Cuevas de la Villa

Cuevas de la Plaza de la Villa de Requena


Useful Information

Location: Plaza de Albornoz, 6, Requena
(39.485701, -1.101110)
Open: All year Tue-Sun 12-14, 17-19.
Closed on 01-JAN, 06-JAN, 24-DEC, 25-DEC, 31-DEC.
[2020]
Fee: Adults EUR 4, Children (0-18) free, Students EUR 3, Seniors EUR 3, Disabled free,
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 3.
Combi tickets +1 EUR per additional museum, validity indefinite.
[2020]
Classification: SubterraneaCellars
Light: electric.
Dimension: H=50%, T=13.7°C
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Cuevas de la Villa, Plaza de Albornoz, 6, 46340 Requena, Valencia, Tel: + 34-962-306-018. E-mail:
Concejalía de Turismo, Ayuntamiento de Requena, Plaza Consistorial, 2, 46430 Requena, Tel: +34-962-301-400, Fax: +34-962-303-553. 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


Description

The Cuevas de la Villa (Village Caves) are a series of cellars below the village Requena. The village was built on a deposit of tufa, which was deposited by limestone rich water. The tufa is very porous, and while it is still in the ground it is humid and rather soft. So it was rather easy to dig cellars with picks and saws. The removed material when cut into blocks and dried in the sun becomes hard and is a very good building stone, not only hard but also a good insulator and much lighter than other rocks. The houses were built with the rock which was excavated below.

The insulation of the rocks was welcome to keep the houses cool in summer and warm in winter. The temperature in the cellars was much higher than modern refrigerators, but nevertheless it was better to stored food and wine in the cellar at a constant temperature. The cellars were even used to produce wine abd sometimes they were used as hideouts. The caves were quite important during the 12th and 13th centuries. But for some reason they were abandoned during the 17th century and were forgotten. At this time all houses were demolished and the Plaza de la Villa created. It seems the caves were filled, at least partly, with the debris of the demolition. The cellars were rediscovered in the 1970s and were cleaned from the rubble and connected. Antonio Monzó was among the volunteers and he was quite important for the recovery of the cellars.

There are a total of 22 cellars under the Plaza de la Villa. Below the old Town Hall, which was built in 1685 and was demolished in the mid-19th century were the Pósito de Requena (Requena stores). Those were communal stores were grain was stored in good years. It was then given to the farmers in bad years, for eating and as seeds. The grain was stored in special bell-shaped caverns, which were filled through a hole in the ceiling and then sealed.

Some caves have wells, which were used to provide drinking water for the house above. Others were used to store wine in huge ceramics jars. And there was one cellar with a winery which contained the necessary spaces to crush the grapes and to press them.