Las Médulas is a place of profound beauty with a surprising past. Source: Flickr
The Romans marched into Iberia in the second century BCE. The ruins of their architectural achievements are still scattered around the country, in Segovia, Mérida, Tarragona, Zaragoza, and many other places.
Las Médulas also bears a quiet testimony to the power of the empire. The mining site is located in the northwest of Spain, near where the region of Castilla y León meets the border of Galicia. The landscape here rises and falls in low, green mountains with slashes of orange cutting across them. These orange slashes are the scars of the Roman mining operations.
Las Médulas is where the Romans searched for gold. And they found it by tearing through the mountains of this verdant corner of Spain. According to ancient estimates, the Romans removed around 20,000 libra of gold from Spain each year, which converts to about 6,600 kilograms or 14,500 pounds. At current prices, this amount of gold is worth more than $27 million.