The Caves of Nerja (Cueva de Nerja) are a series of caverns just a few kilometers outside our town of Nerja. We took the bus from town this Saturday afternoon to see one the most famous tourist sites in Nerja. In fact, the
caverns are one of Spain's major tourist attractions. Concerts are regularly held in one of the chambers, which forms a natural amphitheater.
The caves began to form, approximately 5 million years ago, when water penetrated the fissures of
the marble rock and dissolved it, forming a huge subterranean cavern.
Skeletal remains found in the caverns indicate that they were inhabited from about 25,000 BC up until the Bronze Age. Cave paintings from the Paleolithic and post-Paleolithic
eras have been discovered on the walls of the cave. For about 4,000 years from 25,000 BC the caves were used seasonally by a small group of humans. By 21,000 BC the human population had taken up year-round residence in the caves and had increased in number.
By 3800 BC textiles and more advanced styles of pottery were being produced and parts of the cave were being used as a burial chamber.
The caves were re-discovered in modern times on 12 January 1959 by five friends, who entered through a narrow sinkhole
known as "La Mina". This forms one of the two natural entrances to the cave system. A third entrance was created in 1960 to allow easy access for tourists. The cave is divided into two main parts known as Nerja II and I. Nerja I includes the Show Galleries,
which are open to the public, with relatively easy access via a flight of stairs and concreted pathways to allow tourists to move about in the cavern without difficulty. Nerja II, which is not open to the public, comprises the Upper Gallery discovered in 1960
and the New Gallery discovered in 1969. In February 2012 it was announced that possibly Neanderthal cave paintings dated from 42,000 years ago had been discovered in the Caves.
The Caves location is just up the cliff side from Maro, a small village
next up the coast from Nerja. The entrance area has a botanical garden and cozy restaurant overlooking Maro and the Mediterranean. Your 10 Euro ticket gets you about a one hour guided tour through the cave main chambers with plenty of time to take
in the beauty of this great natural wonder. This was a nice afternoon trip and we will plan to return, possibly to see one of the cultural events held in the amphitheater.