The Council of Belmonte de Miranda is part of the Camín Real de la Mesa (The Mesa King’s Highway).This route is Pre-Romanic in origin and, up to 19th century, it was one of the busiest routes between Asturias and the central plains of Spain, connecting with the well-known Route of the Silver. You can still find the original Roman Pavements as the route winds its way through hills, meadows and along the Rivers Narcea and Pigueña.
It is well located at the South-centre of Asturias, in the middle of breath-taking mountains, and less than 40 minutes from the city of Oviedo, the airport of Asturias, and the beautiful beaches of Castrillón or the West of Asturias.
Belmonte de Miranda is an area rich in geological resources and was famed for gold extraction even before the Romans Conquered of the Peninsula. Here you can find the Gold Hall where you can learn everything about the precious metal and its impact in the area, and there are several activities related to the gold panning. You can also follow the archaeological Route of Belmonte through the mining exploitations where you can visit the Roman Forge of “El Machucu” which was declared of Cultural Interest and it had been working since the 18th century. The old hydroelectric central of Selviella offers a great reminder of the industrial past of the county. Nowadays it serves as touristic apartments.
Its proximity to the forest and the amazing mountains of Somiedo makes Belmonte de Miranda the “Home of the Wolf”, an interpretation centre where can find out everything about this wonderful and highly timid creature. In the future you can also visit the district of the wolves which is a large enclosed space where you can observe the wolves in their natural habitat, although is not open yet.
In Belmonte de Miranda there are many Routes running through the mountains, valleys and enchanting country towns. One of them is the Route around the Brañas Vaqueiras, which follows the steps of the cattle herds to the high mountain pastures. Another one is the Route of Salmones Arriba, which goes up the course of the river Pigüeña following the way of the salmons to the place where they lay their eggs.
Being in the riverbed of some of the most important fishing rivers in Asturias, Belmonte de Miranda is also a fishing paradise. The Miranda river has some of the most important salmon preserves in the world. Through the county run the rivers Narcea and its tributary the Pigüeña, both very rich in trout and salmon schools.
The Gastronomy of the area is classically Asturian providing very nice seasonal vegetables, stews, Asturian reared beef and nice fish from the rivers or sea and also a nice selection of desserts and cheeses. Belmonte de Miranda is one of the few places where you can still taste “pan de escanda” or spelt wheat bread, and ancient style bread only found in some parts of Asturias and Asia.
If you want to know more about the Camín Real de la Mesa you can read this article written by Paul Richardson for the English newspaper The Guardian: Secrets of Spain on a road less travelled.
If you want more information contact Where is Asturias at firstname.lastname@example.org
Images supplied by Ayto de Belmonte de Miranda, Turismo Asturias: Arnaud Spani and Camilo Alonso.