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Spain, Ponferrada
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"Ponferrada" (from the Latin "Pons Ferrata", Iron Bridge) is a town and municipality in region of El Bierzo (being its capital), province of León, Castile and León, Spain. It lies on the Sil River, a tributary of the river Miño.

In 2008, it had a population of 69,769.

"Las Médulas" ancient Roman gold mines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Facade of the Templar Castle, built in the XII century.
The region was an important mining area during the Roman period, when many different metals and minerals were extracted after the area had been conquered by the emperor Augustus in the twenty years BC. There are numerous Roman mines in the area, one of the most spectacular being at Las Medulas.

During the second half of the 20th century the economy of the town was based on coal mining, but in the 1980s many mines were closed and the economy is now based mainly on tourism, agriculture (fruit and wine), wind power generation and slate mining.

After the disapparance of the mining industry during the 1990s Ponferrada was for a while in crisis, but it then underwent a major development with the establishment of several industrial and services firms, the opening of a local branch of the University of León offering several undergraduate degrees and in general a radical improvement of the town"s infrastructure. This has been accompanied by a mild but constant increase of the population.

Important factors contributing to the recent boom of the tourism industry are the increasing popularity of the Way of St. James (; a pilgrimage route that goes from France to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia), the designation in 1997 of the nearby ancient Roman gold mines of "Las Médulas" as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the development of rural tourism lodging and wineries in the area.

The modern name derives from the iron reinforcements added to the ancient bridge over the river Sil (Latin "pons" for bridge and "ferrata" for iron).

Ponferrada has also several attractive medieval churches and municipal buildings, invariably topped with the typical local blue slate.

Templar Castle
Main entrance of the Templar Castle.
The city is noted for the "Castillo de los Templarios", a Templar castle which covers approximately 16,000 square meters. In 1178, Fernando II of León donated the city to the Templar order for protecting the pilgrims on the Way of St. James who passed through El Bierzo in their road to Santiago de Compostela.

The Castle hosted the Knights Templar"s Grand Master of Castille. However, the Templars were only able to enjoy the use of their fortress for about twenty years before the order was disbanded and its properties confiscated in 1311. Several noble houses fought over the assets until Alfonso XI alloted them to the Count of Lemos in 1340. Finally the Catholic Monarchs incorporated Ponferrada and its castle into the Crown in 1486. As with many other historical sites in Europe, many of the blocks that at one point formed the walls of the castle were removed and used in local construction projects. Extensive restoration works are ongoing.

Las Médulas
The Aquilianos mounts with El Morredero peak to the left.
Municipality Square and Building.
Ponferrada lies in El Bierzo valley, completely surrounded by mountains. Just 20 km. away from Ponferrada you can find "El Morredero" peak, which is 2135 m. high and hosts a small ski resort. Just a few kilometres from the city there are many beautiful places (including "Las Médulas" ancient Roman gold mines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site), wineries and typical villages (Molinaseca, San Pedro de Montes, Peñalba, Compludo, etc.) suitable for trekking routes and rural tourism.

Ponferrada hosts its annual festival ("Fiestas de La Encina") during the first week of September with many concerts and activities for adults and especially children, and in July it organises a very popular "Templar Night" in its Templar Castle (participants dress up and recreate town life during the 14th century). The town is also very popular for the lively nightlife, which easily goes on until the sun is high up in the sky. It"s common to start the night in "Las Bodegas" (The Wineries), small bars that serve mainly wine, or in the many bars of the Old Town around "La Calle del Reloj" (Clock Street). After that the night moves to the "Bellas Artes" or "Temple" areas downtown. By four or five in the morning the place to go is "La Gran Manzana" (the Big Apple), which consists of several clubs in the outskirts of Ponferrada. For rock lovers the night ends up nearby at "La Universidad" (The University). "Oxi", a new club in the Puente Boeza area, has been recently inaugurated.

Iglesia de San Andrés
* "Enrique Gil y Carrasco" (1815-1846) - Writer
* "Luis del Olmo" (1937-...) - Journalist


The local football team, SD Ponferradina, has played, for most of its history, in the 2nd Division B and third Division of the Spanish Football League. In the 2006-07 season, for the first time, it played in the 2nd Division, quite an achievement for this medium sized town.


"By car:"
Ponferrada is well connected by highway with all the major Spanish cities and the rest of Europe, and there is a local branch of Avis downtown for car rentals.

"By bus:"
The town is connected by bus to many major Spanish and European cities, though in most instances you need to catch a connecting service, usually in Madrid. The quality "Supra" line between Madrid or La Coruña and Ponferrada is particularly good, with a shorter travel time and superb in-bus service, but also more expensive. (ALSA)

"By train:"
Ponferrada is also connected with the rest of Spain and Europe by train. (Renfe)

"By plane:"
León is the closest airport and connect with the most important Hubs in Spain: Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Majorca, with summer flights to Balearic and Canary Islands.
- 100 km (highway) - 1 hour


External links
*, a protected designation of origin for the local wine.

Category:Way of St. James
Category:Archaeological sites in Spain
Category:Municipalities in El Bierzo
Category:Roman sites in Spain
Category:El Bierzo region
Category:Tourism in Spain
Category:Castles in Castile and León

Dieser Artikel stammt aus der freien Enzyklopädie Wikipedia und kann dort bearbeitet werden. Der Text ist unter der Lizenz Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike verfügbar. Fassung vom 22.01.2019 22:58 von den Wikipedia-Autoren.


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