Antequera, is located at the main crossroads of Andalusia and therefore known as the “heart” of Andalucia. It is a must for travellers to visit and see the real Andalucia. Its has a rich historical past, and has more than fifty churches and beautiful old buildings, dating from the eighteenth century.
It is very difficult to describThe three Antequera dolmens are amongst the most outstanding and universally recognized examples of megalithic architecturee in a few sentences the many centuries of history that include dolmens, collegiate, churches, convents, palaces, arches, doors, citadel, chapels, shrines, stately homes, mansions and even the urban fabric itself. But Antequera is attractive not only monumental, but also natural, with splendid landscapes such as the fertile Vega and El Torcal, amazing landscape that takes us back millions of years in the history of the planet.
Antequera: The town that’s ‘all heart’
PUBLISHED: August 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm • LAST EDITED: August 8, 2014 at 10:20 am
Andalucia, Columnists, Jack Gaioni •
The town surrounded by Andalucía’s Big Three cities is also at the centre of a ‘love triangle’, writes Jack Gaioni
THERE are many reasons why Antequera is known as ‘el Corazon de Andalucia’ (the Heart of Andalucia) and not only because it’s close to the region’s geographical centre.
The major cities of Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada and Malaga are all roughly equidistant from it, and a good system of east-west and north-south highways makes them easily accessible. In the very near future, when the high-speed Transverse Axis Rail passes through Antequera, it will be even more central.
Antequera also lies at the heart of Andalucia’s history. The town of 40,000 residents has a surprisingly extensive archaeological and architectural heritage. Europe’s largest Bronze Age dolmens (burial mounds) can be found on the outskirts. Recent archeological evidence suggests that Antequera had sophisticated cultural and economic ties with the Phoenicians, Greeks and Celts. Under the Romans, ‘Antikaria’ (its Latin name) was an important commercial centre known for its quality olive oil, hence the many Roman ruins you can see in and around the town, while a well-preserved alcazaba (fortress) speaks of its Moorish history.
Additionally, in the 15th and 16th centuries, Antequera was at the ‘heart’ of a flourishing arts scene, attracting many intellectuals, writers, humanists and clergy, resulting in an inordinate number of churches, convents, schools and civilian palaces. Collectively, it is not difficult to understand why Antequera has been assigned the moniker of ‘heart of Andalucia’.
But there’s another, less well-known reason. Antequera has a key place in the region’s literary tradition concerning ‘matters of the heart’, as home to more than a few enduring love stories. Consider the following examples.
Tazgona and Tello – Star-crossed lovers
Dominating the landscape of Antequera is an enormous limestone rock formation that soars 880 metres over the town. Known as Peña de los Enamorados, or Lovers Leap, this mountain crag literally lies at the heart of local folklore. One widely-accepted legend tells of an impossible love affair between a young Christian man and a seductive Moorish princess named Tazgona. During the Moorish-Christian conflicts of the 15th century, a Christian soldier named Tello was captured and imprisoned in the dungeons of the alcazaba. He was visited by the beautiful daughter of the Moorish King and the two were instantly smitten. Tazgona visited daily and the couple plotted Tello’s escape but both lovers knew that neither Arab nor Christian culture would welcome their union. One morning, they made their bid for freedom but the King sent troops in pursuit. Rather than renounce their love, the star-struck lovers chose to hurl themselves off the top of the Peña de los Enamorados into the abyss below. This romantic tale has been passed down through the generations as an integral part of Antequera’s oral tradition.
Santa Eufemia – Dream woman
Another local legend from the same century tells of a young Don Ferdinand (later, King Ferdinand) who struggled with the Arabs to gain military control of the fertile Antequera valley. One evening, while camped in the area around the Peña de los Enamorados, an alluring young woman with long hair, dressed in a white robe, appeared to Ferdinand in a dream. She implored him to ‘fear not’ and to show courage ‘because the sun rises in Antequera’. So bewitched was Ferdinand by his ‘dream woman’ and her message, he was inspired to march into Antequera the next day and conquer the town for the Christians. Locals believed the woman was Santa Eufemia and, from that day in 1410 onward, Santa Eufemia became Antequera’s patron saint. She is still worshipped in candle ceremonies throughout the community and the phrase ‘because the sun rises in Antequera’ is a popular local saying today.
Robert Southey – the Goldilocks connection
Curiously, another enduring love story associated with ‘the heart of Andalusia’ was penned by a famous English poet. Robert Southey (1774-1843) was a biographer, literary scholar and historian but, most notably, England’s Poet Laureate for over 30 years. He was a contemporary of William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Charlotte Bronte. Perhaps his most recognisable contribution to literary history is the children’s classic, The Story of the Three Bears, the original Goldilocks fairytale.
Southey made a habit of visiting Spain for what he called ‘poetic inspiration’. During one visit, he wrote a poem called Laila and Manuel in which he expands on some of the legends inspired by Antequera’s ‘Lovers Leap’, using the backdrop of the infamous limestone crag to tell his own version of a tryst between Christian and Moorish lovers. The poem has contemporary resonance and is still read by many British schoolchildren today.
While Antequera may lack the singular munificence of Granada’s Alhambra palace, Cordoba’s mosque or Sevilla’s cathedral, its rich history and romantic folklore gives it deeper significance as the ‘heart of Andalucia’. If you like to follow your heart, I can highly recommend a visit. Who knows what might happen!
Things to see and do:
Antequera Golf has an element in its design that is ideal for decoration as well as important to strcture the streest: the lakes. These also allows environmental care, since they collect rain water used to irrigate the field throughout the year
Currently Antequera Golf has 18 artificial lakes interconnected. Each pitch Street has been designed to delight of golfers.
Besides the golf course with lighted practice track, there is clubhouse with restaurant and cafeteria, shop, locker rooms, and everything necessary for the enjoyment of golfers in Antequera.
Dolmens in Antequera
The three Antequera dolmens are amongst the most outstanding and universally recognized examples of megalithic architecture.
It is considered to be the largest such structure in Europe. It is twenty-five metres long, five metres wide and four metres high, and was built with thirty-two megaliths, the largest weighing about 180 tonnes. After completion of the chamber (which probably served as a grave for the ruling families) and the path leading into the center, the stone structure was covered with earth and built up into the hill that can be seen today. When the grave was opened and examined in the 19th century, archaeologists found the skeletons of several hundred people inside.
The Menga Dolmen is located at the entrance to the town of Antequera. Access is via the A-45.
The MUNICIPAL MUSEUM OF ANTEQUERA is located in the Palacio de Najera in the Plaza Coso Viejo. Also in the Plaza Coso Viejo, is the equestrian statue of the Infante Don Fernando, who conquered Antequera in 1410. You will also find the Convent of Santa Clara Catalina de Siena.Museum is open Tuesday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
This former Moorish fortress (or ‘alcazaba’) standing guard on a hillside overlooking the city. As the Christian kings gradually regained control of central Spain from the Moors around the year 1212, Antequera became important as one of the defensive outposts of the Moorish Nasrid dynasty based in Granada. This old fortress held off various attacks for almost two centuries until the city finally fell to the Christians in 1410, with Granada following it in 1492
Day At The Spa
A wide range of services in facilities for health, fitness and leisure, all at a reasonable prices in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Directions: Ctra. de Córdoba km.120 – 29200 Antequera (Málaga)
Telephone : 952 84 49 34
Antequera Golf Hotel
Beauty, Health And Well-Being Spa
They offer many treatments from massage to body-wraps. Also within the spa you can have a Turkish Bath, Swedish Sauna, or take a swim in the indoor pool which has a jacuzzi.
Hotel Antequera Golf, c. Urb. Santa Catalina, s/n Antequera 29200, Malaga, Tel:- 34 – 902541540
Eating Out – Restaurants
Just outside Antequera
Wonderful restaurant – full on Spanish artefacts, unforgettable experience of true Spanish gourmet.
Caserío de San Benito
cruce carret. de Alameda (salida 86) E – 29200 Antequera
distance : 10 kmThis country restaurant occupies a building with an eminently Andalucian air, alongside a hermitage that now houses an e..1 opinions of online users Score average:Cuisine Traditional / Menu: 14€ – Carte: 22€/45€2
carret. A-7281 – km 4 E – 29200 Antequera
distance : 13 km0 opinions of online users Score average:Cuisine Traditional / Menu: 15€ – Carte: 25€/50€3
Parador de Antequera
paseo García del Olmo 2 E – 29200 Antequera
distance : 14 km0 opinions of online users Score average:Cuisine regional / Menu: 27€/ 48€ – Carte: 31€/50€4
urb. Antequera Golf E – 29200 Antequera
distance : 15 km0 opinions of online users Score average:Cuisine modern / Menu: 25€/ 95€ – Carte: 24€/47€
5 best restaurants
Ask us a question or tell us what you think...