy path, paved and about 2 kilometers long, known as the Coal Path.
Samuño Ecomuseum schedules and prices
The visit lasts at least 2 hours, but it can be longer depending on the curiosity of the visitor.
The reception center has parking lots with spaces for cars, buses and motorhomes. The facilities are adapted to be enjoyed by people with reduced mobility.
A light raincoat and suitable footwear they are advisable even in summer, since inside the mine there is a lot of humidity and some filtration.
You can walk the way down (about 20 min) or by train as the climb.
You can check the schedules and rates of the Ecomuseum on its official website: ecomuseumominero.es
tno. 984 082 215
Photo source: Samuño Valley Ecomuseum.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com