Two of the snow pits in the Sierra Espuņa Regional Park will once again show their past splendor with their restoration


The Autonomous Community has started the procedure for the award of the restoration works of the Sierra Espuņa snow wells identified as 11 and 13, in accordance with the provisions of the Master Plan for these old refrigerators, designed last year, for an amount of just over 375,000 euros, which has funding from the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.The intervention that is addressed corresponds to the third axis of the Master Plan, which contemplates the use of traditional construction techniques; interventions against the risk of falls, which guarantee the safety of both visitors and animals in the environment; actions to consolidate masonry or underlay walls; and integral restoration works, following original techniques, so that it is possible to show more accurately how they could be originally.The criteria of singularity, representativeness, accessibility, existence of documentation or affection to the surroundings are those that have led to prioritize the rehabilitation of wells 11 and 13.The Sierra Espuņa snow wells and their surroundings make up a heritage site of great relevance due to its historical, scenic and ethnographic interest.

It is probably the largest set of wells in the entire Mediterranean context, which gives us an idea of ??the intense economic activity that took place in this region between the 16th and 19th centuries.

The Master Plan is the management tool that will guarantee the conservation and enhancement of these old ice factories and the cultural landscape that they make up.The heritage complex is made up of a set of 28 wells, along with 12 annexed buildings (hermitage and houses), two water sources, two roads of the natural trails network (PR-MU-57 and PR-MU-63) and a livestock track (with a drinking trough and cattle trough).

Added to this is a natural environment of great environmental value.The oldest information on the construction of the first wells is dated to the end of the 16th century, and it is known that some of them were exploited until the beginning of the 20th century.

The most important cities in the territory, such as Murcia and Cartagena, were the pioneers in carrying out these constructions; later others such as Lorca, Mula or Orihuela were added.

In the surroundings of the wells there was a delimited space for the supply of snow, as well as for the collection of firewood and other plant elements necessary for the production of ice.The most activity of the wells occurred in winter, since it was the time when the snow collection work was carried out, and in summer the work of extraction and distribution of ice to the different cities was undertaken.

In the 19th century, the decline of the work in the wells began, mainly due to the beginning of the production of artificial ice, although it was not until 1924 when the cessation of all activity in the Sierra Espuņa peaks was actually certified.Wells are cylindrical elements located on the ground.

From the outside, only the drum and the dome-shaped cover can be seen, leaving the refrigerator, the place for storing ice, immersed in the ground.

Most of the snow pits are found above 1,350 meters of altitude and on shady slopes, and the majority in the municipality of Totana.The two wells to be rehabilitated are in the set of those used by Murcia for its supply.

Separated by Collado Mangueta, in the shadows of the Morrones de Totana and Alhama de Murcia, are located the two large sets of snow wells: those called Cartagena (ten) and those of Murcia (nine), the first with the dome rounded and the seconds with a more pointed finish.

In two intermediate areas between the two there are another six, and three more in isolated points: La Carrasca, Valle de Leyva and Barranco de la Hoz.

Two of the snow pits in the Sierra Espuņa Regional Park will once again show their past splendor with their restoration, Foto 1

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