World’s oldest murals in Ardales caves
The world’s oldest murals in the Ardales caves are worth a visit. And the caves are near Finca Las Nuevas. They are not just any paintings. These murals have contributed to a new archaeological discovery!
Murals of Neanderthals
Before 2018, Homo sapiens were thought to be the first to decorate the rock walls. But now it turns out these were the Neanderthals. So a visit to this cave is absolutely a unique experience.
The story of the world’s oldest wall paintings
The limestone cave is also called Cueva de Doña Trinidad. Doña Trinidad Grund bought the cave in 1860. Located at 565 metres above sea level, the cave was discovered in 1821, when an earthquake reopened its entrance. The cave has a geological age of about 2.5 million years and has not suffered any changes for thirty thousand years.
The cave has been closed for eight thousand years. When in 1918 French prehistorian Henri Breuil first researched the wall paintings. He described 20 animal figures in 10 different locations. Today, 1010 images in 252 locations are known (98 images of animals, 10 human figures and nine handprints).
Besides images, many findings of utensils were also made in the cave, including tools made of stone and bone, which may have been used in engraving some of the figures. They were found near the paintings and are now partly in the archaeological museum in Ardales.
What we like about this cave is that it still looks so unique. Only 15 people are allowed inside at a time, which makes it extra special.
There are no paved paths through the cave, no light show with coloured lights or background music.
You will see beautiful stalactites and stalagmites and unique murals. The murals date back to the Late Paleolithic of twenty thousand years ago. You sometimes literally step over the murals.
Visiting the cave
The cave can be visited by appointment only. Children under eight and visitors over seventy are unfortunately not admitted, due to the cave’s uneven terrain.
There are two tours per day at 10 am and 4 pm. Only 15 visitors are allowed to visit the cave at a time.
A visit to the cave starts at the Ardales Archaeological Museum, where you can admire some of the finds from the cave. With your transport, follow the guide to the cave entrance, which is 3.7 kilometres from the museum.
Entry tickets can be booked via this website. or at the Archeological Museum in Ardales; Avenida de la Málaga 1, Ardales.
Read more about the world’s oldest murals in the Ardales caves here.
The cave is a short drive from the centre of Ardales. It is a fairly steep road uphill, not all of which is paved.
The cave has a constant temperature of around 15 degrees all year round with high humidity. Therefore, especially in summer, don’t forget to bring a jumper.
Access is via quite steep stairs and as there are no decking paths or tarmac roads, we recommend wearing sturdy shoes.
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