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The Cave of the 100 Pillars in the Cerro de San Miguel in Arnedo (La Rioja)

Arnedo (La Rioja) / The Cerro de San Miguel, in Arnedo (La Rioja), houses the Cave of the 100 Pillars, a cave complex excavated by man and with columbariums that is considered one of the most important in Spain and southern Europe.

According to the Arnedo tourism councilor, Raúl Domínguez, it is “one of the most extensive”, preserved and valued in the Spanish territory and in southern Europe, which is why it is already included in the Cultural Routes of Spain and in the Cultural Itinerary of the Council of Europe Roads of Rock Art.

Its galleries, with their numerous holes and niches -colombaries- are reminiscent of burials for cinerary urns and those used by the Romans to place the ashes of those who fell in battle, says the Mayor, who advances that the declaration of this area is planned archaeological site as a Site of Cultural Interest.

The mystery of its origins

In 2015, the Arnedo City Council opened a very small room to the public and, the following year, opened another five, in which the history and uses of these cavities, whose origins and uses “remain a mystery”, is recounted.

The remains found in the hollows of these cavities point to their last use as dovecotes, but also as a refuge for the population that inhabited the Cidacos Valley, before the invasions of barbarians at the beginning of the Middle Ages (year 476).

“It is also said that, most likely, this entire complex of galleries and chambers could constitute the ancient cave Monastery of San Miguel, in the 11th century”, which emerged as a hermitage, according to this councilor of Arnedo, a city with some 15,000 inhabitants and known for its footwear production.

A journey through time

In 2019, with an investment of 200,000 euros, the City Council worked on a second phase and converted the complex into an Ethnographic Interpretation Centre, recently inaugurated, which recreates the origins of this heritage in a “more sensory experience”.

Thus, when arriving at the old deposit, excavated in the rock, at a depth of 40 meters, any visitor can recreate the history of water, while experiencing a sensation of walking through the flow of water, thanks to the sound and optical effect given to this space.

Other cavities recreate the life of the primitive hermits and monks of that cave monastery, with the sounds of the prayers they practiced, their customs and the cells in which they slept.

The desk of one of those hermits is striking, as we hear the sound of his pen on parchment; and in another area we see a monk praying, kneeling, surrounded by dozens of skulls in the hollows of the wall.

Or, when arriving at another of the cavities, one is immersed in the smells and sounds of the mixture of dried herbs, which were used to create the medicinal or curative remedies of the inhabitants of this place. (summary of the article by Pilar Mazo for EFE / PracticaEspañol, April 19, 2021)

(Revised Automatic translation)

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Question 1
El texto trata...
de un grupo de hombres que está actualmente excavando en unas cuevas de una localidad española.
de una cueva y de los posibles usos que pudo haber tenido en el pasado.
del reciente descubrimiento de unas cuevas con pinturas rupestres en una localidad española.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que...
se desmiente que la Cueva de los 100 Pilares haya sido excavada por el hombre.
no solo se han hallado huecos sino también nichos en la Cueva de los 100 Pilares.
los expertos aún no tienen claro si alguna de esas galerías fueron excavadas por el hombre.
Question 3
Según el texto...
acaba de hallarse unos documentos que demuestran que esas galerías se excavaron antes de la llegada de los romanos.
no se descarta que esas galerías hayan podido constituir un antiguo monasterio.
es poco probable que las galerías de esas cuevas hayan sido utilizadas como refugio en el pasado.
Question 4
Tras leer el texto entendemos que...
el Ayuntamiento de Arnedo acaba de declarar esa zona como Bien de Interés Cultural.
se ha recreado cómo era la vida de los monjes que estaban en el monasterio rupestre de San Miguel.
aún no se ha habilitado ninguna galería para que pueda ser visitada por el público.
Question 5
En el texto se dice que...
el Ayuntamiento no ve necesario recrear los sonidos que pudo haber en el pasado en esas galerías.
en una de esas cavidades se recrea también el sonido de un eremita escribiendo en un pergamino.
es poco probable que los visitantes puedan oír algún sonido en alguna de esas cavidades.
Question 6
En el vídeo se ve que...
hay una cama antigua.
apenas hay huecos en las cavidades.
no hay ningún objeto que se pueda utilizar en una cocina.
Question 7
El término "óptico" hace referencia al sentido...
de la vista.
del tacto.
del oído.
Question 8
En el texto, "complejo" hace referencia a...
algo que es muy complicado y difícil.
algo que está muy alejado de un lugar.
un conjunto de instalaciones.
Question 9
Por definición, ¿a qué hace referencia el término "rupestre"?
A la madera.
A una roca.
A un metal.
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