Cave of the Moon – Titulcia, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Cave of the Moon

Titulcia, Spain

Mysterious Spanish catacombs of unknown origins. 


Don’t go looking for the bathroom in Armando Rico’s restaurant unless you have a real sense of adventure. In most restaurants, you may accidentally wander into the kitchen, or a broom closet in an attempt to relieve yourself. In this small restaurant in Titulcia, you may stumble upon a deep manmade cave with unknown origins and an allegedly powerful psychic energy.

La Cueva de Luna, or Cave of the Moon, was discovered in 1952 by the restaurant owner Rico and his brother. With just a little digging, they discovered an entire underground world, complete with etched symbols, crosses and giant domed chapels. Although the archways and plastered walls seem to place the catacombs in the early Renaissance, the origins have remained a mystery since its discovery.

After descending into the catacombs, a series of domed chambers are interconnected below the earth by dark tunnels. With only candles available, light barely illuminates the buried deepness of the tunnels and offers only flickers of the strange symbols and crosses that bedeck the walls. Although there is a great deal of medieval art to analyze in La Cueva de Luna, the environment is hardly inviting to the average visitor.

Little exploration and archeology was done in the caves until the mid 1970s, when researchers from Germany began to analyze the underground world. They concluded that the caves and tunnels were laid out in a cross pattern, and suggested that the Cueva de Luna was a meeting location for the Knights Templar, a controversial Catholic group tied closely to the Crusades in the 12th century.

Further confounding an explanation for the cave, were the remains of Celts, Romans and other medieval peoples, which could suggest the cave served a whole range of other utilities. Visitors have added their own theories to the cave, as many have remarked feeling an eerie sense of power while within the cave. Others still have reported feeling a great sense of terror.

Despite evidence suggesting a more unique origin, some simply believe the cave was a warehouse. However, without ventilation, and with clear religious markings on the walls, this theory has held little sway with those who see conspiracy in these Spanish tunnels’ history. Rico has documented many of these theories in his own book on the cave, and with his permission, visitors can enter the cave through the back of his restaurant in Titulcia.

Update February 2019: Unfortunately, the caves collapsed due to water damage, so only a little part is still open to the public. The son of the founder will still show the caves, but you have to eat at the restaurant he opened 33 years ago to earn some money out of the caves. 

Know Before You Go

Accessible by car from Madrid

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August 23, 2011

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