Andalusia is the southernmost autonomous community in Peninsular Spain. The southern coast of Spain belongs completely to Andalusia. This includes the southernmost point of Spain at Gibraltar, while the peninsula itself is a British enclave. The name is derived from the Arabic word Al-Andalus (الأندلس). It appeared first in 716 on dinar coins which were inscribed in both Latin and Arabic.
Andalusia is not only one of the bigger regions, it is also very rich in caves. There are several karst areas, some of which are protected by law. The Sierras Subbéticas Geopark was approved as UNESCO World Geopark in 2008 and is mostly a series of limestone hills and mountain ridges, uplifted during the Alpine orogeny. The limestone is karstified and there are numerous caves, gorges, sinkholes, and poljes. The cave cadastre of the park contains more than 700 caves.
This southern part of Spain is also famous for a long tradition of building cave houses, which was lately revived, because of the high costs of energy. The province of Granada has the largest cave dwelling population in Europe. Property developers have transformed hundreds of untouched or partly re-formed cave houses into modern holiday and second homes. Modern cave houses are much larger than the old ones, having ten or more rooms. There are three separate concentrations of cave houses, the historic Albaycin and Sacromonte neighborhoods of Granada City, Guadix and Baza. The Albaycin and Sacromonte are adjacent hillside neighborhoods, both of which form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Alhambra Palace.