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  • Writer's pictureFogar Mozárabe

Compludo: inside a unique medieval forge

There are many times we have visited this special place located very close to Peñalba de Santiago, and we never tire of recommending it to all travelers looking to know one of those authentic places with capital letters. This time we share it in detail, stay tuned!

In just half an hour's drive from Ponferrada, and just before reaching the village of Compludo, we find the detour to the blacksmith Compludo. Following the course of the Meruelo stream and nestled deep in the valley, we will reach this jewel, always guarded by Rex, the current blacksmith's dog. Manuel Sánchez, son and grandson of blacksmiths, explains with affection and passion the origins and operation of the smithy, which are linked to the disappeared monastery founded by San Fructuoso in the 7th century.

But why do we say that it is a unique smithy? Well, because it is one of the oldest smithies that remains unchanged, with an operation based exclusively on the power of water, without the use of electricity or modern systems in any of its processes. If we add to this its mystical origins and the situation of isolation and natural solitude in which it is located, hidden in the deepest of our valleys, the result seems to be taken from a Tolkien novel.

In the Compludo smithy there is a large restored mallet moved by a hydraulic wheel, connected to a forge with a Catalan horn to which air is injected according to the Venturi principle. It is a spectacular and surprisingly ingenious mechanism. To better understand what we are talking about, it is not enough to see the images, you have to go to see it and, above all, to listen to Manuel tell every detail of the life and work of his ancestors, who fought to maintain the current construction as iron was worked in the Middle Ages.

Lucas and Álvaro Docampo

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