COTO DE LAS CANTERAS, OSUNA
Text and photography by Fiona Flores Watson
Natural sandstone auditorium and quarry in the hills above Osuna, formerly known as the Terrenos de la Antigua Ursa.
This is the origin of the bears in Osuna's coat of arms, as it is alleged the wild beasts used to come here to drink water. The pale golden sandstone of the quarry was used to build many of the town's magnificent baroque buildings in the 16th century.
Outside the auditorium, in the area where you first enter, is a curious garden on various levels, with palm trees, topiary, reliefs, sculptures and industrial relics, including machines from wine and olive oil-making. You can see a small panelon one sculpture stating that it dates from 2006.
The huge reliefs on either side of the entrance look prehistoric, and follow the style of Turdetan art (pre-Roman Iberian), but they are contemporary representations of symbols found at a nearby necropolis. The originals are in the Archaeological Museum in Madrid.
The magnificentspace inside is used for events such as concerts and weddings. The porous sandstone, which holds the humidity, means that the auditorium maintains the same temperature of 22 degrees all year round, making it an ideal venue for the hot summer months.
The Coto de las Canteras'reliably constant temperature has also made it an ideal, vast storage room for food in the past, such as sunflower seeds.
The ceiling is 25 metres high with 10,000m2 in total, accommodating an impressive 800 people seated or 1400 standing, making it the largest natural auditorium Spain. The relief sculptures are larger-scale (5 metres tall) versions of the one-metre originals which were found here. You can see grass discs hung on the wall, used to make orujo, olive oil paste and there's a small display of agricultural and olive oil-making equipment, such as donkey panniers and ploughs.
Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-2pm, and for special events.