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La Academi@
  Contemporary Realist Painting

A tradition to keep alive
    Today, these Centennial caves are precious and silent witness of a winemaking tradition that dates from ancient times in these Castilian lands. They keep inside some of the large clay vessels in which wine and musts from grapes pressed in the adjacent wineries were stored.

The jars, also known as "tinajones" or "gigantas" when they were made 3 meters high, were entirely handmade pottery in the area, using local clay extracted through wells practiced in the fields. Not only were used to store wine, but also to preserve olive oil and a variety of solid products such as cereal grains. Caves like these used to be dug under the houses, drawing labyrinthine tunnels in various directions and at various levels. The huge jars could contain large quantities of wine, both for private consumption and to sell its production to the market. The caves were being dug as needed. While new tunnels opened, certain sections collapsed or were closed.


View of the caves and vessels of La Academi@ after restoration


Subsoil environmental conditions [temperature, darkness, silence or humidity] much more stable than on the surface, favoring the temp control during fermentation, maceration or food preservation.

More modest caves, popularly called fresqueras, were also built as part of the needs of a family home. It was the most sustainable way to keep agricultural products at reasonably cool temperatures in a peninsular region with extremely dry summers where temperatures can exceed 40 ° C. The subsoil moisture is not due to rainwater, but groundwater circulating through these limestone lands, sometimes outcrops through small springs or large aquifers. In these villages, the water extraction well was usual.

Ventilation ducts caves also served to cool the most exposed to heat rooms, acting as a modern air conditioning. By contrast, the same thermal sensation of coolness in summer, becomes warmth in winter, when temperatures drop below zero on the surface. The stabilized temperature of the caves, just over 10 º C, is experienced as heat or cool depending on the season


From the exhibition rooms you have access to the cave and a small cinema


Opening hours:
From Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 6pm
[free entrance]

La Academi@
Calle Canteras 18. Chinchón 28370 - Madrid [España]
Tel.: [34] 91 893 51 68


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Earth colors


The jars industry in the Mediterranean Culture
The archeological remains reveal that the manufacture of large clay jars in Mediterranean culture dating from the Bronze Age, with the Minoan pithos and later with the great Roman dolium. In the Iberian Peninsula jars became known as tenaias and are still known in Italy as giaras [which reminds us the Spanish word jarra]. Unlike smaller vessels or traditional amphorae used for shipping, the jars have no handles and have a wide mouth neckless. We are talking about spherical or oval containers that were used to store large quantities of agricultural products such as wine or olive oil. To macerate, age them or preserve its qualities, the jars were partially buried up to his mouth, sometimes kept into labyrinthine subterranean caves.

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