The hills of the Cerro del Sol that are situated close to the Alhambra and still contain valuable gold veins that were exploited by the Romans, Arabs and French for over 2000 years.
The red earth between the rivers Darro and Genil show the markings made by miners, who extracted the gold of Cerro del Oro (the Hill of Gold). The ruins of the the former "gold fabrics" of the French (1875) are located just next to the church of Cenes de Vega. You can walk for free in this area and you can even enter some tunnels that were used for this gold exploitation.
In order to win the gold they broke the mountain down with the pressure of water. The force of the water stream was produced by the drop of 117 m between the conduction channel and the basis of exploitation. The water with the dragged materials reached a collection pond at the base of the mine where some gutters derived it and finally separated the gold.
This mehod created strange agglomerations of gravel and stone. On the slopes you can still see pipes, tunnels, caves and holes that had the mission of bringing the water to where they wanted to enter into the ground. This activity was executed by the Romans, Arabs, Christians and finally by the French in the nineteenth century.
In the time of the Romans this was one of the most productive gold mines of Spain. The Romans knew exactly that the geological structures of conglomerates from the Sierra Nevada,
contain metals, including iron, copper, silver and gold.
In order to get the water at these higher levels the Romans and French created water channels. The Romans and Arabs used a channel of 10 km that took the water from the river Beas.
The French constructed a water channel of 16 km in order to get the water from the river Aguas Blancas. The remains of this water channel including a aqueduct are still visible in Dudar. The French channel is nowaday still used for providing water to the city of Granada.