Santimamiñe Cave is located near the Hermitage of San Mamés (Santimamiñe), on the south side of Monte Ereñozar, a conical hill with another hermitage, San Miguel, at its top. The hill is part of the limestone mountain ridge bounded on the east by the River Oka and the Ria of Guernica. It is therefore very near Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. Holm oak woodland surrounds the cave entrance.
Regional Archaeological Context:
Santimamiñe Cave is one of the prehistoric caves on the Bay of Biscay. Other sites in the Basque Country are Ekain, Altxerri and Isturitz. The nearest caves with rock art to Santimamiñe are, in the east, Ekain and Altxerri in Gipuzkoa (32 and 45km away respectively) and in the west, Arenaza and Venta de la Perra in Bizkaia (42 and 67km away).
Archaeological evidence at the site:
The cave has a large group of Upper Palaeolithic paintings and engravings. The figures are in three parts of the cave: 1. First chamber in the main passage, 30m from the entrance. It has only three figures of which only an ibex can be identified clearly. 2. a) Antechamber and b) Chamber, with most of the paintings in the cave: signs, bison and horses painted in black. 3. Deep Zone, with a further four figures, of which only a horse and a bison are clearly visible.
The paintings are fund in three small panels in the main passage and a small side passage consisting of corridor called the Antechamber and a final Chamber, which has most of the art. Above all, the Chamber has numerous figures of black bison accompanied by a horse. In general they are not very large figures and not too carefully painted, but they are very characteristic of Magdalenian art in north Spain and the Pyrenees.
Themes and techniques: In total the cave has about 50 figures, painted with charcoal or engraved. The figures represent:
Magdalenian, 14,500 – 12,000 years ago (Upper Palaeolithic).
Type of Site: Cave and Visitors' Centre
Address: Cueva de Santimamiñe, Barrio Basondo s/n, Kortezubi (Bizkaia)
Telephone: 944 651 657 / 944 651 660
State/Region: Pais Vasco
Town: Barrio de Basondo
Location: Southern slopes of Monte Ereñozar
Information and contact:
Basondo Auzoa s/n Kortezubi, Bizcaia.
For the guided visit the previous appointment is necessary calling at telephones (+34 94 465 16 57/+34 94 465 16 60), email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in situ, in the information office.
http: // www.santimamiñe.com
Open from Monday to Sunday.
Summer schedule (15/04 to 14/10):
10:00 to 14:00 hours and 15:00 to 19.00 hours
Winter schedule (16/10 to 14/04):
From 15/04 to 14/10
Visits from Monday to Sunday at this hours: 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 15:30, 17:00 and 17:30.
From16/10 to 14/04:
Visits from Tuesday to Sunday at this hours: 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 and 13:00.
access for handicapped persons:
Type of visits:
Duration of the guided visits:
Maximum number of people for group:
Individual: 5 €
3 Euros for person in group (minimum of 10 and maximum of 20) 2 Euros (over 65 years, unemployed, colleges)
Free: up to 6 years
Booking and access:
At San Mamés Chapel, a sophisticated 3-D virtual replica allows the whole cave to be viewed, so that its formation and morphology can be understood and its Palaeolithic prehistoric art, which can not be visited directly for conservation reasons, can be admired.
The visit takes 1 hour 30 minutes. It begins at the Information Point, next to San Mamés Hermitage. From there, visitors are accompanied by a guide to the cave entrance. Only the first 50 metres of the cave can be viewed for conservation reasons, and the rest of the cave is closed. The archaeological excavations, which were re-started a few years ago, can be viewed at the entrance to the cave.
Nearby cultural destinations:
Town of Guernica.
Nearby natural destinations:
Oma Forest, the forest painted by Agustín Ibarrola. Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. Laida and Laga beaches.
Accommodation near the site:
Morgota Baserria (Country house en Basando)
Bº Basondo, Basondo 48315.
Tel: 946 25 27 72 - 608 67 38 11
Basondo, 48315 Kortezubi.
Tel: 946 252 772
Restaurants near the site:
Santa Ana, s/n. Kortezubi.
Tel: 946 253 999
Basondo, 8 - Caserío Lezika (Cuevas de Santimamiñe)
Tel: 946 252 975
Barrutia, 2. Kortezubi