UNESCO Heritage of Mercury (Hg)

The World Heritage Committee decided on June 30, 2012, to inscribe "MERCURY HERITAGE. ALMADÉN AND IDRIJA" on the World Heritage List in accordance with the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The inscription on the list signifies the recognition of exceptional universal values that need to be preserved for the benefit of all humanity.

Mercury is a rare and the only liquid metal at room temperature. It has long been indispensable in various technical, chemical, and industrial processes. Large quantities of mercury were obtained only from a few mines worldwide, with Almadén in Spain and Idrija in Slovenia being the two largest.

The inscription on the World Heritage List is based on the following criteria:

Criterion (ii): Mercury extraction took place in rare mines worldwide, with Almadén and Idrija being the largest. Since the Renaissance, this activity has gained international significance. The strategic importance of mercury has continuously increased on a global scale, especially due to its role in gold and silver production in South and Central American mines. The collaboration between Almadén and Idrija was of an economic and financial nature, particularly related to the development of technological processes and the exchange of knowledge.

Criterion (iv): The mining areas in Almadén and Idrija represent the most important world heritage sites that have been preserved after intensive mercury extraction, especially in the modern and contemporary periods. The testimony of Almadén and Idrija is unique and includes various industrial, environmental, urban, architectural, and social elements specific to the socio-technical system in the mining industry and metal production.

Anthony's Main Road
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Anthony's Main Road

Anthony's Main Road, excavated in 1500, is the oldest preserved entrance to a mine in Europe.

Hg Smelting plant
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Hg Smelting plant

Hg Smelting plant boasts the world's largest Rotary furnace for mercury extraction.

Klavže - water barriers
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Klavže - water barriers

They are among the most important preserved structures of the Idrija Mercury Mine.

Idrija Compressor station
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Idrija Compressor station

The mining compressor station was built in 1926.

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