“Guadix”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/spain/guadix/town/index.html is a large town to the north of “Lanjaron”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/spain/lanjaron/index.html and the Sierra Nevada. It is off the tourist track and gets few visitors. Built on a rich fertile plain at just over 900m, it is surrounded by mud cliffs riddled with cave houses.
Set on a pass between Granada and Andalucia, it is one of the oldest settlements in Spain, being settled since Roman times and part of the Roman remains can be seen near the cathedral. From the beginning of the C8th, it was an important Moorish settlement guarded by its Alcazaba. This was abandoned at the end of the C15th after the Catholic conquest of Spain. The Moors were forced to leave the city and the Catholic cathedral was built on the site of the mosque.
It is an attractive town, dominated by the “cathedral”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/spain/guadix/cathedral/index.html , a splendid red sandstone building. The Plaza de la Constitucion near the cathedral would originally have been the Moorish market, full of stalls as well as workshops and warehouses. It became the main administrative area of the Catholic town with the town hall and goal and governor’s house. Reached through a grand archway, it is now an attractive square with an arcade giving covered access to the many cafes and small shops.
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. The main cave area is located above the town in “Barrio de las Cuevas “:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/spain/guadix/barrio/index.html and can be reached by the Tourist Tonka Train. In the 1960s there were 13.000 families living in the area. Today there are still over 2000 inhabited caves, immediately recognisable by their white chimneys.
The houses are collected round the square with the “church”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/spain/guadix/cavechurch/index.html , shops and “Interpretation Centre.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/spain/guadix/cavemuseum/index.html One of the best views is from Mirador Padre Poveda. The remains of cave dwellings can be seen scarring the sides of the cliffs. Others have been modernised with running water, bathrooms and electricity. The dwelling below the mirador is open for visitors and is a good example of a modern cave dwelling, complete with two bathrooms, wide screen TV and all mod cons. It is surprisingly spacious inside.
I visited here as part of a “‘Flavours of Spain'”:http://www.solosholidays.co.uk/spain/discovery-tours/flavours-of-spain holiday arranged with “Solos Holidays.”:http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/travel-service/168048-review-solos-holidays
My detailed trip report with all my pictures is