Lascaux Caves, France
The Lascaux Caves in Southwestern France is home to 600+ Paleolithic cave paintings which are predicted to be over 20,000 years old. The rare paintings are exceptional in quality and scale, they cover the walls and ceilings of the cave illustrating local fuana and large animals such as stags, cattle, felines, bison and some mythical creatures.
Archaeologists believe the caves were extensively used for ancient hunting and religious rites. The caves in Lascaux were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and from 1948 the incredible paintings were opened to the public and received 1,200 visitors every day. However, the opening of the caves to visitors ultimately damaged the caves too much.
The exposure of the cave paintings to artificial light and changes in air circulation resulted in a severe infestation of microbial and fungal growths. To protect the site and stop the vividly coloured designs from fading, they were forced to stop people visiting and closed the Lascaux Caves for good in 1969.
If you’d still like to see these special Paleolithic designs, they’ve now opened a replica of the Lascaux Caves close to Montignac village and next to the original site.