About the Caves
The best period to come to the caves
- In this season there is snow and you can practice skiing or simply have fun in the snow.
- You’ll be in a friendly environment sitting in front of a chimney.
- The landscape has an amazing beauty.
- You’ll enjoy the excursions at any time of the day.
- There is a great variety of vegetation, so the scenery is breathtaking and unique.
- Chatting around the chimney is very gratifying.
- You’ll enjoy the excursions at any time of the day.
- You’ll love to go up to the snow and practice different activities.
- Until July there is perpetual snow on the mountain peaks.
- Glorious afternoon siestas.
- The temperature during the night is cool.
- Barbecues are tempting and almost essential.
- Sitting in the terrace at night is characteristic in the region.
- Allow yourself the privilege to watch snow or rain in an incomparable environment.
- The view of the mountain range will captivate you.
- The chimney will become a permanent ally.
- In this season, the gastronomy of the region is excellent
- You’ll feel like enjoying the cave to its limits.
History of the caves
We don’t exactly know the period when the caves began to be used as houses, but when the Catholic Kings arrived to Guadix in 1.489 there were cases of isolated caves.
They started building in the first half of the XVI Century. Until the XX Century there existed a situation of confrontations between this habitat and the houses, due to socio-economic factors.
The caves were dug out, taking advantage of the softness of the clay that made up the series of hills that surround the valleys of the Region of Guadix.
The hill is dug out vertically and then horizontally to create the caves gallery with interior rooms. The smoke exit of the kitchen is achieved by drilling vertically into the hill and chimneys are constructed with mortar and afterwards whitewashed, which gives a particular appearance to the landscape.
Access is made through a wooden door, sometimes divided in two parts (the top half is used as a window), which is a Moorish tradition.
The interior temperature is constant during the whole year (18ºC) so heating equipment is not necessary, and bedclothes are the same throughout the whole year.
It is curious how men, in winter periods when agricultural work was not possible because of the rain and the snow, spent their time in the caves digging out more rooms and more when a new child was going to be born.
Situated in the hillsides, in the gullies and in the ravines, with anarchic distribution, with its curved lines, the lime, the vaulted ceiling and its chimneys, the caves sets a complex with an interesting singularity, being the differential construction of our region.
Its architectonic originality, its temperature and its friendly, intimate and rustic environment, have made them a much appreciated habitat.
Historic precedents: The Troglodytic habitat:
When we talk about troglodytic habitat (from Greek troglodytes) we do it with reference to the peculiar organization of a human settlement in caverns. This etymology that is specifically used to describe human prehistoric groups is applicable nowadays to determine geographic zones of the Province of Granada.
The caves, as natural shelter, have been used by men since the Superior Paleolithic Age. This habitat has not disappeared and remains perpetuated in time and in the history without losing its essence: Mother Land shelters and protects men in its interior.
We’re not longer occupying the caverns or the natural shelters; men have modified the land to cover their necessities; they specialize in creating a whole subterranean world that nowadays arouses the astonishment of the visitors. The way the caves turn into neighborhoods is striking, how they develop into an unusual urban geography.
Visitors of these regions of Granada have the unique opportunity to see how an occupation system of the natural environment, the troglodytic habitat, has perpetuated during millenniums without losing its essence.
The Caves’ curiosities
The caves have become the ultimate distinctive element of the regions of Guadix and Baza in the Province of Granada. Built without the help of architects, the shapes and volumes depend to a large extent on the characteristics of the rock in which they have been dug out and on the originality and needs of those who built them.
They keep a constant temperature during the whole year and the experience of living in a cave becomes something really special.
But besides being an excellent accommodation, they constitute a rich historical patrimony that is worth the visit. In the zone there are many caves from the Almohade period, most of them built in labyrinthine structures with even three stages.
The most ancient caves are from the end of the X century and beginnings of the XI Century. At the beginning they were used as fortresses, even though, in the Almohade period this use was combined with the use as permanent rooms. It was in the Nazari period when they began to be used as family residences, as it is nowadays. There is no precedent of such habits in Europe. A theory establishes that its origin comes from the occupation of the zone by bereber tribes.
In the Far East there are sacred caves named “Yoni”, a word that means “female sex”. The passing by of the pilgrims through them constitutes a rite of purification. Also the Roman gave to the under earth constructions a special character; it was under earth where they built “L’Eliseum”, place of happy stay for heroes and other semi gods. Without a doubt, part of this mysticism, of the idea of finding yourself in the heart of Mother Nature, still remains in the inhabitants of these regions.
Finally, we must highlight the fact that the cave, dug out in the subterranean world, is omnipresent in the Christian religion: the cave of the Annunciation of Nazareth, the one of the Nativity in Bethlehem or the Saint Sepulcher in Jerusalem constitute the most evident examples. In reality, the Troglodytism does not only make us travel to the heart of the earth, but also to the abyss of our collective subconscious. There is a close relation between the sacred and the earth.
The earth is the first medium in which man has expressed himself: it was in it where man expressed its humanity inventing art.
Interesting places related to this culture.
- Cave museum of Guadix
- Pottery museum in cave: Gabarrón,
- Ethnological museum in cave: Purullena
- Natural caves that were used as habitat: Cave of Piñar
- The cemetery of Velerda.
- Neighborhood caves of Guadix
- Paleontology museum of Orce.
- Troglodyte dolmens: in the megalithic park of Gorafe.