East Alentejo: Mértola, Mina de São Domingo

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30.01.2015 : Loulé - Mértola - Mina de São Domingo (150 km) rainy, windy 12ºC

Drive to the gas station Saras in Spain at Ayamonte. Lunch at “Los Mejillos” in the restaurant next to the gas station (pretty good!). Drive to Mértola and sightseeing: Roman house (awesome). Turist office very helpful and nice. Drive to Mina de São Domingo, a former mining town. Overnight on the parking of the Praia Fluvial at the reservoir. 

31.01.2015 : Mina de São Domingo. Stormy, rain, some sunshine, 13ºC

We took our bike and rode along the former railway tracks on the PR10 to visit the old mines’ installations (ruins) up to Santana de Cambas. The São Domingos Mine is a deserted open-pit mine. This site is one of the volcanogenic massive sulfide ore in the Iberian Pyrite Belt which extends from the southern Portugal into Spain. Back via Monte Sapo where we were caught in heavy rain and wind. In Mina de São Domingo we did some grocery shopping at the local Minimercado. Overnight at the reservoir parking.

01.02.2015 : Mina de São Domingo - Pomerão - Pulo do Lobo - Mértola (110 km), sunshine 15ºC

Drive to Pomerão which was the harbour where the ore was formerly loaden on boats on the Guadiana River. A new bridge goes over to Spain. Drive to Pulo do Lobo. Volker walked the PR9 (1,5 hours 5,6km) while Julia relaxed in the camper. Before driving back to Mértola we visited the dolmen which is very close to the road. Overnight behind the school/the elderly home/sports ground N37º38.697’ W7º39.233’.

02.02.2015 :  Mértola - Loulé (146 km)

Walk “Dois Irmãos” (= two brothers) along the Guadiana River up to the ghost town “Bombeira Nova” (2,5 hours 10,5 km, not very spectacular after the first 5 km). Lunch at the restaurant TAMUJE (very good baked mountain cheese and carne de porco pingo c/ miga). Drive home

The Romans already mined in the São Domingos area for gold and silver for about 400 years. In 1859 the mining concession was leased for 50 years to an English mining company, Mason and Barry, because of their industrial mining expertise. The nearby port of Pomarão was inaugurated the same year. Known as Pomaron in England, this inland port was specially constructed on the River Guadiana, which here forms the border with Spain, to serve the mine. In 1862 an 11-mile (18 km) railway, of three foot-six inch gauge, was opened connecting the mine to Pomarão. From Pomarão ore was exported, mostly to England, by ship.


Pulo do Lobo

Dolmen “Anta das Pias”

Barragem da Tapada Grande in Mina de São Domingo

Mina de São Domingo