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Spain Inland Locations-Guide

Information about Antequera

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(40.181 inhabitants) Màlaga province

At the foot-hill of the sierra del Torcal and opposite the rock of the Enamorados, this prehistoric and noble city shows the tourist the wealth of its artistic inheritance.

History

Funerals remains more than 4.500 years prove the organized settlement of the city, at least, from the beginning of Brass Age. It was a Carthaginian fortress and the Romans called it Antikiria that means “old city”. During Arab age its name varied a bit to Antaqira. In 1410 it was conquered by Fernando, the infant of Castilla, after this action he was known as “el de Antequera”, and the same who, years later became to be the king of Aragòn with the name of Fernando I.

After the Arab dominion there was a vast demographic and urbanistic growth that lasted until mid XVI century. It was an important focus for humanists and poets of influence in baroque literature.

Equally from this period are most of the monumental buildings, religious as well as civilians, which construction stopped in XVIII century, and the village remained with this aspect till today.

In XIX century, the agrarian middle class benefited the creation of an industrial centre of fabrics that, however, it was abandoned soon to go back to the traditional agriculture. Nowadays, Antequera is mainly an agriculture village, but with a strong part of industry and services.

Gastronomy

Mainly agriculture based, it has as starters the ajoblanco and the porra, a variation of the salmorejo. Strong dishes are the papandujas of bacalao, the migas, the maimones and the patas, cooked dish of pork legs with chickpeas and other products from the orchard. As dessert, the mantecados and the bienmensabe, cake of almond of mudèjar origin.

Craftsmanship

Iron and glass lamps are traditional, the embroidery from the convents and the regional costumes.

Festivities

The Semana Santa is brilliant. There are parades during the whole week. One of its highest moments takes place on the night of Holy Friday in the San Sebastiàn square, where the despedida ( farewell) between the brotherhood of Dulce Nombre de Jesùs and the Santa Cruz in Jerusalèn.
During the 2nd week of august they celebrate the Fiestas de la Recolecciòn which attracts a vast amount of visitors.

It is to point up the Concurso Hìpico Nacional  (National horses contest), the cattle market  and the bull fights.

September the 8th is the festivity of the patron saint,  Nuestra Señora de los Remedios.

The Carnaval, forbidden during Franco times, has now a vast participation of the neighbourhood.

Urban life

Flamenco and bulls are two of the likings of the people of Antequera. Around the bull ring the modern city is spreading and the business, that today it is situated along the street Infante don Fernando and its vicinity.

The young people have a meeting place at the Casa de la Cultura, located in street Carretero, with important activities as cinema, music, theatre, etc. during the week.

Visit

On the top of the city we find the Arab alcazaba and the remains of city walls. There are some towers still standing like Estrella and Torre Blanca and mainly the homage one, named by the antequeran people Papabellotas, crowned from 1582 by a bandstand that keeps the bell of the city.

In the lower part of the gardens of the castle, in the square of the Escribanos it is situated the beautiful monument colegiata de Santa Marìa la Mayor and the arco de los Gigantes. The colegiata is a powerful temple from 1550 formed by 3 naves of ionic columns with mudèjar cover. It is to emphasize the splendid renaissance and the gothic mudèjar vault of the main chapel. The arch, from which enjoys a nice view of the city, raises opposite the colegiata as continuation of the wall. The construction belongs to Francisco Azurriola and it was dedicated by the people of Antequera to Felipe II in 1585.

The barrio del Coso Viejo is one of the most characteristic places of Antequera. Labyrinth of small streets, with the traditional antequerans houses of 2 or 3 floors, white and many holes on the façade, mainly balconies.

We reach this place coming down the castle by the Cuesta de San Judas and the Zapateros, both with steps.

The parish of San Sebastiàn raises in the square of the same name, creating together with the renaissance fountain, the arco del Nazareno and some private houses one of the most interesting urbanistic forms of the city.
At its back, the iglesia de la Encarnaciòn, from the XVI century.

In the garden square of the Coso Viejo, it is situated the Museo Municipal, old palace of  Nàjera, built in XVII century with its splendid  torre mirador.This museum keeps a large collection of archaeological and historic works, like  Efebo de Antequera, roman brass from the I century found in these lands.

In the street Infante Don Fernando is situated the Town hall, old convent of the Padres Terceros with a cloister built at the end of XVII century, and the staircase, finished in 1745. The façade, apparently baroque, is form 1953.
By this the Iglesia de los Remedios which is dedicated to the patron saint of Antequera, built in XVII century.

A place of great interest is the plaza Del Portichuelo, built mid of the XVIII century and takes its name from the capilla-tribuna de la Virgen del Socorro, called popularly El Portichuelo.

In this square we can find the Iglesia de Santa Marìa de Jesùs, simple and white, with stork nests in the belfry.

Surroundings

At 13 kms on the road to Villanueva de la Concepciòn is situated the extraordinary stone ensemble of El Torcal.

Very near the city, at the foot of the Cuesta del Romeral is situated a megalithic ensemble very remarkable, formed by 3 magnificent dolmens.
The dolmen de Menga is the oldest and biggest amongst the 3 of them. From the year 2.500 a.C. and it is a kind of artificial cave built with huge blocks of stone of 180 tons that form a gallery of 25 m long by 6.5 m wide and 2.70 m high, and in its end there is a sepulchral chamber.

The dolmen de Viera is approximately 100 years younger than the previous and is formed by a long gallery at the end of which the sepulchral chamber is situated, and consists of a cube of 2 m of edge.

The dolmen del Romeral, finally, is from year 1.800 a.C. More complex than the other 2, its walls are made of masonry, it has a circular funeral chamber of 5.20 m diameter. The vault of the false dome of east influence, is the first of this kind built in Europe.