Many people have asked me "What is that building high up on the hill?", pictured above and seen as you drive towards Olvera on the main A-384 road from Campillos. Well, the building is the 16th century convent of Caños Santos. Invariably, the next question is "How do we get to it?".
Well, it's not that easy to find as it's not signposted from the road. A map here shows the route from Olvera. At point B on the map, make a turn off the A-384 to Alcalá del Valle. Continue along the road for about 6kms until you see a "crossroads" sign on your right hand side, 20 metres beyond which is a turn to the right, pictured above and point C on the map. This takes you along a dirt road through the olive groves.
About 200 metres along the track, the road forks. Take the paved road to the right, signed to Caños Santos below.
Follow the road into the grounds of the convent.
Within the grounds are the entrances to two grotto's where legend has it that after the Moorish invasion of Spain in the 8th century, local inhabitants hid an image of their patron "Nuestra Señora de Caños Santos". After the defeat of the Moors, the Virgen was re-discovered in 1512 and a small chapel was built on the site followed shortly after by the convent which was inhabited by Franciscan monks.
I wasn't brave enough to venture too far without a torch but there were plenty of cobwebs on the ceiling.
The views from the grounds are well worth the effort of finding the convent. Just stunning.
Not forgetting to fill up our water bottles from the fresh water spring of course.
The convent is no longer used for religious purposes, except for local fiestas, and is actually not open to the public after undergoing extensive renovation a few years ago. At what must have cost quite a few thousand euros or more, the intention was to turn the building into a hotel/spa complex but regrettably funding ran out.
Sadly, due to lack of use and occupancy, the building is deteriorating and it looks like vandals have left their mark. However, despite this the convent is still worth a visit for its tranquility, location and fantastic views. Oh, and don't forget that torch for exploring those grotto's.