Cave church of Nuestra Senora de Gracia and the Parish Church

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Things to do


Date of travel

November, 2016

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Guadix has an extreme climate with very cold winter and very hot summer temperatures. Since the C16th, many of the inhabitants have chosen to live in cave houses. These maintain an average temperature of between 18-21˚C.

When the area was settled in the C16th, one of the caves was used as a “church,”: to Our Lady of Grace. During the Spanish Civil War, religion was regarded as the enemy of the people and the churches were no longer used and fell into disrepair.

The cave church was restored after the Second World War. The present church was built in front of it in 1964 as the cave church had become too small for the congregation.

The modern church is a long low rectangular building in the market square, with a small clock and bell tower. Inside, the altar and reredos take up most of the east wall with smaller altars on the side walls. A passageway with small side chapels off, leads from the church to the original cave church. At the far end is the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace. The painting above the altar dates from the C17th.

One of the side chapels is dedicated to San Pedro Poveda and has a decorative tile to him on the wall. Pedro Poveda was ordained in Guadix cathedral and came to work in the Barrio de las Cuevas for three years at the beginning of the C20th, living in one of the caves next to the church.

He believed in the importance of education and built a free school and established Christian doctrine classes for all ages. At the time, 68% of men and 79% of women were illiterate. He was very popular in the area and was made an ‘adoptive Son of Guadix’. His popularity made him unpopular with the bishop and he was asked to leave the area. He continued with his work establishing free schools and teacher training centres as well as writing many books expanding his ideas. He was responsible for formulating the Teresian Association, an international Catholic association involved in education, social and pastoral work, working with the marginalised and the needy. During the Spanish Civil War he was identified as an enemy and was shot for his beliefs. He was canonised in 2003 and is still remembered with affection in Guadix.

The church and cave church are open from 11-2 and 4-6. It is difficult to allocate a star rating for this as in many ways there isn’t a lot to see. Novelty value must make it at least 4*.

I visited here as part of a “‘Flavours of Spain'”: holiday arranged with “Solos Holidays.”:

My detailed trip report with all my pictures is


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