Cave paintings and skeletons found in the Caves of Nerja (Cuevas de Nerja) on the southern coast of Spain tell us that this complex of caverns which stretches for about 3 miles (5km) was once occupied by primitive people – originally as a winter shelter for nomadic tribes, then as a more permanent residence and place to keep their animals.
Then the caves were strangely forgotten for centuries until their rediscovery in 1959 by a group of five local boys who were hunting for bats. I suppose those early inhabitants began to build houses and over many generations the caves were just forgotten as nature took over to cover the natural entry points. Once the boys had stumbled over them, however, it didn’t take long for the caves to be opened to the public in 1960 as a place for tourism – largely because they contain one of the world’s largest stalagmites, which is 105 ft (32 m) high and 43 x 23 ft (13 x 7 m) at its base.
Photo courtesy of Steven Straiton via Flickr.