Breaking the rules.
Mining and the iron industry were the foundation of the city of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo from the beginning of the 1900s. During our visit to the city, we could not resist sneaking into the ruins of the giant iron and coal plant. There was something majestic about the tall chimneys and one could almost feel the bustle that had once been.
Memories from a heyday.
The mining industry in the city back then, was one of the biggest in Spain and it was founded by the French. They created the company SMMP (Sociedad Minera y Metalurgica de Peñarroya), built the large factory and a lot of French-style houses. The mines and factory operated at the highest technological level of the time, and the city even got its own railroad. To this day, the market, school and hospital that the French built are still in use, but the factory itself is more or less in ruins.
An almost abandoned town.
In the late 1950s, the French withdrew from the mining industry. This was done in accordance to the Spanish “stabilization plan”, which was intended to liberalize the Spanish market. A plan that would make sure it was the Spanish themselves, who made money on Spain. In general the plan also worked, but it resulted in this factory being closed and the small town was almost abandoned. The 24.000 inhabitants there were quickly reduced, and today the village only has about 2000 inhabitants. However, the factory still stands as a monument of a heyday.
Insignificant human beings.
When nature takes over, you suddenly feel very insignificant as a human being. Where there was man-made life before, plants, trees and wildlife now reign. Windows are long gone, grass is growing where there used to be floors, and bushes are so big that they have thick stems. Although you can still see wood-burning stoves, factory halls, wells and roads between all the green, you know that it is only a matter of time, before all this is also swallowed up by nature. It is incredibly beautiful, in a very powerful way and the old factory will definitely not be the last abandoned ruin we will visit. As human beings, we are sometimes reminded, that we are not the greatest species on the planet. That’s a healthy reminder.
– Text and photos: Eva. Adding, captures, photos and photo editing: Malthe