Ponferrada, Province of León, Castile and León, Spain

History | Economy

🇪🇸 Ponferrada is a city of Spain, located in the autonomous community of Castile and León. Ponferrada, the second most populated municipality of the Province of León, is also the capital city of El Bierzo, the only comarca recognised as an administrative entity by law in the region.

Surrounded by mountains, the city straddles the course of the Sil River. It is the last major town on the French route of the Camino de Santiago before it reaches Santiago de Compostela.

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History 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 centre 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 "bridge" and ferrata for "iron"), commissioned in 1082 by Bishop Osmundo of Astorga to facilitate the crossing of the Sil River to pilgrims in their way to Santiago de Compostela.

The railroad arrived in Ponferrada in 1881, and during World War I local tungsten deposits were exploited to supply the arms industry. In 1918 the Ponferrada Mining, Iron and Steel Company (Spanish: Minero Siderúrgica de Ponferrada (MSP)) was founded to exploit coal deposits in the region, and it grew to become Spain's largest coal mining corporation. The Spanish National Energy Corporation (Endesa) was founded in 1944 and in 1949 it opened Spain's first coal-fueled power plant in Ponferrada, Compostilla I. In 1960 the Bárcena Dam (Spanish: Pantano de Bárcena) opened and by the second half of the 20th century the economy of the city was mainly based on mining and electricity generation, both hydroelectric and coal-fueled.

Starting in the late 1980s most mines were closed, and after the collapse of the mining industry Ponferrada was for a while in a crisis. However, in the late 1990s the city underwent a major transformation with the establishment in the city of several industrial and services firms, the reintroduction of commercial wine production, the opening of a local branch of the University of León offering several undergraduate degrees, and in general a radical improvement of the town's infrastructure. The economy is now based mainly on tourism, agriculture (fruit and wine), wind power generation and slate mining, with a mild but constant population increase.

Important factors contributing to the recent boom of the tourism industry are the increasing popularity of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago; a pilgrimage route that goes from France to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia), the designation in 1997 of Las Médulas as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the development of rural tourism lodging and wineries in the area. The Energy City Foundation Spanish: Fundación Ciudad de la Energía was established in Ponferrada in 2006 and is currently overseeing the construction of the National Energy Museum (Museo Nacional de la Energía) in the city, as well as sponsoring several other initiatives that should further boost tourism and the economy of the city and its region.

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Economy The railroad arrived in the region in 1881, and during World War I local tungsten deposits were exploited to supply the arms industry. In 1918 the Ponferrada Mining, Iron and Steel Company (Spanish: Minero Siderúrgica de Ponferrada (MSP)) was founded to exploit coal deposits in the region, and it grew to become Spain's largest coal mining corporation. The Spanish National Energy Corporation (Endesa) was founded in 1944 and in 1949 it opened Spain's first coal-fueled power plant in Ponferrada, Compostilla I. In 1960 the Bárcena Dam (Spanish: Pantano de Bárcena) opened and by the second half of the 20th century the economy of the region was mainly based on mining and electricity generation, both hydroelectric and coal-fueled.

Starting in the late 1980s most mines were closed, and after the collapse of the mining industry the region was for a while in a crisis. However, in the late 1990s the region underwent a major transformation with the establishment of several industrial and services firms, the reintroduction of commercial wine production, the opening of a local branch of the University of León in Ponferrada offering several undergraduate degrees, and in general a radical improvement of the region's infrastructure. The economy is now based mainly on tourism, agriculture (fruit and wine), wind power generation and slate mining.

Important factors contributing to the recent boom of the tourism industry in the region are the increasing popularity of the Way of St. James (Spanish: Camino de Santiago; a pilgrimage route that goes from France to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia), the designation in 1997 of Las Médulas as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the development of rural tourism lodging and wineries in the area. The Energy City Foundation Spanish: Fundación Ciudad de la Energía was established in Ponferrada in 2006 and is currently overseeing the construction of the National Energy Museum (Spanish: Museo Nacional de la Energía) in the city, as well as sponsoring several other initiatives that should further boost tourism and the economy of the region.

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Madrid Time 
Madrid Time
Image: Adobe Stock OscarStock #199193913

Ponferrada has a population of over 63,747 people. Ponferrada also forms the centre of the wider El Bierzo Comarca which has a population of over 134,729 people. It is also a part of the larger León Province.

To set up a UBI Lab for Ponferrada see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns - Sister Cities Ponferrada has links with:

🇲🇽 Pachuca, Mexico
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Ponferrada is: 173.25,-42.667

Locations Near: Ponferrada -6.75,42.6667

🇵🇹 Bragança -6.759,41.807 d: 95.6  

🇪🇸 Lugo -7.569,43.01 d: 76.9  

🇪🇸 La Bañeza -5.9,42.283 d: 81.7  

🇪🇸 Oviedo -5.848,43.363 d: 106.6  

🇪🇸 Ourense -7.866,42.339 d: 98.5  

🇪🇸 León -5.572,42.597 d: 96.7  

🇪🇸 Avilés -5.921,43.559 d: 119.8  

🇪🇸 Gijón -5.7,43.533 d: 128.7  

🇪🇸 Zamora -5.75,41.483 d: 155.3  

🇪🇸 Ferrol -8.217,43.483 d: 149.8  

Antipodal to: Ponferrada 173.25,-42.667

🇳🇿 Christchurch 172.617,-43.517 d: 19907.5  

🇳🇿 Richmond 173.183,-41.333 d: 19866.7  

🇳🇿 Nelson 173.284,-41.269 d: 19859.6  

🇳🇿 Canterbury 171.58,-43.543 d: 19848.1  

🇳🇿 Wellington 174.767,-41.283 d: 19816.6  

🇳🇿 Hutt 174.917,-41.217 d: 19803  

🇳🇿 Lower Hutt 174.917,-41.217 d: 19803  

🇳🇿 Porirua 174.84,-41.131 d: 19799.5  

🇳🇿 Upper Hutt 175.05,-41.133 d: 19788.7  

🇳🇿 Masterton 175.664,-40.95 d: 19738.6  

Bing Map

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