Civic: chronicle of a cave architecture

in Architecture+Design29 days ago


It dawns, the sun is just a metaphorical firefly, incapable, still, of clearing that universe of shadows that hangs over the horizon line.


My destination, and by default yours, if you continue reading and decide to accompany me, is approximately 70 kilometers from Madrid, within the territory of another Autonomous Community: Guadalajara.


Guadalajara is part of that other territorial division that marks the border with which, until relatively modern times, was Old Castilla –which is currently called Castilla y León- and is included within that very new, in comparison, demarcation known as Castilla -La Mancha, the latter land that may be familiar to you, since Miguel de Cervantes located the birth of the adventures of our most universal knight-errant: Don Quixote.


To reach our destination, we have to deviate to the height of a town called Torija, where we will be powerfully attracted by a type of military architecture, which dates back to the Middle Ages and which, in fact, was the precedent of the name of Castilla for its abundance: its castle.


Also know that we are entering a territory called with the peculiar name of Alcarria, famous, among other things, for the excellence of its honey and also for the beauty of some towns that still preserve a good part of their medieval architecture, as shown , for example, the old walls that surrounded the next town in importance, to which we have to arrive, whose name is Brihuega.


Leaving Brihuega in the direction of Cifuentes, our destination is just a few kilometers, which pass through a convoluted regional road, where you will have a magnificent view of what is known as the Tajuña valley, with many orchards and farmlands.


Within this apparently idyllic perspective, we will see to our left, just stopping a few meters beyond a small and surprising waterfall, a peculiar rocky promontory, pierced with caves, in whose innumerable interstices the hand of man can be clearly seen.


Although partially abandoned today, what we have here is a joint work between erosion and the hand of man and takes us back to those prehistoric times when the caves were the natural refuge of the first hominids.


It is known that during the Middle Ages, as it happened in many places in Spain - the most relevant case, to give you an example, is that of the so-called Tebaida berciana leonesa - these caves served as hermitages.


Hermitages that gradually and gradually adapted to the social needs of each era, until we reached the home caves that we see today and that in fact were inhabited until relatively current times.


A look inside will help you get an idea of ​​how the original cave was adapting to the functional needs of a home; of how certain holes were used and how they were carved to adapt them as cupboards where to deposit crockery and various everyday utensils.


Also made of stone, you will observe the columns, which, simulating the typical Atlanteans or caryatids - if you prefer, to adapt it to current terms, master or weight beams - supported the weight of rock ceilings, avoiding the fear of possible landslides.


The interior entrances from one room to another have the approximate shape of Romanesque and Visigothic and even Arab underground architectures, which can also be seen in certain caves located next to the Brihuega Town Hall and that apart from being currently used as warehouses or wineries, They are also a tourist opening museum.


Finally, detail the steps, carved in the hard rock that rise to upper rooms, as well as the widening of holes for the opening of windows to facilitate the access of sunlight.


Around the year 2015, approximately, this enigmatic complex of cave houses was acquired by a real estate agency in order to re-inhabit it as homes and put them up for sale.


NOTICE: Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property and therefore are subject to my Copyright.






Caves are very interesting looking at how people of past must have constructed all this with minimal equipments!
The pictures and description was amazing.

Certainly and despite this, with their chisel and chisel, they were drilling, designing and creating something similar to a home. You would be surprised to know the great significance that caves had for architecture, where even, here in Spain, we have, as a reminiscence of the past, caves that were even converted into churches. And others, which I will show in a future post, in restaurants with a very special charm. Thank you very much for your kind comment and warm greetings.

Looking foreword for your next blog which you briefed about.
Enjoy the weekend:)

Thank you. Equally

Since time immemorial, caves have always been interesting habitats. When that cave complex was acquired by a real estate company back in 2015, did they damage the original designs, conditions, and integrity of these subterranean homes @juancar347? What happened to its architectural heritage?

True, to the point that there are many, many places in Spain, even in the Community of Madrid, where I live, where these habitats are still being used as a home. Regarding Cívica, I regret not being able to tell you what state it is currently in, as I have not been back since 2015 where, as you can see in the penultimate photograph, there are posters of a real estate agency for sale. But as soon as the restrictions due to the pandemic are lifted and I can travel freely again, it will be one of my objectives, to find out about their status and of course, I will gladly comment on it personally. However, I believe (it is an assumption) that possibly they have been rehabilitated and some are even inhabited again. But it is only an opinion, which at the moment I cannot confirm. Greetings

Who knows? There might be some changes already to those caves since you last saw them. Let's just hope they're still well preserved until now as they are valuable architectural relics with a rich history.

Let's hope so. Thanks a lot

Interesting to learn how the function of these cave structures has evolved through history. I particularly liked how they carved our shelves on the walls.

I was just about to ask whether the real estate company who purchased this complex started the work and then I found your comment thread. I hope they keep the original structure /design and consider preserving them.

Thank you. As I said, now, due to mobility issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic and although it is relatively close to Madrid, the place where I live, it is not possible for me to go to check it. But I promise, as soon as the restrictions are lifted and I have a chance, I will come closer, as I am also curious to know what state it is currently in. a cordial greeting

Stay safe, take care and have a great weekend

Hello @juancar347, I am excited to let you know that you are one of the Top 3 Features of the 20th Edition of the Architecture Brew. It was a pleasure to read and learn about this magnificent cave architecture!

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Thanks a lot. Believe me, I am delighted. a cordial greeting


Hi, my friend


Wow! Those cave architecture is so majestic.

Thanks, friend

You're welcome.

When looking at many of the photos I remember the Templars movies, you always saw caves that led to a certain place and they were a line to get there faster, your publication is very interesting, and the second photograph that I love, very beautiful

The caves have always had their mystery, but also their benefactor protection for a humanity that has always seen refuge and seclusion in them. There are many legends related to caves and Templars, but as you say, most are still, deep down, mere movies. Take care.