La Mina de Daroca


Useful Information

Location: Daroca.
From Zaragoza motorway Autovia Mudejar south 60km, exit 210 San Martin del Rio, A-1506 to Daroca, at roundabout left N-234 to Daroca. Where the road to the city center branches off on the right, on the opposite side of the road.
(41.113600, -1.409400)
Open: no restrictions.
[2021]
Fee: free.
[2021]
Classification: SubterraneaWater Supply
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=600 m, W=6 m, H=7-8 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Oficina de Turismo (Tourist Office), Calle Mayor, 44, Daroca, Tel: 976 800 129. E-mail: E-mail:
Ayuntamiento de Daroca, Plaza de España, 6, 50360 Daroca, Zaragoza, Tel: +34-976-80-03-12, Fax: +34-976-80-03-62. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1555 works started on both sides of the hill.
07-SEP-1560 the two digging brigades met.
1585 King Felipe II of Spain visited Daroca and "pass the Mine" with his entire court and with several torches to light the way.

Description

La Mina de Daroca (Mine of Daroca) is despite the name not a mine. This tunnel was built in the Renaissance, to protect the village of Daroca from flash floods during rainy seasons. So it was actually one of the most important public works of the 16th century in Europe. Aqueducts were built during Roman times, but actually only for fresh water. After the collapse of the Roman Empire the construction of such tunnels became rare, there was simply no institution with the funds or the intention to finance such an expensive tunnel.

The town of Daroca was flooded after heavy rains by the rising river. Torrential water frequently ran through the center of the city, following the Calle Mayor. The doors of the Lower Gate, one of the two main gates in Daroca, were frequently washed away by the floodwaters. The council had to send men to collect the doors more than a kilometer from the city. The valley was narrow at this place and there was no alternative to a tunnel. This tunnel was built to cut through the meander spur of the river and avoid the town completely. Since its completion until today the water flows around the town which was never again flooded.

In the 1550s the Darocense council decided to initiate a great work of engineering by constructing this tunnel. The French architect Pierres Bedel was well known in Aragon, he also built the aqueduct called "Los Arcos" in Teruel. He was commissioned to direct the works. In 1555 the works began on both sides of the San Jorge hill at the same time. This method reduces the construction time, almost cutting the time in half. But it requires an exact 3D survey, otherwise the two ends will never meet. After five years of work, on September 7, 1560, the two ends met. Then he constructed a massive, 300 m long wall, which is called the barbican.

The tunnel worked so well, it became a true pride of the city and became one of the best known monuments in Daroca. It also serves until today as a through route for cattle. During the Civil War, the supply of goods was made through the tunnel. It is big enough to be crossed by truck convoys.

The great success of the tunnel and its uniqueness made it a truly mythical symbol for the people of Daroca. So it soon became the topic of various local legends. And “passing the mine” became a sort of ritual. Even the kings of Spain used to "pass the Mine" when they came to visit Daroca.

At the turnoff of the main road through the city center, is a building of the Proteccion Civil Campo De Daroca. Lately a pavilion was built with benches and an explanatory sign. It is possible to cross the tunnel, with a length of 600 m its a 20-minute walk to the other side and back. However, you should absolutely check the weather forecast before you do so, because it becomes extremely dangerous when the water rises. If you mention flowing water on the ground, run!