Stil jete

'Tourists' have been visiting this European country for over 40,000 years

'Tourists' have been visiting this European country for over 40,000

European tourism is as old as time. In the 19th century, Americans would go to Paris to buy their clothes. By the 1700s, places like Venice and Rome were becoming essential tourist stops in Italy. In the classical era there were, famously, the seven wonders of the world.

However, none of these compare to a cave in southern Spain that has been visited by humans for over 41,000 years.

Cueva de Nerja is a three-mile series of caves in Malaga province, southern Spain. They were first discovered in 1959 by five friends looking for bats. Today, visitors can take a 45-minute tour of the "public gallery" to see fantastic formations of stalactites, stalagmites and speleothems - shapes and structures caused by mineral deposits.

But thousands of years ago, visits were made for more spiritual reasons. So far, 589 prehistoric paintings have been discovered in caves. The spaces were also used for burial rites.
In a new study for the journal Scientific Reports, researchers from the University of Córdoba have proven that cave visits go back much further than expected - and that Cueva de Nerja "hosted" the most prehistoric visits of any European cave with Paleolithic art.