La Cueva del Agua is also known as Gruta de las Maravillas and Cueva de la Virgin de Tíscar,
Cueva del Agua tunnel Quesada
La Cueva del Agua, also known as Gruta de las Maravillas and Cueva de la Virgen de Tíscar, is in Quesada municipality in Jaen province, about 13 kms south of the town.
Access to the cave is via a set of steep steps that lead from a small car parking area, down into the ravine formed by the Rio Tiscar. A 10 metres long tunnel, only 1 metre high in places, takes you into the cave itself. Although called a cave, it is actually open at the top. Sunlight filters down from above and stalagmites and stalactites decorate the walls. There is a profusion of green fern that enjoys the indirect light and moisture.
Cueva del Agua overlooking Tiscar
Within the cave there is a 20 metre waterfall, cascades and numerous votive offerings. The cave has long been a sacred place.
A legend was born in 1319, when the nearby Castle of Tiscar was under siege by a Christian force. The defender of the castle, Mohammed Andón, saw a vision of the Virgin of Tiscar who advised him to surrender to avoid further deaths on both sides. Mohammed declined and, enraged, took a statue of the Virgin and threw it into the Cueva del Agua. Mysteriously the statue re-appeared in her shrine. Seven times Mohammed threw the statue into the cave, only to have it return each time. Finally he broke the statue apart with his cutlass and threw the pieces into the cave. A short time later the Christians took the castle and recovered the pieces of the statue. They were taken to Toledo to be repaired but the Virgin miraculously returned to Tiscar.
The cave has wonderful acoustic properties and, each year since 1993, recitals of Andalusian, Celtic, Flamenco, Andean, Sephardic and Renaissance music, among others, have been enjoyed.
The walk is short, only about 500 metres but it is all steep going down and back up. The steps are cut into the rock and there is a handrail. The cave is at its most awesome one day after a rainstorm. After heavy rain the steps in places become a cascade - so be warned.