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ANTEQUERA

known as 'The heart of Andalucia' Antequera is our nearest large town

A visit to this historical Andalucían town of Antequera is a journey almost 5,000 years back in time, beginning with the Bronze Age and the native Iberians. The timeline is there to be followed in this fascinating city's profusion of burial mounds, dolmens, Roman baths, a Moorish Castle, Gothic churches, Renaissance fountains, bull ring and baroque bell towers.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

The privileged situation of Antequera, in the geographical centre of Andalucia, has made it one of the most important towns between upper and lower Andalucia, Granada and Seville. With a population of approximately 40,000 people, this busy market town was strategically important first as a Roman Anticaria and later as a Moorish border fortress defending Granada.

 

The first sighting of Antequera in the distance is that of a typical medieval town, with the spires of her many churches and the walls and towers of the great Moorish fortress silhouetted against the sky. Spread out in the valley below lie rich farmlands irrigated by the Guadalhorce River. For centuries this has been one of Andalucía's most fertile areas, and is currently a leading producer of asparagus, cereals and olives. In summer, its fields turn brilliant yellow with sunflowers.

 

The town and valley are overlooked by an enormous crag of limestone, 880 metres high, called La Peña de los Enamorados, or "The Lovers' Leap". The name comes from a local legend about an impossible love affair between a young Christian man from Antequera and a beautiful Moorish girl from nearby Archidona, who were driven to the top of the cliff by the Moorish soldiers, where, rather than renounce their love, they chose to hurl themselves into the abyss.

 

Antequera is a town of two styles. On the one hand the town is steeped in history but over the last few years it has become a very modern cosmopolitan town with it's many street bars and cafes as well as a very modern shopping centre.

 

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ALCAZABA DE ANTEQUERA

Built by the Moors, the ALCAZABA is a castle - CASTILLO - situated on a hill  overlooking Antequera. From up here, there are fabulous panoramic views of the  town, including the famous "La Pena" - Lover's Rock. From here you can see the area just as the Muslim guards did many hundreds of years ago. The approach to the castle is through a beautifully preserved archway, the Arco de los Gigantes built in 1585. From the Alcazaba you can visit the Torre del Homenaje with free admission and just below here you can see the Plaza Santa Maria.

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El Torcal

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Dolmen De Menga

EL TORCAL

 

El Torcal is a fantastic area of rock formations formed millions of years ago and is enjoyed by walkers of all ages. Formed during the Jurassic period, the 17 square km park sits high up at 1300 meters above see level. The area was declared as a National Park in 1978, El Torcal is one of the most wondrous natural sites in Andalucia and as such it is now being developed as a commercial tourist attraction. There are three well defined walks available at El Torcal, all starting at the Visitors Centre. The routes are marked with different colours on the rocks. For more information visit our Hiking section.

 

DOLMENS

 

Antequera is home to the most important Megalithic complex in Spain comprising of the three dolmens of Menga, Viera and Romeral which are three of the best conserved dolmens to be found in Spain. Tests date them to be between 2000bc and 3750bc. These burial sites were discovered over several centuries and were gradually  plundered and left in decline but have now been restored and are open to visitors. Records at the time show that they were  considered to be druid temples.


CUISINE

 

The quality of Antequera’s cuisine has given its name to two dishes that are famous and well known not only locally. The first is “porra antequerana”, the smooth,thick summer dish par excellence, made from bread, tomatoes and peppers among other ingredients; the second is “bienmesabe” a dessert whose name, which literally translates as “it tastes good to me”, says it all.Other famous foods from Antequera are the “mollete”, a type of bap that is perfect for breakfast, filled with sausage or our local olive oil. This is a treat that can be savoured in few places. At Christmas time, the local specialities are hand made sweets and pastries such as “mantecados” and “alfajores”. Take the opportunity to try our rice dishes, ribs, porra, aubergines or potato casserole. The French heritage can be seen in mallow stew and a type of black pudding with pork tongue with an aroma of cinnamon and cloves.

GOLF

There are few people who live in Andalucia, who do not know or have not heard of Antequera Golf. This course, situated right in the geographical centre of Andalusia, has set a new standard. It has enviable views; on its northern side you can see the plain of Antequera from above, while on the southern side, the golf course runs through the hills that lie in front of the Torcal Natural Park. For more information, visit our Golf section.

 

SHOPPING

The shopping area in Antequera is very good. It is spread around the centre of the town and is filled with a good selection of shops. There are many pedestrian streets in Antequera filled with boutique shops which makes shopping a pleasant experience.

Calle Infante don Fernando is commonly regarded as the main 'high street' of Antequera where you will find a selection of clothes shops, banks, tobacconists, restaurants and tapas bars, even if you are not a shopaholic it is well worth a visit as it is lined with some fantastic architecture. Not least at its' end you will find Plaza San Sebastian, which is at the bottom of the rather steep climb into what is commonly known as the old town and where you will find the Moorish castle overlooking the surrounding area.

 

Eroski, located in La Veronica Centre, on Carretera de Sevilla is a large hypermarket where you can find a large array of goods, either for your holiday or to take back home! 

 

 

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Alcazaba de Antequera

MARKETS

 

There is a colourful weekly street market held every Tuesday which is held near to the bull ring on Carretera del Albergue. It sprawls through the park and up to a large area on Carretera Sagrado Corazon de Jesus. There is a wide range of things available including fruit, vegetables and clothing. Well worth a wander!

 

On Plaza San Francisco is where you will find the covered daily market open until 2pm. Here you will find fresh meat, fish, vegetables and a range of other interesting bits, including a great spice store. It is a great place to watch the locals in action and it also has a bar in site if you fancy a drink. 

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RECOMMENDATIONS

 

There are many other fascinating monuments to be seen in and around the town, such as the recently excavated Roman baths, the magnificent Renaissance church of Santa Maria la Mayor Church, the Church of Nuestra Senora del Carmen, the 19th century bullring, and the Arch of the Giants, built in 1585, which leads up to the 13th century Moorish castle.

 

We recommend the Convento de las Descalzas, the Barefoot Carmelitas, on the square of the same name. Inside the heavy wooden entrance, there is a small counter with a display of bakery products and prices, next to a revolving wooden door. You pull a rope which rings a bell, and then hear a woman's voice say "Si", after which you give your order and place your money on the tray. The hidden nun then spins the tray around, with the pastries emerging from the door.

 

For more information regarding day trips in Antequera, please see our Excursions page.

COMMON SIGHTS OF ANTEQUERA

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Opening out onto our large 'Mountain Spring water pool', La Casita is a quaint little cottage which caters for 2 people. La Casita is open plan and consists of a fully equipped marble topped kitchen, double bed and bright airy shower room.  Perfect for romantic getaways. please click to find out more.

 

 

La Finca is Cortijo Las Olivas' largest cottage and caters for up to 5 people. Opening out onto our colourful Mediterranean courtyard, La Finca boasts a balcony with panoramic views of the mountains, pool and gardens, beautiful marble staircase and fully equipped kitchen, please click to find out more.

Opening out onto our large 'Mountain Spring water pool', La Casita is a quaint little cottage which caters for 2 people. La Casita is open plan and consists of a fully equipped marble topped kitchen, double bed and bright airy shower room.  Perfect for romantic getaways. please click to find out more