The caves of Guadix

caves of guadix

As the French geographer Jean Sermet said: “Guadix is a city that is not due to describe; it must be seen”. It is located in the Northern side of Sierra Nevada, in the called Hoya de Guadix, the natural pass from the East to Andalucia. It appears as a monumental city, one of the main ones of the Granada province and the oldest of all the Iberian Peninsula, which conserves a rich and extensive historical-artistic patrimony. The religious architecture as well as the civil one stands out with important examples.

Three urban different areas are clearly defined: the High one, occupied by caves; the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque one; and the new Guadix, fruit of the more recent city-planning development. In the singular configuration of its city centre its typical neighbourhoods, like the one of the Hermitages or the Caves, with numerous inhabited houses excavated in the ground stand out as distinguishing sign. The Arab Fortress, National Monument erected on the top of a hill, the monumental Cathedral and multitude of churches and hermitages stand out among its rich patrimony.

The Guadix tourist offer is very complete, offering to the visitor all type of accommodations, like hotels, rural houses and houses-cave. The range of sports that can be practiced goes from fishing, to kayaking as well as trekking or strolls in bicycle or on horse, or the motor sports, in the Speed Circuit of Guadix.


The area where Guadix is located has been inhabited since Prehistory and it is one of the oldest human settlements of Spain due to its condition of crossroad. Rests of the Neanderthal, Upper Palaeolithic and Metal Ages have been found. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians called it “Acci” from where it derives the present name. It was an important Roman colony on the side of the Augusta Route. Julius Caesar even elevated it to colony in the 45 b.C. and called it Julia Gemela Acci. During this period they had their own currencies of diverse values. At the Godos period the district begins its decadence, although the Episcopal character of the city makes it important in the different councils.

The Muslims gave its prominence back equipping it with their Arab appearance. During this period, Guadix lives periods of lights and shades, splendour and decadence. It is in the X century when Abderramán III grants it with great military importance. With the civil wars in the last stages of the Nasrid dynasty, it becomes capital of the ephemeral kingdom headed by El Zagal. It becomes headquarter of the group of judges and Episcopal place thanks to the role played by the archbishop of Toledo, Rodrigo González de Mendoza.

In 1489 it was given to the Catholic Kings and the Muslims were relegated to the suburbs. Years later, with the Moorish revolt, they were expelled from the district. This stage is followed by times where some of the exiled would return in a clandestine way. They built their houses in the urban surroundings giving way to which today we know as houses-cave. During the of Austria and Borbones dynasty, Guadix becomes city of the old government and later it was main character of the complaints of its citizens to the Crown. In the XIX century, with the invasion of the Napoleonic troops, periods of decadence and prosperity follow one another.

The paradise of medicinal water

Halfway between the districts of Guadix and of Los Montes one finds an authentic oasis of vegetation, right in the middle of the desert lands. There are megalithic settlements, natural aqueducts, rock carvings and numerous archaeological remains. La Ruta de la Prehistoria (“The Route of Prehistory”), situated where the River Fardes and River Gor converge, is another of the paths designed by the Association for the Rural Development of the District of Guadix and is crammed with beautiful historical and little known spaces.


  • How to Get There: From Granada one has to take the motorway towards Baza and take the turnoff for Villanueva de las Torres, at 32 km from Guadix.
  • Points of Interest: Archaeological remains (dolmens) and a natural aqueduct of thermal springs.