Ardales Cave or of Doña Trinidad Cave
The cave of Ardales, which is also known as Cueva de Doña Trinidad or the Calinoria, was discovered in 1821 after the great earthquake in Alhama de Granada, which left the access to the cave open, after the sedimentation had kept it sealed for more than 8000 years.
The underground complex situated in the extreme west of the Serrezuela, at about 550 and 600 metres altitude above sea level and with a geological age of around 2.5 million years, has not suffered any changes for the last 30.000 years. Its use as a tourist attraction was first initiated by Doña Trinidad Grund, a women from Seville and daughter of the Consul General, who arrived in Malaga at the age of 15 and who bought the cave in 1860. She had a staircase and supports for some torches fixed into the wall.
On her death in 1896 the cave was abandoned, although in 1918 Henri Breuil, the first great student of the Prehistoric Era, conducted a detailed study of it. However, it was in 1985 when its recuperation and protection began. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy a one and a half kilometre walk through the inside to see such outstanding features as the Gran Sala, la Sala del Lago, la Galería del Espolón, la Galería de los Grabado and la Sala de las Manos.
A visit to the cave will reveal an authentic labyrinth of columns, permanent lakes and beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations. There are also some paintings and engravings dated from the Superior Palaeolithic period of about 20.000 years ago. The most important figure is the Gran Cierva en Negro or the Cierva de Ardales. This is painted in black with a thick red tip where the heart is. There are other drawings of deers, goats, and fish. These relics, paintings, and engravings from the Palaeolithic period are done in 5 different colours, 8 distinct types of engravings with 4 different themes; abstract items, stains, traces, triangles, hands (about 10 and they are seemingly unique due to the way they are elaborated) feminine figures and fauna ( there are more than 80 pictures of deer, horses, goats) make this cave almost unique in the whole world ( there are only 10 with similar characteristics). All this led to the cave being declared Patrimonio de la Humanidad (Patrimony of Humankind) in 1998
Only 1000 people a year are allowed to visit this cave (and always with an official guide) and the visits must be in groups of a maximum of 15 people a day. Such visits must be previously arranged by ringing 952 458 046. Due to the type length of the tour, it is recommendable for visitors to wear comfortable rubber-soled shoes. The temperature inside the cavity is 16,5º C and the humidity level is stable at 90 and 100%.
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