GR-6101, Km 16, 18539 Villanueva de las Torres, Granada.
From Guadix follow A-325 north, turn right on GR-5103. Follow signs to Alicún de las Torres.
|Dimension:||T=35 °C, H=15 m, L=1,000 m.|
|Guided tours:||self guided, D=1 h.|
|Address:||Acequia del Toril, GR-6101, Km 16, 18539 Villanueva de las Torres, Granada, Tel: +34-686-76-55-40.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1955 to 1959||242 dolmens catalogued in the area.|
|10-JUL-2020||included in the Granada GeoPark.|
The Acequia del Toril (Toril Aqueduct) is a natural aqueduct, a small rivulet which runs in a channel which it has created itself. The water continually deposits limestone on the sides and on the ground of its own channel, and so a wall grows higher and higher and has by now reached a height of more than 15 m. Such tufa runnels form naturally, even with normal karst water, but of course it works quite well with thermal water. In this case it's not completely natural. The theory is, that an Upper Paleolithic settlement created a simple ditch at ground level, which was most likely used to convey water to the settlement for daily use. Probably the only community in the Paleolithic with hot water from the tab.
The water originates from a thermal spring, or actually eight of them close together, and has a temperature of 35 °C and a high content of dissolved limestone. The springs exist for more than 200,000 years, as some of the oldest deposited travertine was dated 205,000 BP. The wall is up to 15 m high, but only 1 to 4 m thick. As the limestone is only precipitated along the watercourse it actually grows only upwards. But sometimes the water overflows, and a part goes down the outside and the wall grows thicker as limestone is deposited on the outside. There are holes in the rock wall, and considering the origin of the wall they must have been cut by man to allow crossing the aqueduct. They look quite natural though, as later dripping water from above covered the traces of the chisels with new layers of limestone.
There is a second channel which obviously grows very slowly. It is only slightly above ground level, at one point it reaches a height of about 1 m. Nevertheless, the channel is covered by a crust of deposited limestone with crystals and greenish colour due to the copper in the water, or probably due to algae.
There is a short walk starting in front of the Reina Isabel hotel, which includes the nearby megalithic dolmens of Alicún and the full length of the aqueduct. It has a length of 1.9 km and a difference in altitude of 50 m, with enough time to look and take pictures an hour should be enough. This place has a spring and is fertile, abundant vegetation within a wild and arid environment, it was inhabited by man since the Paleolithic. Remains from the Upper Paleolithic, Neolithic, Copper Age and Argar Culture were found.
Today the water is used by a spa named Alicún de las Torres, which offers a swimming pool, baths, mud therapy, and massages. This water was already used therapeutically in Roman times, during the Muslims occupation they added a hydraulic structure which still exists. When Granada was reconquered, the site was renamed Spa of Bracamonte by the Catholic Monarchs. The sulfate-bicarbonate and calcium-magnesium rich water is indicated therapeutically for rheumatism, the circulatory system, the nervous system, the digestive system and the skin.
The site is a Historical Monument and included in the Archaeological Zone, of the Megalithic Landscape of the Gor River (Asset of Cultural Interest). It is also a geotope which is protected by the Granada Geoparque (Grenada UNESCO World Geopark). This Geopark is located in the north of Granada, and covers the Basin of Guadix-Baza. During 5 Million years the endorheic lake deposited sediments from the surrounding mountains, half a million years ago the basin drained to the west and new streams carved out canyons, ravines and badlands. Another great geotope, only 2 km to the east, is the Discordancia Angular (rectangular unconformity). An unconformity is a border between to different rocks, which is visible because the layers have a different dip. Here is such a place, where the rocks were turned so the layers run vertical, then they were eroded to a plain, then new horizontal layers were deposited on top. The result are layers meeting at an angle of almost 90°, rectangular.