Covetes dels Moros in Bocairent, Spain

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Just over 50 “windows” carved into an almost sheer rock face at the Fos Ravine, just outside Bocairent in the Valencia region of Spain. They open out into as many, interconnected “rooms” behind them. For many years, the origins of these windows were unclear. The earliest proposed origin was that they formed the cells of a Visigoth monastery, though recent research suggests this is unlikely.

Since about 2016 they are generally identified as granary stores of Berber origin. (You can find similar granary caves in the High Atlas mountains.) Originally these granaries were not interconnected, with each excavation belonging to a single family. But in the 17th century, connections were made to allow them to be used as a wartime refuge. Some of the windows have holes drilled in their lower corners to allow climbing ropes and ladders to be attached. It is believed that initial access for excavation was by climbing down ropes from the cliff top.

Several smaller groups of similar cave windows occur in ravines and other rock faces in the region. This system, however, is by far the largest. Recently a pair of metal staircases have been added to allow entry and exit for guided tours. While not requiring the fitness and flexibility of a spelunker, touring this fascinating system of excavations is relatively physically demanding as the trip includes significant climbing and crawling. As well as the Covetes dels Moros themselves an interpretation center is available at a, significantly smaller, artificial cave complex known as Covetes del Colomer.

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