Last modified: 2010-03-20 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: spain | andalusia | malaga | antequera | coat of arms |
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image by Blas Delgado, 18 Oct 2005
Size: 810 Km²
Residents known as: Antequeranos
Monuments: Church of San José y Belén; Colegiata Santa María la Mayor; Palace of Nájera; the Dolmen of Menga.
Geographic location: In the centre of the Antequera plain, 45 kilometres from Malaga.
Tourist information: Municipal Tourist Office, Pza. de San Sebastián, 7.
Phone: 952 702 505 Fax: 952 702 505
Antequera, 45 kilometres from Malaga city, is reached by taking the main autovía out of the capital towards Granada, watching out for the sign at Las Pedrizas. The valley opens out before us as we descend down into it, and Antequera is just off to our left on the road to Cordoba. This is a large plain rich in cultivation and with many typical Andalusian-style farmhouses surrounded by olive trees and cereal crops.
The entrance to the town is close to La Peña de los Enamorados. With more than 800 square kilometres, this is the biggest municipality in the province of Malaga, bordering the province of Cordoba to the north and with the Mountains of Malaga to the south. The El Torcal mountain range is closest to the town itself, and with the passage of time, erosion has made this area into one of the most interesting and beautiful in all of Andalucía. Shell and marine-life fossils have been discovered in the valley, which tells us that the area was covered in water millions of years ago.
The Peña de los Enamorados is left behind us as we head into the town and this hill is rich in legend and history. One legend tells of the bodies of two lovers buried at the foot of the hill, he Christian and she Moorish, who had fled to the peak to escape from their angry families, and finally threw themselves off in a suicide pact. True or not is unimportant, because this hill, bordered by the river Guadalhorce, arouses the stuff that legends are made of in all of us. The privileged situation of Antequera, in the geographical centre of Andalucía, had made it one of the most important towns between upper and lower Andalucía, Granada and Seville.
It is a modern town these days, complete with all the services and shopping facilities one would expect in a large town, but it also has a past rich in culture and history that is, perhaps, unequalled in any other southern Spanish town of its size. There are many archaeological remains from the Bronze Age, such as the dolmens at Menga, Viera and El Romeral, all burial grounds of the highest order. It is believed that the Iberians, the Tartessus tribes, the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians all settled here at one time or another, and Carthaginian remains have been found at Cerro León, where the battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians of Asdrúbal took place. The Moors later named the place Medina Antecaria. After the conquest of Seville and Jaén, Antequera took on great strategic importance as a military frontier fortification. It was conquered in 1410 by the infante Don Fernando, known in the history books as Don Fernando de Antequera.
The 19th century was tragic for Antequera. Its population was decimated by the Napoleonic invasion and the yellow fever of 1804, and it was not until 1830 that a prosperous middle class emerged as a result of the growing textile industry. This sector was to suffer once more in the beginning of the 20th century. Antequera is now a modern town that is ideally placed to receive tourists, in which history still lives in its numerous monuments and historical buildings.
Blas Delgado, Oct 18 2005