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Las Médulas: Splitting Mountains In Search Of Spanish Gold

Las Medulas Sublime Vista

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.

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Eerie Charcoal Forest Captured by Oskar Zapirain

The world is full of incredible forests, but this foggy beech forest in Northern Spain is one of the most striking of them all.

Oskar Zapirain’s photos take us right to Oirtzun, Basque Country. In the sixteenth century, an abundance of both iron ore and forests fit for charcoal production presented families who worked the land with a vast economic opportunity. Seeing this charcoal forest as an asset, the people chose not to engage in clear-cutting–or the act of removing all trees from a given space–but pruned the trees instead.

In a process known as coppicing, young trees are cut down to allow a number of new shoots to emerge from the stump. Eventually the coppiced tree is ready to be harvested, after which point the process begins again. While this exact woodland management technique might not have shaped the charcoal forest in Oirtzun, processes like these allow more generations to extract the wood for charcoal.

The result is visible: the stumps stay relatively short, while the limbs reach upward like an outstretched hand. Combined with the region’s heavy fog, the scene becomes incredibly eerie and mysterious. According to This is Colossal, Oskar Zapirain has been photographing this Spanish landscape for years. The photographer continues to be attracted to its “mystical atmosphere” and uniform lighting. Check out more of his work at Flickr, or in the photos below:

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TreeHouse Point: The Treetop Getaway For Grown-Ups

TreeHouse Point Night Lights

Source: 500px

Whether you’re a kid at heart, a kid in actuality or just someone who always wanted to live like an Ewok, you’ll understand the “primordial magic of treehouses.” So says the preface to a 2013 New York Times interview with Pete Nelson, a former house builder who now plies his trade slightly above ground level.

Nelson founded a treehouse design and supply firm in the 1990s before opening his own honest-to-goodness treehouse hotel in 2006. The hotel, TreeHouse Point, features six treehouses spread over four acres of forest in Issaquah, Washington.

Given the hotel’s uniqueness and all-around awesomeness, reservations have become increasingly hard to come by. While you may not be able to book one of TreeHouse Point’s arboreal abodes for this year’s summer vacation, you can at least get a taste of treehouse living and learn its surprising ins and outs in the gallery below:

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