Moors & Christians Cueva Helena is situated in the north of the Granada Province within the exceptionally beautiful village of Benamaurel. It is in the Baza region of the Altiplano of Granada, 723 metres above sea level.
The area is reminiscent of Tolkein’s ‘Hobbit’ landscape, with many dwellings being caves, carved out of the rock face. The overall population is around 2,500 and the inhabitants are known as “Benamaurelenses”.
The surrounding area is alive with nature, being within very close proximity of three Natural Parks: the Sierra de Baza and the Sierra de Cazorla. Also close by is the Negratin lake and the Jabalcon hills, making this one of the most beautiful natural spots in Andalucia and indeed in Europe.
A visit to Benamaurel is one of the few chances you will have in modern life to step back in time and enjoy the experience totally.
Benamaurel is a historic village set out over a series of gullies, upon which the various areas are set out today. The Alhanda, Cuesta Del Rio and San Antonio quarters are very much where cave dwelling are found. But don’t expect to find peculiar cave men living there, in fact you may be surprised at the comfort and decoration of these pretty houses.
There is also the area of El Fuerte, where you can still see remains of the ancient fortress wall.
The Town Hall in Neoclassic style and the Church built on the site of an Arabic Mosque take up pride of place in the main square Plaza Mayor at the highest point of Benamaurel. A walk through the village is quite a unique experience and what most hits the senses is the enormous contrast in scenery and all in such close range. The panoramic view over the rich green valley and the River Guardal is starkly contrasted against the San Marcos quarter right opposite, which looks more like a desert enclave.
In times gone by, farm implements were hand made and nowadays it is mainly the older generation who make baskets and matting, etc. by hand weaving the esparto grasses. These make very useful and decorative gifts to take back as a souvenir of Benamaurel.
Every Sunday there is a weekly market, selling a variety of goods, local produce and handicrafts. In winter it is held in La Cañada and in summer in Calle Vigen de la Cabeza.
Local information courtesy of this site.