Ponferrada

Ponferrada

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Ponferrada

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Description:
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Ponferrada (, from the Latin Pons Ferrata, Iron Bridge) is a city in the province of León, Castile and León, Spain. It lies on the Sil River, a tributary of the river Miño, in the El Bierzo valley, completely surrounded by mountains. It is the last major town along the French route of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) before it reaches its destination of Santiago de Compostela. In 2008, it had a population of 69,769.

History and Economy

In pre-Roman times the region was populated by the Astures, a Hispano-Celtic Gallaecian people. They were conquered by Emperor Augustus in the Astur-Cantabrian Wars (29-19 BC) and the area quickly became the largest mining center of the Empire during the Roman period, where gold and other metals and minerals were extracted. Numerous Roman mining sites are still visible in the area, one of the most spectacular being Las Médulas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Romans also imported grapevines, and wine production thrived in the region until the propagation of Phylloxera at the end of the 19th century, which destroyed the majority of the vineyards.

The modern name of the city derives from the iron reinforcements added to the ancient bridge over the river Sil (Latin pons for...
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