The mines of Berguedà | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.

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Mina del petroli de Riutort (Wikimedia Commons)

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The mines of Berguedà

A journey to the industrial Catalonia at the beginning of the twentieth century
Barcelona
A visit to Berguedà can be like time travel because the district has a unique past that can transport you to the industrial Catalonia as it was at the beginning of the 20th century. We would suggest a car journey that you can take over the course of two days to visit the Riutort asphalt mine and the Cercs Mines Museum, as well as taking a trip along the Cement Railway.
 
THE RIUTORT ASPHALT MINE

You could start your tour by visiting the Riutort asphalt mine, which can be reached along the main road that goes from Guardiola de Berguedà to Pobla de Lillet (taking the track there just before the Espelt campsite). This is one of the few underground petroleum mines there are in the world. Two French engineers started work on the perforation of the mine in 1905 but, after 12 years of exploitation, and after digging 350 metres of underground galleries, no more than 500 tons of asphalt had been extracted.
 
CEMENT RAILWAY

Returning again to the main road to Pobla de Lillet, you come to the historic Cement Railway, a line that used to run from the former Asland cement factory in Castellar de n’Hug to Guardiola de Berguedà. Its current route takes approximately 20 minutes and passes through four stations: La Pobla de Lillet, La Pobla Centre, Jardins Artigas (designed at the beginning of the 20th century by Antoni Gaudí) and the Castellar de n'Hug Cement Museum. You could spend the night in one of the hotels or country houses in Guardiola de Berguedà, or Cercs.
 
SANT CORNELI COAL MINES

The following day you could visit the Sant Corneli coal mines in the municipality of Cercs. The Colònia de Sant Corneli, a company town, formed part, together with the neighbouring company towns of Sant Josep La Consolació, of the largest mining centre in Catalonia. The mines were exploited by the Carbones de Berga, S.A. company, which was founded in 1911 and remained active until 1991. Today you can find out more about the history of these mines at the Mines Museum in Cercs, which is devoted entirely to the mining of coal and which is located in the former company town of Sant Corneli. Guided tours inside the mine are also available.

BERGUEDÀ CUISINE

Having finished your visit, drop down into Berga for a good lunch. Some of the region's local specialities are pèsols negres (black peas) and patates emmascarades (a kind of bubble-and-squeak or hash). Bon profit!


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