Discover things to do in Antequera, visiting the dolmens and the fortress.
In this article, I would like to share with you all the beauty of this small town that deserves a lot of attention – Antequera – an authentic treasure chest in the world of travel. Antequera can be visited in just one day, and it will remain in your memory forever. Antequera is the heart of Andalusia with a rich cultural heritage.
Things to do in Antequera in 1 day
If you decided to spend a day in Antequera, one of the must-see things in the town is the fortress of Antequera. The visit implies climbing the stairs to the fortress towers, which must be taken into account, therefore, it is not recommended to visit the place during hot weather and in uncomfortable shoes. You can also enter inside the towers, unfortunately, we were not be able to do this in 2020 due to the covid restrictions. A wonderful view opens up from the towers to the city and the rock Peña de los enamorados (Rock of the lovers) which reminds us of a human head. Antequera is always associated with this mountain – it is like a sleeping giant protecting the town.
Interesting facts about the fortress of Antequera
- It is believed that the fortress of Antequera has existed since the Roman times, and was later rebuilt during the era of Muslim rule. The exact date of the construction of the fortress is unknown.
- After continuous clashes between Christians and Muslims, the fortress was badly damaged. After the King Fernando III conquered Seville in 1248, it was necessary to fortify the area of the fortress and build most of the walls, as Antequera remained a strategic military base on the border to defend against the Sultanate of Granada.
- The town and its fortress were finally taken by the Christians during the capture of Antequera, a battle that lasted five months in 1410. The victory was recognized as “the greatest triumph of the Christians between the Battle of Salado and the conquest of Granada.“
- The most important tower of the fortress is the donjon, it is one of the most important towers among the Andalusian Muslims. In 1582, a stone and brick chapel was built in the tower, which contained the town’s main bell.
- In 2019, the Netflix series The Warrior Nun was filmed here (also at the catholic church Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, also in Malaga and Marbella).
Dolmens of Antequera
The next must-see place must be an archaeological complex of dolmens in Antequera.The entrance to the complex is free.The only thing that spoiled our visit (2021) was a large queue to the dolmen due to the small capacity of the dolmens and, of course, covid safety precautions.There are three dolmens in total in the complex.
Dolmen is an ancient stone structure, usually in the shape of«П», which was used for ritual ceremonies, as well as a place of burial for noble people.
You can feel all the mysticism of this extraordinary place here. Dolmens of Antequera is a great ritual center built in the first half of the 4th millennium BC.NS. The builders of this megalith expressed its symbolic connection with the earth elements and the cosmos through lines of the axes of its corridors.Thus, the Menga dolmen is oriented towards such a geographical landmark as the mountain La Peña (The rock of the lovers).
Viera dolmen is located next to the Menga dolmen. The date of construction of the Viera dolmen is unknown, although it is believed it was probably built in the late Neolithic period, after the Menga. The dolmen was used as a place of worship and burial during the Copper Age, Bronze Age and Antiquity.
Dolmen Tholos de El Romeral is the third dolmen of the complex and it is located in a distance of a few km from the others. Its axis points exactly to the highest point of the Torcal mountain, Camorro de las Siete Mesas. They believe that, due to its shape, the Tholos de El Romeral dolmen is related to the Copper Age (c. 3200-2200 BC), but due to the fact that this monument has never been excavated, it is difficult to know an exact date of its construction.
I would also include a visit to the museum of the town of Antequera as a must-visit in Antequera. The museum is located in the historical center in the 18th century Naher Palace. Contains an interesting collection of objects of the prehistoric and Roman times. Entrance fee is 3 euros.
Where to eat in Antequera
You can have a very goof lunch in the center of Antequera, in restaurants with a “Mesón” brand, for example, in Mesón Coso Viejo. Restaurant prices are very fair in this part of Spain.
History of the Rock of the lovers
This enigmatic mountain in the form of a human head, also called the “Indian of Antequera”, is surrounded by a romantic aura. According to a local legend, a young Christian was captured in the lands of Granada during the Middle Ages and was sent to serve in the home of a rich Moorish family. He fell in love with the master’s daughter, who loved him back. Forced to keep their love a secret, one day the lovers got tired of hiding their feelings and they ran away.
The girls´s father could not allow such dishonor for his family. He chased the couple until they were cornered on the top of the Rock of the lovers. Desperate lovers chose to commit suicide by throwing themselves from the top of a cliff than to give up. The tragic outcome of this story shocked both the Arab and Christian kings, who eventually decided to finish the war between themselves.