Rosia Montana is a municipality made up of 16 villages along the River Rosia in an area known as the Golden Quadrilateral where gold, silver and copper have been extracted since Roman times. It became famous in the early twenty-first century because the Canadian company Gabriel Resources proposed to develop Europe’s largest open-cast gold mine, which would have involved the demolition of many homes. The proposal was eventually rejected by the Romanian government in 2014 and the following year the area was classified as an historic site of national importance, which should protect it from further developments.
The mining museum provides access through adits to Roman workings, and its collection includes a Roman water wheel from the Orlea Masif. Visitors have access to 150 m of galleries worked at many different historical periods. Above ground there is an eighteenth-century gunpowder magazine, together with two stamping mills, a ‘Californian’ stamping machine made in England by Fraser & Chambers, and an electric haulage machine of 1910 recovered from underground. There are remnants in the landscape of water-power systems and narrow gauge railways used for the transport of ore. In all some 50 monuments of historical significance have been identified in the town. The ethnic diversity of past mining communities is illustrated by the presence of German and Hungarian schools, and places of worship for a variety of religious denominations. The outstanding items in the museum collection are wax tablets from Roman times, one of them dating from 131 ad.