World Heritage, a certification granted by UNESCO.
Important examples of prehistoric rock art
The paintings are some 14,000 years old and have the World Heritage designation.
The cave has an irregular shape and is some 270 metres in length. It has an entrance hall, main gallery and side hall, and contains some of the world's finest examples of prehistoric rock art. The drawings are some 14,000 years old and show bison, deer, boar, horses… They are painted using natural, red-coloured ochre and outlined in black. To ensure their conservation, the cave structure and paintings have been painstakingly reproduced, using the same painting techniques, in the Altamira Museum's Neo-cave. Visitors can marvel at the details of the great ceiling with its polychrome bison, and visit the painters' workshop, where they can hear an explanation of the techniques used to create this masterpiece of rock art.
- Construction: Caves and tourist mines
- Artistic period: Prehistory
- Setting: The town of Santillana del Mar is 2 kilometres away, and offers a variety of historical and cultural attractions.
In January 2014 a new research programme of experimental visits to the Altamira Caves was launched, consisting of only one group of five people a week with two museum guides.