Are a series of trails that begin at Almadén and go all the way to the Royal Shipyards of Seville and were at one time, dedicated to the transport of mercury (quicksilver) on ox carts or on horseback.
The trip from the mines of Almadén to the Royal Shipyards was made on ox carts or on horseback, depending on the amount of quicksilver that had to be transported, the weather and the urgency of the delivery. The roads were longer when travelling on ox carts, as they required specific routes that were suitable for the carriages to move through and that had enough nearby pastures to feed the oxen, taking over one month to traverse. Meanwhile, mule trains were able to cross directly through the Sierra Morena mountains, taking only ten days to reach Seville. Despite this, ox carts were the most common means of transport, as they could carry far greater amounts of quicksilver, making them more cost-effective. Each spring, the Caminos del Azogue would become packed with people, animals and carriages, making the most of their return trip by bringing back valuable goods to not only the mines, but also the towns and villages they encountered along the way, therefore becoming a driving force for exchanges and prosperity in this territory.
On the hike along these roads, one can cross vast meadows, that change from green in spring and autumn to brownish in the summer months and it is possible to spot protected animal and plant species in LIC and ZEPA protected areas.
This route, surrounded by unadulterated nature, has little uneven terrain and is therefore ideal to walk in the company of friends or fami.
The spectacular views of la Sierra de Cordoneros and the Virgen del Castillo chapel can be appreciated at all times, in a calm and peaceful environment.
More information can be found in the official Website.
A proposal of the touristic revival of these routes was made by student WENYU LU as part of her Master’s Thesis. [Proposal]