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Roșia Montană
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Roșia Montană

Short Description

Roșia Montană is a historical gold and silver mining landscape set in the mild alpine region of the Apuseni Mountains, the western range of Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. The long mining history of the place, stretching over more than three millennia, was greatly transformed by the communist nationalization in 1948 and he ensuing state run industrial mining operations, and has reached a dead end recently, with the closing of the state mine as unprofitable in 2006. Concurrently a new mining project appeared, put up by a joint Canadian and Romanian company and constantly supported by the state. The new large-scale open-cast mining project would consist of massive quarries, waste heaps, roads, dams and ponds, and a vast deposit of cyanide-leaching residue covering one of the valleys of the site and a historic village. The community of Roșia Montană and its surroundings, supported by people and organisations from outside, have been opposing this new mining project for more than 15 years, and have been actively involved in developing a sustainable strategy for their area, to rely on the wise use of the outstanding resources of cultural and natural heritage that they are entrusted with. Their fight is now recognised throughout Europe, as a model for citizens’ involvement in defence of their rights and of their heritage.  

What is special

The landscape of Roşia Montană and its surrounding villages has been gradually transformed by gold and silver mining practiced here as early as the Bronze Age and by the corresponding inhabitation of the area, with major developments in Roman, Medieval and late Modern times. Its Prehistoric surface mining works, the extensive system of deep underground mines started by the Romans in the 2nd Century AD and extended further until recently in the 1970’s, the corresponding surface features, such as barren mountain faces, small waste heaps, paths and roads, header ponds, water channels, stamping areas, later ancillary industry and the mining town in-between, the surrounding natural areas of high ecological value – all together these substantial features testify for the development of mining in this area over more than three millennia, reflecting a long-lasting positive interaction between man and environment which generated one of the most representative mining landscapes of Europe. The area belongs to a much wider mountain historic landscape characteristic for family farming – cattle raising, small scale mountain agriculture – and forestry, along with certain specialised trades, notably woodworking – particularly wood tub and wood ware making – and indeed gold mining, in several centres within the so-called Auriferous Quadrilateral of the Apuseni Mountains. The present economy of the region is based on small-scale family farming and forestry, a few recent sustainable industrial forestry and woodworking (furniture) businesses, and tourism concentrated in few centres and areas.

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