The mines of Mazarrón are a magical place. Full of urban exploration opportunities and an incredible array of colour to satisfy any photographer, it’s a place which is easy to get to but you must remember this – you visit at your own risk. There are hidden mine shafts underground and they have not been mapped, but there are plenty of well worn paths which hopefully mitigate the danger. Now that the safety “at your own risk” caveat is out of the way, let’s have some fun!
A Brief History of Mining in Mazarrón
Located just outside of the town of Mazarrón, Murcia, the mines have been around since Roman times at least. Iron, lead, copper and alum were all extracted making the area very wealthy indeed all those years ago. The industry was developed by successive cultures reaching a peak in the 1840s when mining fever was at its height. Mining continued until the 1950s and luckily for us, the area was left to ruin rather than being demolished.
Put on your Walking Shoes
Heading out of Mazarrón on Avenida de la Constitución, look out for a clearing on the left just after you leave the urban area behind. We parked by a small sign which gave some information about the mines once upon a time. Sadly time and graffiti artists have taken their toll and it is now difficult to read. It basically tells you that the Romans were here and various tools have left marks which can be seen on the landscape. From there it’s an easy walk up the track, known as El Portichuelo which bisects the mines of San Cristóbal on the left and Los Perules on the right.
The ruined mining settlement of San Cristóbal can be reached by a set of crumbling steps on the left. There are lots of buildings to explore and a magnificent pit head. It’s not difficult to imagine it as a bustling community of mine workers. Once you’ve had your fill of ghosts from the past, find your way back down to the path and over the other side into a surreal world of intense colours.
Climbing the track through Los Perules is like stepping into a psychedelic alien landscape. It’s an easy climb but you will be glad you wore comfortable shoes and left your flip-flops behind. If you are lucky your visit will have been preceded by some rain. This intensifies the colours and creates some amazing rainbow pools on the ground. If there has been no rain, you won’t get the added bonus of buildings reflected in blood red lakes, but it will still be a spectacular sight. Climb ever upwards to find the pit heads and get the most incredible views. it is possible to make it a circular walk as there is a track down the steep multicoloured escarpment which the biggest of the buildings overlooks.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes. Also remember to take a camera, sunscreen and insect repellent! Most importantly, remember that you are exploring an old mining area AT YOUR OWN RISK!! Enjoy!!! If Geocaching is your thing, you might find some treats there too.
If Spain’s industrial heritage is something you’d like to explore more of, you would probably enjoy a trip to Puerto Sagunto near Valencia.