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El barrio de las Minas. Libros

How to get there: Once past the municipality of Libros, continue towards Riodeva and between kilometre 4 and 5, there is a turn-off to the left of the road, at the end of which you will see the hermitage.

Mining activity began in the district of Las Minas de Libros in 1777. In 1906, the company La Industrial Química de Zaragoza continued to extract sulphur until the mines were closed in 1956.

At first, the dwellings of the workers and their families were caves that had been dug out of the mountain; each one had its door painted in a different colour, which attracted the attention of anyone who approached the place.

Subsequently, the first neighbourhood was created, which consisted of two-storey houses with independent dwellings. Little by little the neighbourhood grew and another neighbourhood was built, and then what was known as the Chinese quarter.

The neighbourhood of the Libros mines was home to more than 1,000 miners who lived with their families, which increased the population to almost 2,000 people.

The area had a large number of services, such as the Hospital, the Comandancia, the schools, the trade union house, the commissary, the bakery, the butcher’s shop, the bars, the inn and a series of resources that made people from outside the area think that they had arrived in the capital.

After the death of the engineer who organised the workings of the mines and with the decline in the use of sulphur, they were closed down. However, some of the workers were reluctant to see it all end and tried to restart the mines, but were unsuccessful.

The company that owned the mines, when they closed, sold the wood, mainly the beams of the houses in the neighbourhood, so they demolished all the infrastructures that existed, later they were looted to take the stones that built the houses and all the belongings that could have the minimum value, however, the miners who had to leave their homes, also took some souvenir of what was their life during those years, something symbolic as a stone of what was their house.

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