Since the 11th century and through the centuries, iron ore has been extracted at the Aizpea mining complex. As a result of this activity a special landscape has developed at this location, the landscape of the Iron Mountain. In 1512 the Catholic Kings granted the exploitation rights of the Aizpea mines to the Otalora family of Aretxabaleta. The iron extracted at this time was delivered to the foundries of the Deba Garaia and Urola Garaia valleys.
During the first Carlist war in the 19th century, the mines were controlled by the armies, and war prisoners from Zerain prison undertook the hard work at the mines. Apart from iron, lead was also extracted to make bullets for the war.
In 1892 the exploitation of the mines was transferred from powerful local families to an English company, The Cerain Iron Ore Company Limited. Around 1932 exploitation passed to German hands. The Germans worked the mines until 1941, and then Patricio Echeverria continued with the activity until the mines finally closed in 1951 because of their low profitability.
The Iron Mountain preserves lots of interesting vestiges of the mining activity: underground galleries, quarries, train tracks, sloping lanes, Aizpitta Interpretation Centre, calcination furnaces, workshop, powder magazine,... and guided tours are offered to visit the complex.
|Duration of a guided tour:
|Access for persons with disabilities:
|For details see website
|Infrastructure for children:
Easter, July, August:
Wednesday - Sunday 11am-2pm, 4-7pm
September to June:
Saturday, Sunday, holidays 11am-2pm, 3.30-5.30pm