Aracena the Town of Many Wonders

 

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Aracena

There are so many beautiful villages and towns in Andalusia, and the charming Aracena is not an exception. Situated in the middle of Sierra de Aracena, the town is just a short 50 miles distance from  Andalusia’s capital Seville. Winding around the remains of the medieval castle and Priory church,  Aracena covers an entire hilltop. What a stunning  view!  The white pebbles paved alleys and narrow streets didn’t seem to have changed  much since medieval times and the little town comes alive around dinner time. Scores of gift and ceramic shops give bursts of color and and you can easily spend  a whole day  here, watching local life go by. But not only the scenery is there to be admired.  Aracena is well known for its tasty Iberian pork ham,  the sheep and goat cheese and not at least, the most famous ” Gruta de las Maravillas”  (meaning the Cave of Wonders). And what a wonderful cave this is. Discovered in  the mid 19th century by mining prospectors  it was the first Spanish cave opened to the public in September 1914. 

          Build in 1553 by the Knights Templar, the Gothic-Mudejar style church is the oldest in town.

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Priory Church

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Priory Church

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Priory Church

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Priory Church

                The ruins of the Moorish fortress still stand proudly above the town, and can be a perfect place for a sunset viewing.

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Moorish fortress

                       Fed by a continuously flowing underground spring, the ancient community washing basin is a must seen tourist spot in Aracena.  It used to be an important site in town where girls and boys ready for marriage used to come to meet and flirt with each other. The basins were used by women until  the 70’s. Nowadays,  the statues in front of the basins are just a remainder of a former life, long gone.

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Community washing basins

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   “La Gruta de las Maravillas”, (The Cave of Wonders) is the most popular tourist attraction around in town.  The tour of the cave was absolutely  fantastic with magical moments of tranquility among ancient stalactites and stalagmites. The large clear water lakes, and the dreamy atmosphere make this cave a wonderful place to visit. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos inside of the cave but here are some to enchant your eyes. 

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