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The Caves

GRANADA AND ALMERIA

Around 10,000 cave dwellings are dotted throughout almost the whole of Andalusia, 95% of them concentrated in the provinces of Granada and Almería, in the dale of Guadix, the high plateaux of Baza and Huéscar and the valleys of Andarax and Almanzora, hollows surrounded by mountain areas which posses two fundamental characteristics: consistent, impermeable land which is easy to excavate and a dry sometimes arid climate with sharp thermic variations.

The caves are situated on hill and mountainsides or around small hillocks and are usually built around one square- based room. Facades and chimneys, the lime or colour of which contrast whit the ochre colour of the earth, characterize their external appearance. Additional pieces are often added to the facades, either attached or freestanding, and a porch made of plants or construction materials is sometimes built on, marking out a complementary space to the cave called the "placeta", the little square.

Inside, the problems of ventilation and lighting are solved by skylights. This cave architecture, which goes far back into history, became considerably more popular in the last century as a result of agricultural and mining developments, and the last spurt of cave digging on a large scale occurred in Guadix in the 50s.



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