Anything But Paella

The Cave Dwellers of Guadix

Guadix, in the Granada province of Andalusia, is a curious place to visit. We have driven past on the N-92 many times and often seen the brown tourist sign pointing out the visitor centre for the cave houses. Having visited nearby Baza a couple of times, we’ve always wanted to go to Guadix and so this time we made sure that we had time. What a great decision that was!

The Cave House Visitor Centre

If you only have time for a short visit you should head straight to the visitor centre. Entry costs just a couple of Euros and it’s well worth it. Just inside the entrance to the cave house is a room with a projector. The film it shows will be displayed in the language you chose at the ticket office. It tells the story of a cave digger and the history of these troglodyte dwellings. It’s really very interesting, and even more so when you discover that there are still active cave diggers around who maintain the caves today. After the film you are free to explore the cave house where information plaques will tell you everything you need to know about life in these extraordinary homes. With an almost constant temperature year-round, they are warm int he winter and cool in the summer. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it!

Juan the cave digger!

There is plenty more to see by wandering around the cave house area. Try not to miss the climb up to the viewpoint where you’ll get wonderful views of the entire town from its ancient cave dwelling roots all the way to the end of the modern urban area. Be sure to pop into the church too, and explore its maze-like corridors for some more fascinating insights into cave living.

The modern town of Guadix is also worthy of exploration. The cathedral is quite stunning and for €6 you can look around inside, visit the museum and climb up the tower for some amazing views. Sadly the fortifications of the alcazabar are currently being restored and there is no access at all.

Tourist information can be found on the pretty Plaza de le Constitución where the town hall and a few nice-looking restaurants are located. It is full of useful information about the town and its history. Of course there is all you need to know about finding the caves, the traditional local pottery, and the movie trail where you can sit on director’s chairs and admire scenes from films like Indiana Jones which had a scene shot at the train station. For us though, the most fascinating part was the story of the Cascamorros festival.

Cascamorros takes place every September between Guadix and its neighbouring town Baza. An envoy from Guadix was sent to Baza needing to arrive in an immaculate condition in order to reclaim the statue of the Virgin. Of course, his mission failed, and in honour of this everyone gets very dirty as oil based paint is everywhere covering all participants from head to toe. Sounds like great fun! If you want to know more, Andalucia.com has a full breakdown of the festival for you, while the imaginatively named onefootinthecave.net gives the Baza side of the story. If you like getting dirty with the locals, take a look at the video below!

So there you have it! We really enjoyed our day in Guadix. Maybe we’ll return one day and join in the fun!

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