Guadix & Purullena – cave towns
Guadix and Purullena were recommended by my colleague, who spent Erasmus in Almeria. Knowing her traveling passion, we decided to visit the places she proposed. We combined it with our trip to the Tabernas Desert. I know that those cities weren’t on the way to Tabernas, but we had only one day for both places. This was our next destination on the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. Our base was in Almeria. We reached Guadix and Purullena by car.
Not so easy without Spanish in Guadix 😛
This is probably not the first time when we started to explore the city from the bar. 😛 Well, but how to explore with an empty stomach? 🙂 In any case, already in large Spanish cities, English has turned out to be too big a barrier to handling certain things. Same in Guadix. In this small town, where live only 20 thousands people, not so many knows English. Fortunately, Darek knew a few Spanish words, so we were able to order food at the local bar. Amazingly, the prices for such a small town are quite high, although the place is not very popular among tourists. Actually at this bar we were the only tourists and we stopped almost in front of the cathedral.
Rich history of the city
The origins of Guadix go back at least a thousand years before Christ. There was an Acci settlement, which developed through the intersection of trade routes. In the time of the Visigoths, Guadix lost its importance. The times of Arab rule are a period of ups and downs. At this time was also changed the name of the city from Acci to Guadix.
I was also able to read that the city is famous for its cutlery production. I don’t know if it is true, since we haven’t noticed anything in the city that could confirm this fact. Definitely more inhabitants focus on ceramic products, which we seen in the nearby shops.
Incredible Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Guadix is considered as one of the oldest diocesan sites in Spain. According to tradition the diocese was founded by St. Torquatus of Acci in the first century a.d. The cathedral is located at the site of an earlier church existing in the 10th century. During the Islamic period, the church functioned as a mosque. During the reconquest of the 15th century, the church was established as the seat of the bishopric. Thanks to Pope Innocent VIII, the church was renamed to the cathedral. For this purpose, the building has been greatly enlarged. The expansion lasted from the 16th to the 18th century.
At the beginning, it was planned to expand in the gothic style as a symbol of reconciliation, but then the gothic was considered to be too ancient. In the end, the cathedral was built in Baroque style. It is not difficult to spot on the cathedral other styles. This is not only due to the turbulent history of this building, but also to the large number of architects who build it. Therefore, if you notice gothic elements or other elements, don’t be suprised! 😛
Entrance to the cathedral costs 5 euros. The audioguide is included. In addition to the interiors of the cathedral, you can also see the diocesan museum. Please reserve some time for exploration, because there is a lot to see 🙂 Here you will find prices and opening hours.
Andalusia is probably the favorite region of all movie producers and directors. When we left the Cathedral we noticed a memorial plaque, which shows us all the movies recorded in Guadix. There are a lot of them, including my beloved Indiana Jones!
Finally, we reached the biggest attraction in Guadix – the cave houses. You have to know that not all buildings are inside the cave or undeground. The part of the city looks like every other Spanish town. For the cave houses you have to go a little uphill. The best option is to set your google map on the Catholic Church (Iglesia catolica). Already on the way to this place you will see desired architecture. In addition, there is a viewing terrace, where you can admire the beautiful panorama of the countryside and the Cathedral. Besides, there are several houses in the area that you can visit for a small fee. There is also a special museum, however we skipped all these attractions.
It is not too touristy place. Yes, you can meet German tours of the elderly people, but that’s all. The bar or small shop will be here, too, but with a more local attitude. Also, not all homes are as well-maintained as those on the main street. Just walk a few hundred meters from the Church to see the poorer and even abandoned homes.
Where did the idea of cave houses come from? Of course there are many theories, but one seems obvious to me. Our ancestors already knew that the cave wasn’t only a roof over their head, but also a shelter. This is the warmest region of Spain, so locals had to deal with this. Houses in a cave or in underground, worked like our aircondition. While the outside temperature reaches in summer over 40 degrees or in winter dropped to the opposite, the house maintained a steady 18 degrees temperature.
Purullena was our last stop today. We visited this place because of Cueva Museum, which was recommended by a friend. Cueva Museum is probably the most interesting and largest cave house in the area, which is available for tourists. Admission costs 2.5 euros, so even the price is really pleasent, especially since it’s a local family interest. The interiors are very interesting, because on the one hand you can see many traditional (old) items, although you can also spot the elements of modernity. Despite the lack of aircondition, the temperature in the house is very pleasant and probably is about 18 degrees. Interesting experience and really worth your time, especially since Purullena is located about 10 mins drive from Guadix and the museum is located by main road.