THE OLD CITY OF ANTEQUERA AND ITS DOLMENES

Antequera, also called Antikaira (old city) by the Romasn, is a town located 30 kilometers from Malaga. It lies 575 meters above sea level and has an area of 814 sq. kilometres.  Because of its unique location, being at the main crossroads of Andalucia, Antequera is also known as the “heart of Andalucia”.

Coming from Torremolinos, we drove up to this city, having the main objective of visiting El Torcal. But of course, the city of Antequera is also worth a visit, what with its many attractions and monuments. We parked our D’Traveller in a parking area specially reserved for motorhomes, located infront of Edificio de Juzgado, behind the football stadium. The parking area is free, and on top of it, there are services such as clean water and emptying of chemical toilet.  It is about I kilometre walk to the city center, which can be reached by walking past a nice park along Paseo Real.

Campsite : 43 Avenida Miguel de Cervantes

                   29200 Antequera

Coordinates :  N : 37.02145    W:  4.57184

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Our campsite in Antequera

THE OLD CITY

A quick visit to the old part of Antequera gave us an impressive view of the city. It has an air of being an medieval town, which was probably caused by the presence of the old fort or castle, the Alcazaba, and the numerous monumental and religious buildings scattered around the city. The best place to get the best view of the city is to climb to Alcazaba, the old castle. The town underneath is in good view, plus the imposing Lovers’Rock or Pena, a big mountainrock which resembles a face of a sleeping woman. We did not however enter the Alcazaba and the big chuch found in the same plaza, as it would cost us an easy 12 euros again! Hans and I just explored the city, walking in some narrow streets, passing white-washed houses and a lot of religious buildings, which most of them were either closed at that time, or were asking entrance fees, that we were not able to visit even one of them. Imagine, there were at least 20 churches, convents and chapels in the city, and we did not visit a single one! That was one for the record for us!

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View of the Alcazaba

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View of the city

Anyway, we spent the rest of our first day here with just walking around, doing a lot of window shopping and spending some time in the local café. What we missed was the big shopping center just outside the city limits, the La Veronica, which we happened to pass   when we drove away going to Torrox.

THE DOLMENES DE ANTEQUERA

The Dolmenes de Antequera, which were built about 6500 years ago, is an archeological complex in Antequera which is composed of three Dolmens : Dolmens of Menga, Viera and El Romeral.

The Dolmens, which is Spain’s candidate for World Heritage Site for 2015, is a complex of stone buildings or megalithic structures consecrated for burial and religious rituals. It is a very good example and best preserved megalithic building in Europe.

Our visit to the site begins with a short documentary film and reconstruction of the Dolmens in Antequera. From the film we saw how the people from early years built these fascinating dolmens using  limited tools and resources. After the film we went out of the visitor’s center and walked on to the two dolmens which were situated in the area. The first one was Dolmen of Viera.  It is  a grave with long alley and with a small square room at the end.

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Entrance to Dolmen of Viera

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Inside the Dolmen of Viera

The next Dolmen which just about 50 meters away was the Dolmen of Menga.  This dolmen has a square port of entry that leads to a wide rectangular room. At the end of the room was a deep weel which is about 19.5 meters deep.

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Entrance to Dolmen of Menga

The third dolmen, the El Romeral is situated 4 km away from the two dolmens. So we went here with our camper on our way  to Torrox Costa. El Romeral is a big grave with a false dome. The stone walls of the hall are made of stacked up natural stones and has a flat ceiling. It was not allowed to walk on top of the dolmen because there was a risk that the ceiling would fall down.  El Romeral is the biggest dolmen among the three.

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The Dolmen El Romeral

Visiting these three Dolmens of Antequera has given us a deeper insight on how the people of yesteryears have lived. We have deep admiration for these people in a way that they have lived simply and yet were still able to construct something which they have given to us as legacy. Those people were intelligent and had strong sense of community and sense of responsibility. To build such structures with their bare hands, applying only good common sense and creativity was really commendable! And it also showed how much they honor their dead and how rituals were important to them, to go to too much extent or trouble in building these mega structures of massive stones! Walking inside these dolmens was just like walking back in time, feeling the energy of the workers, hearing the mantras they were chanting during rituals, seeing them performing some strange dances while honouring a dead member of their community, and being present during their planning and community gatherings. It was time of camaraderie, where orders were being obeyed, where leaders stood out from the rest, where respect was shown to everyone; where tradition was fully alive, and where life was fully respected.

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