Arriving in Daroca from the north, just before entering the old town, on your left you will see a mysterious tunnel. It’s called La Mina (the Mine). But don’t let the name fool you. It wasn’t built for mining or exploratory purposes.
It dates back almost five centuries, to 1560. The town’s main street, Calle Mayor de Daroca, follows along the bottom of a ravine. During heavy rains, torrential floods of water flowed through Daroca, causing serious damage along the way.
In order to protect the village during rainy seasons, this tunnel was built to direct water through the tunnel instead of the village streets. The French architect Pierres Bedel was hired to lead the project. Starting in 1555, teams start excavating at either end of the rock where the tunnel would be. It took five years of digging through the rock, but the teams finally met in the middle on September 7, 1560. A 300-meter-long wall was built to direct water towards the tunnel and protect the city wall.
Although the tunnel is only 600 meters long, one might feel a little uncomfortable while passing through it. Nevertheless, the views of the Aragonese red rocks and the ravine they form on the other side of La Mina are absolutely mesmerizing and worth the claustrophobic hike.
If you continue walking along the ravine you will end up on the other side of Daroca and can come back to the village. Occasionally, bats have been seen in the tunnel.
Know Before You Go
It is dangerous to visit La Mina (the Mine) during rainy seasons.
There is no natural light in the tunnel, a flashlight is recommended (the one on a smartphone is enough).