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. 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.
Set off the main square is a small “Interpretation Centre”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/spain/guadix/cavemuseum/index.html with a cave dwelling restored to what it might have been like in the 1930-40s, before electricity and running water arrived. Families shared a communal well.
Caves always faced south as the only source of light was through the door. The front was whitewashed. This acted as an antiseptic and also reflected heat in the summer. The small shelter by the door housed chickens.
They were entered through a double door screened by a curtain. The top could be left open to admit light. The dwellings typically had between 2-8 rooms. Inside was the entrance hall with rooms off it. Archways screened by curtains to help ventilation around the dwelling lead to the rest of the rooms.
The kitchen is always off the entrance hall and has a double door, allowing light into it. All cooking was done over a small open fire. Off the back of the kitchen separated by a wooden half door, is the stable. On the walls are harness and tack and there is a display of agricultural implements. This would traditionally have had a rammed earth floor. It was cleaned out every morning and fresh straw laid.
The pigsty is beyond the stable. This was deliberately kept small so the pigs were unable to move much and would gain weight rapidly.
Off the stable is the pantry and storage rooms. This was always one of the innermost rooms with little ventilation and a very constant temperature.
The centre is open 10-2 and 4-6 but is closed on Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday. It is well worth a visit. There is a video in English about the caves as well as information boards.
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