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LEADER I and tourism: some examples

The San Roman Mill Ecological and Heritage Museum (La Rioja)
document type: case study
keywords: tourism, environment
source: LEADER technical dossier
last update:3/95

The La Rioja LEADER area spans the Sierra de los Cameros, a mountain range with seven relatively landlocked valleys. The group is committed to a strategy for the development of rural tourism based on the laying out of a network of paths linking up the valleys. The majority of them have at least one tourist attraction: a pyrite mine which is the only one of its kind in Europe, dinosaur prints, vulture sanctuary, etc. but the Leza valley needed some kind of attraction centre. The decision has thus been taken to renovate a 18th century water mill and turn it into an environmental museum.

In December 1992, the Rural Foundation of the Caja Rioja (savings bank), a partner in the local action group, purchased the site. In January 1993, the major building work began. LEADER funds have been used to re-fit the interior.

The ground floor consists of the mill itself. It is home to the machinery, manufactured in Munich in 1928 and still in working order. The upper floor has been transformed into a "water museum". The promoters have moreover been inspired by the Paris Museum of Water, although obviously not on the same scale. In addition to teaching resources explaining the role of water in traditional local society and as an energy source, the museum part has a transparent floor so that visitors are able to watch the millstones turning.

A nearby building includes six bedrooms as stop-off accommodation for walkers.
The mill will also act as a sales point for local products (crafts, cheeses and cooked meats).
In a second phase, the creation of an educational farm and of an "ecological" camp-site are planned.

The San Roman ecological museum began operations in the summer 1993. It must be self-financing. In addition to charging for the rooms (1,500 pesetas per person), visitors are charged an entrance fee of 200 pesetas. The promoters are hoping for around 15,000 visitors per year. The project has created two full-time jobs.

Group name: LEADER La Rioja (ES23)

Project type: ecological museum

Total cost: 382,000 ECU

National: 28,400 ECU

Regional (Comunidad Autonoma):150,000 ECU

Private: 78,600 ECU

LEADER I: 125,000 ECU

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