Baza caves

Baza is the largest municipality of the province of Granada, stretching over 545 km2. The region of Baza has a population of around 20,000, of which around 90% reside in and around the city of Baza. The remainder are found to be living in the large towns nearby such as el Baul, Caniles, Cullar and Freila.

The Baza plain stands at 1,100m and is full of contrasts; it is arid and desert like, scattered with crops and fertile oases that lie near the rivers. The sierras de Castril, la Sagra and Cazorla lie along the northern edge. The Sierras de Lúcar, Orce, Umbría and María lie to the east and to the south, the impressive Sierra de Baza. To the south of the Sierra de Castril limestone rocks, weathered by years of erosion form a sea of peaks, which turn a deep red at sundown.

The traditional cave houses of Baza are becoming very popular, particularly in the development of rural tourism. They offer an ideal environment for living all year round, being easy to heat in the winter and cool in the summer.

Many rivers from the surrounding sierras merge on the high plain amongst deep ravines of rich vegetation, which supports many villages, such as, Cúllar, Huéscar and Galera, which is close to the Fuente Caliente, a beautiful natural lake sprung from the earth boasting a constant temperature of 18ºC

Baza

Baza lies to the north of Granada and is bordered by the provinces of Jaén and Almeria. The ancient town is located in the face of Sierra de Baza Natural Park. This monumental town shows evidence of all the different cultures that have settled the area over time through its historical artistic heritage portrayed in stone. Baza is a town with interesting remains which can be visited in the Archaeological Museum. The monumental Colegiata Concatedral de la Encarnación is of major importance as well, and the town features some oldest Arab baths in Spain.Within the city are various monuments and Arabic baths to be explored, and the surrounding countryside offers the opportunity for hiking, mountain biking and paragliding. Baza offers all the amenities you would expect of a modern city, including schools, a museum, a theatre, cinemas, cyber-cafes, shops, bars and a hospital.

Negratin Lakes and Sierra de Castril

Between Baza and Castril, the visitor will find a lunar landscape scattered with cave dwellings such as those in Benamaurel, where the blue waters of the dam of Negratín contrast with the ochre tones of the earth. The remarkable lakes of el Negratin offer not only beautiful scenery but also the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of water sports.

Mount Jabalcon is the identifying feature of the Baza area of Granada province. Standing in the plains, next to Lake Negratin, at 1492 metres high, it can be seen for miles around. Hang-gliders use the mountain as a launch pad and at its summit there is a picnic area with barbeques. The views from the summit are stunning incorporating plains, mountain ranges, lakes and Baza itself. The thermal baths at Zujar are renowned for their healing qualities. The water is directly from Lake Negratin and is a constant 38 degrees.

Rural Villages

There are a wealth of villages spread out over the mountains and plain most of which have kept their traditional and rural character, making this an area with a wealth of opportunity for bird spotting, walking, cycling and horseback riding. For the more adventurous, there is paragliding, bungee jumping or even a vertical wall in the Sierra de Castril Parque Natural. Galera is full of delightful cave dwellings that have been fashioned out of the sandstone mountainside. Castril has white houses perched on a massive rock with the remains of the Islamic castle at the top. It is the gate to the Parque Natural de la Sierra de Castril, which boasts the Cueva de Don Fernando, the longest and deepest cave in the province of Granada.

Guadix

Guadix is well known for its troglodyte area. This is an area full of cave houses dating back many centuries, strange and quite unique houses built into the rock face. The houses are made from caves with superficial concrete frontages being built on. The whole hillside is dotted with them, some of them palacial inside. This is the largest such community in Europe and houses 3000 people in some 2000 dwellings. La Calahorra castle was featured in the film 'El Cid' starring Charlton Heston. It is an impressive castle with a renaissance parade ground. It belonged to the Mendoza’s, a noble Castilian feudal family, Marquises of Cenete and Counts of Tendilla.

Freila

Freila is a pretty, white washed village surrounded by natural parks and lakes. It has a restaurant, 4 bars, 2 supermarkets, bakery, fishmonger, butcher, pharmacy and a bank. A short drive away there are 3 good restaurants overlooking the lake and other restaurants/bars in nearby Baza, where there is also a variety of large supermarkets and shops to cater for all needs.

Festivals

Carnival - Easter Week, Bastetano Ausente Day, celebrated in August Grand Fair, celebrated from the 6th to the 15th of September, in honour of the Virgen de la Piedad, with the participation of Cascamorras. This character, Cascamorras leaves from Guadix to try to take the Virgen de Baza, and on his way, the public desecrate the character by throwing paint at him in order to tarnish his image on arrival at Baza, preventing him from stealing the image. Santa Bárbara Day, celebrated on the 4th of December, commemorating the entry to the city of the Catholic Monarchs


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