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After half an hours drive from us you reach Antequera and the Andalusian plains open up in front of you.

 

 

The municipality of Antequera is one of the largest in size in Spain. The city has about 50.000 inhabitants while the whole municipality has 150-200.000. It has always been a trading centre because of the central location in Andalucía and was previously the administration centre. The city is protected by the mountain range of El Torcal in the south and east and the fruitful plains to the north and west.

Antequera was an important roman and gothic city, and during the muslim period it was a favoured spot for the Granada lords. After it fell to the christians in 1410, several centuries of renaissance and barock followed. In this "golden period" a large number of churches and convents were built and today there are about 60 churches in the city. A common explanation to this large number is that some were of the opinion that the people were a bit too festive.

Not much remains of the Alcazaba, the fortress above the city, but the view over the plains stretching north and west is fantastic. The cliff you see between the towers of the fortress is called "Peña de los enamorados" - "The lovers cliff". Ancient history tells the story of a young couple in love, the local Romeo and Juliet, who jumped from the cliff because they couldn't have each other.

The Easter week in Antequera is one of the most traditional in all of Andalucía. The artistic level of the religious statues is extremely high and include impressive barock elements. Two festivals are worth making a note of, the spring fair in May/June which focuses on agriculture and the August fair which attracts visitors from all over Andalucía. Both fairs offer bull fighting as well.

Other interesting things to see are some of Europe's largest graves made out of huge boulders. Dólmen de Menga (approx. 2500 B.C.) and Dólmen de Viera (approx. 2000 B.C.) are 1 km from the centre, while Dólmen del Romeral (approx. 1800 B.C.) is a couple of kilometers out of town. The inhabitants transported huge boulders from the hills around to construct these graves for their chiefs. Menga, the largest one, is 25 meters long, 4 meters high and is made of 32 boulders.