Natural caves and man-made shelters

Sigüenza is one of those places where we can travel with certain expectations, perhaps because we have read an article about Medieval towns in Spain, or places to visit near Madrid, or maybe because someone has been there and has recommended us not to miss it. However, once we are there and discover the huge amount of things to see and do, our expectations are definitely exceeded. If we planned to go for a one-day visit, we would suddenly feel the need to come back.

Some of the treasures of Sigüenza are hidden in its municipalities (pedanías), not only cultural-wise but also natural-wise. Several natural caves, such as the Harzal Caves in Olmedillas, have been carved by the water over time. What we can see nowadays is an incredible limestone gorge with large holes penetrating the rock, which offers a wonderful spectacle to our sight.

The caves constitute an archaeological site in which remains of ceramic pieces dating from the Neolithic period as well as the Copper Age have been found. Also, there are some remains of habitable constructions dating from the Muslim period and also what possibly was a watchtower right out of the caves. 

These caves have served as natural shelters for ages, from hunters-gatherers until recent years, as they were used as sheep-pen until not so long ago. Most of the walls we can see today, were built by shepherds to keep the cattle in.

Even though it is no longer used by humans, it’s now home for a good number of birds of different species, such as Red-billed Choughs and Eurasian Craig Martins.

As a curious fact, “The Trojan Women”, a 1971 American-British-Greek drama film directed by Michael Cacoyannis and starring Katharine Hepburn and Vanessa Redgrave, was filmed there. You can watch one of the scenes here.

Get ready for a trip to Sigüenza as soon as we can travel again, and do not hesitate to check on our Nature & Landscape section for the best advice to discover Sigüenza and its surroundings!

NOTE: the caves are easily reachable but bear in mind that they are a private property, so please be respectful.

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