The word had already spread throughout the region and the rest of the province. Something was about to happen on the outskirts of Ayoluengo. A group of CAMPSA workers and various North American companies were exploring a few kilometers from the town of Burgos.
On June 6, 1964, that was full of people. Workers, neighbors, curious; people with cameras and some, rudimentary, film. Nobody knew very well when it would happen, but nobody wanted to miss it. Until the machines reached a depth of 1,348 meters and a jet of “almost 50 meters” rose above the ground showering everyone nearby with… black gold!
Oil had just been found in Spain for the first time. It is not the only treasure that can be found there: a fantastic getaway for lovers of nature, science and technology.
A lost corner… in empty Spain
The Ayoluengo field was the only oil field in Spain for nine years, before the oil crisis encouraged the creation of platforms in the Mediterranean. It was never especially productive, but it put one of the most forgotten regions of deep Spain back on the map. That natural, prehistoric and heritage wonder called the region of Las Loras.
Las Loras Geopark
Distributed between the provinces of Palencia and Burgos, Las Loras is one of the spectacular 15 geoparks in Spain. Geoparks are places of special geological interest recognized by Unesco. And, taking into account that in Las Loras there are las gorges of the Ebro riverthose of the river Rudrón or Las Tuerces; Cueva de los Franceses or the Mirador de Valcabado, it is not strange that it has been recognized as such.
And oil, of course. It will be 50 years since the discovery of the Ayoluengo well, but the oil history of the Burgos páramo is much older. It goes back, at least, to 1900 and to the first explorations in Huidobro, an area where the presence of asphalt sands had already set off alarms.
The ‘Oil Museum’ in Sargentes de Lora is a fantastic (and surprisingly close) place to find out the details of this story and get closer to “everything related to oil, its geology, industry and derivativesAlso, very close to there, ‘El Oro Negro’ is probably the only inn in the world where you can enjoy the famous cocido loriego.
And it will be necessary to regain strength, because the region not only has fantastic landscapes and a fascinating piece of Spanish energy history, it is also “the place in Europe with the highest concentration of Romanesque churches” and, as if that were not enough, it has one of the most interesting megalithic on the peninsula. If you go in summer, it is possible to meet the archaeological teams that are still working in the area today.
And, of course, in the Las Loras geopark there is also a place for culture. Ayoluengo itself historically belonged to the Sedano Valley, a corner known for its links with Miguel Delibes. There are novels like ‘El disputado voto del Sr. Cayo’ in which the writer from Valladolid makes an almost ethnological review of What was life like in the region during the Transition?.
Often, when we plan a trip to Spain and look for places related to science and technology, we tend to go to the big cities. It makes sense: the country is full of fantastic museums and facilities. But There is much more. The Loras are the best example.
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Image | Zarateman