cabecera22 cabecera22 cabecera22 cabecera22 cabeceraingles cabeceraingles .::: MUSEO DE LA SIDERURGIA Y LA MINERÍA DE CASTILLA Y LEÓN ::. SABERO .:: .::: MUSEO DE LA SIDERURGIA Y LA MINERÍA DE CASTILLA Y LEÓN ::. SABERO .::

The Forge of Saint Blas was made into a museum by the Board of Castilla and Leon in order to pay homage to a group of men and women, who had made possible the establishment of Spain's first steel industry in 1846. Characters like Miguel Iglesias Botias, Santiago Alonso Cordero and Casiano de Prado y Valle believed that it was possible to bring the technical advances and infrastructures that were being developed at the time in countries like Belgium and France, to Spain.

 

A result of this effort was the construction of a complex steel industry with coal blast furnaces, which was an event of great importance at that time due to the use of the latest technology, in particular, due to the neo-gothic architecture of the steel rolling warehouse.

 

The situation in Spain at the time did not appear to promise a good ending for the project: The reign of Isabel II was an era troubled with conspiracies, changes of government, military uprisings, street fighting and, last but not least, the wars in Africa and the Pacific depleted the public funds. An economy based in the primary sector and with little presence of active and entrepreneurial bourgeoisie, the lack of internal demand and of Spanish capital for this kind of industry, along with the lack of rail infrastructure which raised the production costs, forced the closure of the Forge of Saint Blas in 1866.

 

Since then and until 1991, the economy of the valley was based on mining, this activity and its memory is collected in the museum, along with the uses and customs of the people of the valley, who have known how to maintain a fruitful and continuous dialog with their natural environment throughout time.

 

The rehabilitation of the Forge of Saint Blas and its conversion into the Museum of Mining and Metallurgy of Castile and Leon, is one more step towards the objective of the Board of Castile and Leon to configure a network of museum centres which give value to our heritage and offer a vital, innovative and modern vision of our culture.

 

María Josefa García Cirac

Counselor Culture and Tourism