by Saskia Mier
Tharsis is situated in the heart of Comarca del Andévalo and part of the municipal of Alosno. Previously one of the most important mining villages in Huelva, it was the first location to have a single-track railway line in Spain. It has about 1800 inhabitants.
There has been mention of Tharsis in the Bible, although written without 'h', which suggests that the letter was later introduced by the British in the late 1800s.
From the Old Age, specifically during the reign of the Tartars, objects have been found such as stone hammers, graves with human figures and copper axes, which demonstrate that early inhabitants of the area worked and exploited underground riches leaving a cultural legacy.
The Phoenicians arrived in the area in the eleventh century and focused on exploiting mines for copper in areas of the interior of Huelva province. During a time of great production, King Solomon joined his fleets to those of Hiram Ito trade in Tharsis.
The Roman era of Emperor Augustus is evident from coins and objects of lead, iron, copper and mud. There are also numerous Roman wells that exist in the region and in some mines, Archimedes spirals or hydraulic wheels for drainage have been found.
From the third century the German invasions of the North ceased mining activity and the sites where the industries were prepared were weeded.The Arabs later reopened some mines of Andalusia.
During the sixteenth century, King Philip II visited the mines of the Kingdom, recording 57 mines between 1559 and 1584, almost all of them in the Alosno region. In the first quarter of the eighteenth century the mining of Rio Tinto was already exploited in a systematic way and the Bourbon dynasty carried out reformations to the mining industry.
The nineteenth century causes a decrease in mining activity due to wars, diseases, etc. and picks up again as from 1850. At present, there are no active mines.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de Santa Bárbara
The church was built in 1880 built by the Scottish Tharsis, Sulphur and Copper Company. Located in Plaza Constitucion.
Built in 1880 to accommodate the travellers who came to Tharsis, mainly those from the Sierra transporting fruits and vegetables. Its location controls all movement through the village.Located next to the Circulo Minero Recreativo, also known as the Casino.
Antiguo Hospital Minero
Also known as the house of Doctor Flemming of the Tharsis, Sulphur and Copper Company, the previous mining hospital is currently the mining museum. It shows an interesting and unique collection of wood models for the casting of spare parts of machinery, tools and mining utensils, the famous train 'El Viajero' and historical archives of Tharsis mines. Located on Calle Doctor Flemming.
The Tharsis railway travelled 47km from Tharsis to Puntal de la Cruz in Corrales (Huelva). Used only to transport minerals such as iron, copper and sulphur as well as gold, silver and magnesium, it was the second to be built in Huelva with a gauge of four English feet, a measurement that has only been used for the Glasgow Subway.
A large conical chimney built with thick stone and mortar walls and was used to ventilate underground mines.
Minas de Tharsis
Tharsis mines form one of the most western mining systems in the Sierra Morena mine network in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Born in the great pyrite belt that extends from west to east, from Alentejo to Seville and Badajoz passing through the province of Huelva.
Dedicated to the extraction, processing and transport of iron, copper, sulphur, gold, silver and manganese, Tharsis was a nerve centre for the railway built by the Tharsis, Sulfur and Copper Company (TOS).
Among a variety of home-cooked dishes in Tharsis, the most popular is caldereta de borrego(lamb stew). For dessert, try the flan, rice pudding and many more sweet treats typical of the province such as pestiños (honey pastries) and bollos de pringue (egg-filled profiteroles) which are particularly popular of Alosno and eaten at Semana Santa (Holy Week).
Embroidery is the most characteristic handicraft as well as leather horse-riding saddlery and harnesses, all still hand-made.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings celebrated on the night of 5 January.
Celebrated Febuary and March.
Celebrated on Resurection Sunday.
Romeria de Santa Bárbara
Celebrated on the second weekend of May.
Celebrated on the second weekend of July.
Semana de la Juventud
Celebrated mid August.
Fiestas Patronales en Honor de Santa Bárbara
Celebrated from the 4 to 8 December.
Tharsis is located 52km from Huelva. To get there, take the H-30 leaving Huelva and onto the N-431. Pass by Gibraleón and over the river Odiel, turn right onto the A-495. Continue on, passing San Bartolomé de la Torre and Alosno until you reach Tharsis.