La Unión is located very close to the Mar Menor and Mediterranean Sea beaches. Its culture and landscapes are firmly linked to over 3,000 years of mining activity and flamenco, forming one of the Region of Murcia's destinations with more personality.
I AM A MINER...!
Do you want to live striking experiences? Well, come and see... because there are few places as spectacular as the La Unión Mining Park, a mining complex of 50,000 square metres, where you will discover "in situ" the whole process of the 19th and 20th century mining industry and go through the Agrupa Vicenta Mine tunnels at a depth of over 80 metres and one of the biggest mines open to the public in Europe. An impressive experience are the giant tunnels, the underground lake of reddish waters by the pyrite effect, and the flamenco performances that take place inside. Can you imagine how a concert must sound down here?
FLAMENCO WITH "DUENDE"
La Unión is the fixed residence of the best magical flamenco. The Cante de Las Minas International Flamenco Festival is declared of International Tourist Interest and also considered as one of the most important festivals in the world. Here you will enjoy the most acclaimed artists and candidates' performances who covet the award "Lámpara Minera", in sessions that don't end until early morning. If flamenco is in your blood, welcome, you are in one of its epicentres.
GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN
Due to its imposing and monumental appearance, Nuestra Señora del Rosario Church is considered as "The Cathedral" of Sierra Minera mountain range, and it is declared a Site of Cultural Interest. Inside, you will find the municipality Patron Saint, sculptures of the Holy Week that are declared of Regional Tourist Interest, and one of the most popular sculptures in the town: the Cristo de los Mineros (The Miners' Christ), protagonist in the Holy Thursday Procession.
The Cante de las Minas Museum is located on the ground floor of Casa del Piñón, and is a sensory museum, where you will relive the most outstanding performances of the Cante de Las Minas International Flamenco Festival. There you will have the opportunity to peek into the miner's reality and their hard life circumstances, which enabled the flamenco songs' birth. We assure you that you will get goose bumps. The Mining Museum that is also located in Casa del Piñón is a point of reference in the Spanish mining history. Among the most interesting items, you will find mining tools, scale models, several rooms dedicated to miners and their lifestyles and an excellent mineral collection. Visiting it is one of the best ways to jump into the municipality identity and also, to pay tribute to the brave miners who risked their day-to-day lives going down into the mines.
A JOURNEY TO THE ROOTS
The Ethnographic Museum located in the district of Roche, proposes to give you a fresh twist on your knowledge about the mining world. Utensils on display behind these showcases bring you closer the daily life of the ancient inhabitants of La Unión. Part of the permanent exhibition are: glass relics, weights and measures instruments, esparto grass containers, ceramics, agricultural tools, traditional costumes and ancient lighting systems, such as the "velero", "churro" or the oil lamp. Moreover, next to this room is the Interpretation Centre of La Unión.
GETTING TO KNOW THE PAS
We recommend you to take a break and go to the Archaeological Museum in Portmán, located in the Ancient Charity Hospital, where injured miners of mining accidents were looked after. Items from different historical periods are exhibited here: from the Roman times, when more than 40,000 slaves worked in those mining sites, until the 20th century. The biggest and best-preserved collection of Roman mosaics in the Region of Murcia stands out among the museum treasures.
Perhaps a special religious feeling began in the men of La Union due to having spent half of their life in underground tunnels. If you have the privilege of visiting La Unión during Holy Week, declared of Regional Tourist Interest, you will find face to face with this feeling. It is essential on the Saturday afternoon before Easter to go to the Processional Via Crucis of the Cristo de los Mineros (the Miners' Christ), which is carried on shoulders and travels down from Agrupa Vicenta Mine to Nuestra Señora del Rosario Church and to the Certamen Nacional de Saetas del Miércoles Santo (a flamenco style sacred song contest on Holy Wednesday). Go to the Holy Week Museum to complete your experience; there you will find the essence of the mining processions in the same place.
If you're into natural sciences, here you have one of the most important events in Spain related to this exciting world: the National Fair of Minerals and Fossils. It takes place inside the Antiguo Mercado Público coinciding with Holy Week, and it brings together many amateurs and professionals who take the opportunity to carry out exchanges and sales of stones from all over the world, and even from meteorites. The genome of the Universe at your fingertips.
THE CATHEDRAL OF "CANTE"
The Antiguo Mercado Público, completed in 1907, is one of the most outstanding works of Modernism in the Region of Murcia. Its spectacular iron and glass structure, as well as its size, are due to the prosperous years La Unión lived in the early 20th century, thanks to its lead and silver mines. Currently this space is no longer used as a market, but geared to cultural and artistic events, serving as a venue for The Cante de Las Minas International Flamenco Festival, and because of that, it is also known as the Cathedral of "Cante". You will be surprised by its lighting and amazing acoustics.
Portmán is the La Unión façade to the Mediterranean Sea. Its close location to the mines of the Sierra de Cartagena mountain range and La Unión made it a strategic port for the ancient Romans, who named this area as Portus Magnum. In the surroundings you will find the remains of mining operations and facilities for the mineral smelting of that time and the 19th century. The beaches of this area that are quiet and secluded, have become places of worship for photographers who come to capture the dramatic contrasts that occur among the multicoloured sand, sea and sky. If you are looking for a nice swim, we suggest that you get close to the Lastre beach, and if you are looking to complete your experience, there is nothing better than savouring a rich "caldero" (soupy rice with fish made in an iron pot) by the sea.