El Cau (the burrow, or the cache) is a hidden gem located just a short journey outside of the city of Elche. Thanks to online maps, it’s not too difficult to find but it’s certainly off-the-beaten-track. Park at the bottom of the hill as the track probably won’t treat your car too well. It’s a fairly easy climb but keep a look out for signs pointing the way. Take water and a hat as the sun can be unforgiving!
So, what is El Cau? Well, imagine a model village carved in sandstone replicating famous scenes from the municipality of Elche. That’s pretty much what this bizarre place is. There is artwork representing Semana Santa, the cathedral, the palm trees, the football club, Rio Safari Park, and even the airport. Wander around on this mountainside and you’re bound to find something you like. Climb higher and you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of Elche which stretches all the way to the coast.
All of this work was created by local artist Mariano Ros. Sadly he died in April 2017 at the grand old age of 91, but the site is very well kept so hopefully his legacy will live on for many years to come. In 2000 he was forced to abandon his work on the nearby Sierra de Castellar and urged to move to the current site. Over many years different scenes were added, and gradually this wonderful creation was completed. There have even been some new additions paying tribute to the medical staff who worked so tirelessly during the Covid pandemic.
Thanks to the excellent website Sendas y Leyendas I was able to find out all of this information. It’s amazing what treasures lie hidden away when you start to dig for them!
This trip would be easy to combine with a hike up to Elche reservoir. Take a look at the blog to see how to do it.