Cueva de los Murciélagos


Useful Information

Location: Zuheros, Córdoba.
Motorway N-432 between Cordoba and Motril, turn on A-318 towards Lucena, after 4.2 km exit Zuheros, through city center, signposted. Teckets at the Bat Cave Eco Museum, 200 m before the cave.
(37.542036, -4.304009)
Open: APR to SEP Tue-Fri 12:30, 17:30, Sat, Sun, Hol 11, 12:30, 14, 17, 18:30.
OCT to MAR Tue-Fri 12:30, 16:30, Sat, Sun, Hol 11, 12:30, 14, 16, 17:30.
Prebooking through tourist office required.
[2021]
Fee: Adults EUR 9, Children (4-12) EUR 7, Children (0-3) free.
Groups (+): Adults EUR 6, Children (4-12) EUR 5.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=3,300 m, VR=75 m, A=976 m asl., T=9 ºC.
Guided tours: L=2,000 m, VR=65 m, St=700.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: D. Manuel de Góngora y Martínez (1868): Antigüedades Prehistóricas de Andalucía, (Prehistoric Antiquities of Andalusia).
Address: Cueva de los Murciélagos, Carretera Local Cueva de los Murciélagos, S/N, 14870 Zuheros, Córdoba.
Reservations: Oficina De Turismo, Plaza de la Paz nº 2, 14870 Zuheros (Córdoba), Tel: +34-957-694-545. E-mail:
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.

History

1868 first written mention in the book Prehistoric Antiquities of Andalusia by the archaeologist Manuel de Góngora y Martínez.
30-APR-1938 first official exploration of the cave by a group of army officers, discovery of a skeleton.
Mid-1940s Neolithic and Chalcolithic cave paintings discovered in the cave.
1962 archaeological excavation.
1969 archaeological excavation.
1990-1993 archaeological excavation by Profesora Beatriz Gavilan Ceballos under the patronage of the Ayuntamiento de Zuheros.
2002 archaeological excavation.
2006 Sierras Subbéticas Geopark approved as UNESCO World Geopark.
2014 cave surveyed by the G-40 caving group from Priego de Córdoba.

Description

The Cueva de los Murciélagos (Bat Cave) is one of hundreds or probably thousands of bat caves all over the world, including the one which was used by Batman as a hideout. This one is located in Spain, in the Córdoba region in Andalucia, and is actually home to an enormous number of bats. Nevertheless, renaming the cave Cueva de Zuheros would probably avoid a lot of problems.

The cave is inhabited by four species of bats. Small horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), large horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), split-eared bat (Myotis emarginata), and the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis).

Today the cave is located in the middle of the Sierras Subbéticas Geopark. It has some quite imposing stalagmites. The extensive cave, the largest cave in the province of Córdoba, has Neolithic rock paintings.

The entrance section of the cave is called Vestíbulo de la Cueva Grande (Vestibule of the Great Cave). The Neolithic inhabitants lived in this entrance section which was in the reach of outside light and warmth. The cave is known for millennia, was inhabited from the mid-Paleolithic period through to Roman times, but generally only the entrance section was explored. During excavations tools, bones and "almagra" ceramics, named after the red colour almagro (iron oxide), were found. Also necklaces and bracelets made of sea shells. The fact that the Andalusian Neolithic began a millennium in advance of what was believed at that time, was one result of the excavations. Deeper inside the cave is the santuario (sanctuary) or zona religiosa (religious area). This part of the cave contains several Neolithic and Chalcolithic cave paintings. On the first exploration of the cave in 1938 a human skeleton was discovered in its deepest parts. In 2018, the DNA of this skeleton was analyzed. It is said to be one of the first farmers in the Iberian Peninsula with an age of 7,245 years.

The Sala de las Formaciones (Chamber of Formations) and the Sala del Organ (Organ Chamber). Both have numerous speleothems. The most famous is called El Espárrago (Asparagus), for obvious reasons: it is 4 m high but only 10 cm in diameter.

The cave was surveyed 2014 by a local caving club, which resulted in a total length of 3.3 km. Only a section of less than 450 m is developed for the show cave, but the tourist trails in this section have a total length of more than 2 km. That's the reason why there are different numbers given on different webpages.

The cave is located on the top of the mountain behind Zuheros. The road CV247 leads in serpentines up to the cave, a 4 km drive. After 3.5 km you reach the Ecomuseo de la Cueva de los Murciélagos (Bat Cave Eco Museum). This is also the ticket office for the cave. From the parking lot at the end of the road, which is also a great outlook, it's only a 60 m walk to the cave entrance.