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The “El Dorado” of Gerês

2020/05/09

It is a surreal place that reminds us of post-war deserted cities. Ruined buildings and abandoned mines surrounded by a ghostly silence.
Inserted in the Serra do Gerês, in the Peneda Gerês National Park, in the Minas de Carris, at 1440 meters of altitude, it is possible to review the history of the most important exploration of tungsten in Portugal.
In 1943, in the middle of World War II, this ore was of strategic importance, given its use in the manufacture of war material. Tons of tungsten is exported to Germany, initially legally and later smuggled in wine barrels.
The region, in the 1940s, became an “El Dorado” completely altering the habits of the inhabitants of a rough and hard region, as was the life of the people who for years struggled to get the scarce sustenance out of the land and who, from the day for the night, he discovered wealth at the height of a wealthy heyday, and then plunged into the most vile misery.
Historical records refer to wolfram prices in the order of 300 escudos for each kilo, which led to the abandonment of lands and herds, wages for months lost in the game and widespread and abusive use of firearms.
As it becomes a protected area, your visit always requires special care for the fragile surrounding environment. Access is via a pedestrian trail, whose starting point is located next to Portela do Homem.







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