Located on the north face of Monte Castillo in Puente Viesgo, the Cantabria Cave Art Centre covers an area of 1,300 square metres and was created to manage and promote the region's prehistoric heritage.
It comprises three spaces organised around a semi-open courtyard. Built out of pure materials like concrete and stone, the building is conceived as a public resource where visitors can see, explore and enjoy all the natural and cultural assets of this privileged site.
The permanent exhibition, located in the main wing of the building and with an area of 500 square metres, is developed around the fundamental questions that arise when we contemplate and try understand Palaeolithic art: What is it? Who made it? When was it made? Where is it located? How and why was it made?
Spread across three exhibition halls, the itinerary invites visitors to immerse themselves in the world of Palaeolithic art and find answers to all of these questions.
The Centre also comprises an auditorium, a reading room, a cafeteria and miscellaneous services.
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The art of the Upper Palaeolithic is the main contribution that the people who lived in Cantabria between approximately 40,000 and 13,500 years before present made to universal culture. The permanent exhibition at the Cave Art Interpretation Centre tells the story of that contribution.
It is a story articulated around the fundamental questions that any of us would ask as we immerse ourselves in the contemplation of Palaeolithic art and try to understand it; a story that connects us with the authors who decided to express on different media their thoughts about the world in which they lived. Their art is manifested not only through the first-known engravings and paintings on cave walls, but also through the small portable objects carved on bone, antler and stone that have appeared in the archaeological record.
The exhibition presents Palaeolithic art in connection with the natural spaces where it finds its true meaning, through a narrative centred around the ten caves in Cantabria included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Thanks to the studies and investigations carried out in the vestibules and galleries of those exceptional caves and others in Cantabria, today we can reconstruct the life and symbolic world of the people who lived in them.
The exhibition clearly illustrates that we who live today share the same concerns, preoccupations and desires as those who lived in a different time and expressed them with different tools, but ultimately in the most human way we know.