A little history of Jonas caves
Home sweet home
Imagine a vast medieval troglodyte site dug in the volcanic rock… we discover here about 60 rooms on 5 floors, linked by corridors and staircases…
We have the jail, the stables… everything they needed to wage war!
And everything for the daily life: an oven, latrine, bedrooms… and for the prayer: the Romanesque chapel of Saint-Laurent with its 11th century fresco.
The caves used to house 600 persons, in the 14th century! Not to mention all the cows, sheeps and hens… the food safe!
A shelter in the rock
Primitively, Celts dug those caves.
Then, men settled in the Middle Ages: first monks, then lords who fortified those caves and fit them out more comfortably: they opened windows, added latrines…
The stone is very crumbly, so, easy to work. And caves were a safe shelter against the crooks’ gang who plundered the area in the medieval times.
The tradition says Templar knights, already settled in the area, moved here after their sentencing in 1309.
But… in 1223, the caves owner, lord Dalmas de Jaunac, gave them to monks of Chantoin, in Clermont-Ferrand.
Caves were Jaunac’s fief: besides, Jonas was named after this lord! But caves were abandoned in the 17th century, and the commune of Saint-Pierre-Colamine owned the place during the French Revolution...