Spain opens access to Caves of Altamira

Spain opens access to Caves of Altamira

14/08/2011 00:00
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Kiwi travelers will soon have the chance to glimpse some of the world"s oldest cave drawings, if Spanish officials" new plan goes off without a hitch.
According to the Associated Press, the Spanish board of tourism plans to reopen the country"s famed Caves of Altamira after eight years of restricted access. The caves are noteworthy for containing prehistoric cave drawings of bison that scientists have said date back 20,000 years.
The caves were discovered in 1868 and became a major draw for Spanish tourism, but scientists soon discovered that visitors" breath and body heat were damaging the paintings. The government limited access to the caves in 1982 before shutting them down completely in 2002. The caves are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Spain"s governmental research body, the CSIC, investigated the situation in April and recommended the caves remain closed. It was a decision that the Cantabria region"s president, Miguel Revilla, disagreed with, telling the news source that Altamira was "an asset we cannot do without."
While Revilla and the cave"s directors plan to reopen the site soon, they will again limit the number of visitors per day in an attempt to keep the paintings in good condition.

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