Located in the heart of Andalucia, Antequera is at a cross roads of the routes from Seville to Granada and Malaga to Cordoba. The small city has a rich history, full of Romans, the Moors, Poets and noble families, all of which have left their own unique stamp. Topped by a fortress (the Alcazaba) and filled with over thirty churches, beautiful buildings and stunning views, Antequera is incredibly well maintained and has kept it’s traditions alive. You will also find the popular tourist attractions of El Torcal Natural Park and the Antequerra Dolmen sites.
We arrived in Antequera at the Dolmen site of Menga and Vierra just 1km before the centre of Anteqeura, easily accessed from the A92 from Granada. The site is gated, the opening times are 9.00am-7:30pm Tuesday-Saturday, until 3.30pm Sunday and admission is free.
The Dolmens are mind boggling, in that during 2500 BC, huge slabs of stone, including one massive stone weighing over 150 tonnes, were framed together to make burial chambers. Strangely reminiscent of Stonehenge, once inside the burial chambers you really do marvel at Copper Age man’s engineering skills. There are panoramic views to the North and East, with the imposing ‘Lovers rock’ dominating the view.
The city of Antequera is only a short drive away from the Dolmens, we parked next to the Granada Gate and viewpoint of the El Rey Gardens and walked up the Carrera de Madre Carmen.
It is an easy city to navigate, as the ever present Alcazaba (Fortress), perched high above the city, guides your way. If you need a detailed map, there is a tourist information centre in Plaza San Sebastian. Climb up the steps from the Carrera de Madre Carmen and enter the Alcazaba through the Giants Arch.
The Alcazaba is open 10.00am-7.00pm Monday-Saturday 10.30-3.00pm Sunday. There is an option to buy a combination ticket for €6 to gain entrance to the church of Santa Maria and the Alcazaba. The price includes a historic audio guide, which is a little lengthy but very informative; not that we got a chance to listen, both boys were fascinated with the ‘phone’ and the audio guide kept them busy for the majority of the visit!
At the far end of the site are the towers and battlements which you can explore. From the highest tower, containing beautiful clock workings and a big bell (yes it does work, so check the time before you climb up), the views of Antequera are superb.
Santa Maria church is a charming building and worth the visit simply to marvel at the ceiling’s intricate interlaced wooden beams.
As Antequera is famed for it’s mollete bread, it seemed an obvious choice for a quick lunch. Oh and a decadent ‘cannon’ pastry, more than enough for all of us to share; yum!
We then headed to Najera Palace, which now houses the museum of the city, the Museo de la Ciudad de Antequera is open 9.30-2.00 4.30-6.30 Tuesday-Friday 9.30am-2.00pm Saturday 10.00am-2.00pm Sunday and costs €3 per adult.
The museum hosts an eclectic collection, ensuring that all who visit will find something they like here. It really is excellent. The first floor contains some amazing Roman treasures including the ‘Efebo’ bronze statue. (Found in a villa in the 1950s), the second floor contains medieval sculptures and jewels. The top two floors contain works of two local artists Fernandez and Toral. The boys particularly loved the museum and the variety of exhibits on display. Even a very tired Mayhem, who refused to nap and ran through the museum at top speed, a little too quickly as he managed to throw himself on the floor and chip his two front teeth! The museum is a bargain and definitely a must-do for Antequera.
Antequera, another gem of Andalucia! Also check out our post on El Torcal National Park, just 12kms out of Antequera, where you can experience an other worldly landscape and follow some excellent walking/hiking trails.
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