Lonely Planet Writer

Spanish scientists campaign for permanent closure of Altamira cave

Cave painting found inside the Altamira cave.
Cave painting found inside the Altamira cave. Image by Graeme Churchard / CC BY 2.0

Scholars have written to Unesco begging it to force the Spanish government to close Altamira cave, which is home to some of the most important Paleolithic paintings in the world. The cave, in northern Spain’s Cantabria province, was reopened to small numbers of weekly tour groups in 2014 after being closed since 2002 because it had been found that visitors were causing the fragile paintings to deteriorate.

An impressive replica of the cave was opened at the site in 2001 so that tourists could see the paintings while the originals remained protected. Scholars argue that reopening the cave, even to small numbers of visitors, is a threat to its conservation and politically motivated. Altamira’s board of trustees is due to meet to decide the future of the cave in the next few weeks. Read more: elpais.com