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Aracena

Aracena is a town in the northeast of the province of Huelva in southwestern Spain.

Aracena is a quiet town with its white houses situated in a semi-circle dominated by the ruins of a castle and a church.

Aracena is located in a mountain area in the Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche, with much unspoiled nature. There are many pine trees and cork oaks in the area, but the main characteristic is that of a striking number of chestnuts.

The Gruta de las Maravillas is a cave system located under the hill on which the castle of Aracena stands. It is one of the most spectacular cave systems in Spain. There are several caves and underground lakes connected by corridors. The Salón del Gran Lago is 70 meters high and contains the largest lake. You will find beautiful stalagmites and stalactites in the whole system. Coloured lighting and music provide a special effect. In the complex there is a geological museum.

The castle that dominates Aracena on the hill was built in the 13th century on the place where a Moorish fortress once stood. The only remains are the defensive walls. From the castle you have a great view over the whole valley. Next to the castle is the old church, the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de los Dolores. The church is built in a Gothic-Mudejar style by Templars in the 14th century. The tower dates from the 16th century and has the same Almohad sebka masonry as the Giralda in Seville.

The nature scene around Aracena is ideal for long walks. There are several paths that lead to the most beautiful parts in the nature park. Especially during the fall the area is amazing with the beautiful colouring of the leaves. The area is also great for cycling, horse riding, canoeing and rock climbing.

The Museo del Jamon is an interesting place for those who want to delve into the production process of ham. The museum is not very big, but it does include audio visual images and an overview of the different choices of ham.

You can also have a guided walking trip around the city. It takes you along the most interesting places of the city. The chapel Emita the Santa Lucia from the 15th century, the Church of Santa Catalina from the 14th century, the town hall, the Arias Montano Casino and of course the castle and the church on the hill. The tour ends with a visit to the caves.

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