La Cueva de las Brujas

La Cueva de Zugarramurdi

Useful Information

Location: Near Zugarramurdi
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:  
Address: Las Cuevas de las Brujas, Tel: +34-.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Cueva de Zugarramurdi. Public Domain.

La Cueva de Zugarramurdi (Cave of Zugarramurdi) is named after the nearby village Zugarramurdi. But the more common name of the cave is La Cueva de las Brujas (the Witches' Cave). The huge chamber is once a year during summer soltice the location of a sort of witches' service, an event is called Aquelarre or Witch Coven. The festival commemorates the alleged witches who died by fire during the Basque witch trials of the 1600s.

The cave was said to be the meeting place of witches during the Spanish Inquisition. It was reported that the witches of Zugarramurdi met at the meadow of Akelarre (Basque for meadow of the he-goat). Even today aquelarre is the Spanish word for a black sabbath. The cave is also called la cueva del akelarre. The inquisitors believed there was a widespread witch cult in the Basque region. In 1611 the junior inquisitor and a lawyer Alonso de Salazar Frías travelled through the area and offered pardon by an Edict of Grace to all those who voluntarily reported themselves and denounced their accomplices. He collected 2000 confessions and 5000 denounciations.