Antequera town is a 45-minute drive from the city of Malaga and the street plan in its historic centre still harks back to the days when it was a Roman city.
Antequera is a pretty and prosperous town set in a remarkable and fertile landscape. It has a population of around 45,000 and more than two dozen religious buildings, as well as a fabulously preserved Alcazaba, (fortress), built by the Muslims when they were in control of the area.
We however like to introduce visitors to Antequera not for what it has to offer inside its street plan, but instead, for the monumental stone attractions that you find just outside of the town.
When the Romans arrived here, they called the area Antiquaria, meaning ancient place. This was due to the fact that there are three Dolmens in the outskirts Antequera.
Dolmens are man-made stone structures dating from the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age and were generally constructed as burial chambers or for ceremonial use. The larger of the three structures, named Menga Dolmen after the archaeologist who investigated the site in 1900’s, is thought to have been constructed around 3500 BC, (1000 years before Stonehenge), is twenty-five metres in diameter and four metres high, and was built with thirty-two stone Megaliths. The Vierra Dolmen is smaller and younger than Menga and was built just 50 metres away from its predecessor. Strangely, although the two Dolmens are so close to each other, they are not orientated in the same direction, with only Menga Dolmen orientated towards the imposing monolithic stone outcrop known as La Peña.
The youngest of the three Dolmens of Antequera is called Romeral and is thought to have been built between 1800 BC and 800 BC and exhibits a very different construction technique than its two older counterparts.
The Dolmens of Antequera were designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2016.
Antequera is located at the foot of the dramatic Sierra de Torcal. At the summit of the Sierra, we find El Torcal nature reserve, which is known for its unusual landforms, and is regarded as one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. The area was designated a Natural Site of National Interest in July 1929, and a Natural Park Reserve of about 17 square kilometres was created in October 1978.
We like to take visitors on a short walk in the park and introduce them to wonderful stone ‘statues’ that have been form by wind and rain erosion over the millennia. We often are lucky enough to see the wild mountain goats that roam this high plateau. The peacefulness and beauty of what nature has constructed is something that visitors never forget and another unique facet of Antequera and Andalucia.
Antequera has a lot to offer, but for us, its stone monuments, both natural and man-made, are what visitors must see here.
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