Church of San José
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.
to be visited|
1 The Dolmen Complex
Antequera has the oldest dolmen group in Europe, the Dolmen de
Menga, with the Viera and the
El Romeral completing the complex. The size of the stones used
in these structures is truly amazing. Route
2 Churches and Convents
There are about thirty religious buildings in Antequera, between
churches and convents. The most
important of these are the Real Colegiata de Santa María
de la Mayor and the Church of San Sebastián. This latter one was
built in the Renaissance style,
as were the churches of San Juan and San Pedro. In the
Baroque style we have the churches of El Carmen, los Remedios,
Santiago, Madre de Dios, San
José, Belén and San Juan de Dios. The
economic and social advances made in Antequera during the
Renaissance and Baroque periods
meant the establishment of a large number of religious orders
in the town at that time, among them the Carmelites, the
Dominicans, the Augustines and
many more. Various order of monks too set up house here, as
we can see in the monasteries of San Zoilo, in the Gothic style,
and the Iglesia Real del
Monasterio (San Francisco), now a national monument. The
Palacio Consistorial was a monastery belonging to the Order of the
Padres Terceros in the 17th and 18th
centuries. The Convento de San Agustín, in
whose church there are architectural elements from three different
centuries, is another important
building to be visited in Antequera.
Route 3 Ancestral Homes
The wealth of ancestral homes in the town is evidence of the
economic well being of the
place in Renaissance and Baroque times. The present-day Municipal
Museum was once the Palace of Nájera, one of the most important
in the town, situated between
calles Cantareros, Tercia, Laguna and Lucena, all in
the Baroque style. Other important ancestral homes are the Casa
del Marqués de la Peña, with
its urban Castillian fortress, towers at the corners
and various Mudejar elements; the Casa de la Marquesa de las
Escalonias, with an interesting
mannerist entrance; the Casa de los Colarte, with
a Baroque entrance, now the Provincial Government Museum; the Casa
del Barón de Sabasona, one of
the most original of the frame facade houses typical
of the town; the Casa del Marqués de Villadarías, with a
three-part doorway made in warm
reddish stone from Torcal, and the Casa de los Serrailler,
built in 1929 to a neo-Baroque design by architect Aníbal González.
Torcal de Antequera
El Torcal is a Nature Park of 11.7 sq. kms with one of the most
curious limestone formations in
all of Europe. The origin of this lies in the fact that
the area was covered in sea-water, about 150 million years ago.
Natural erosion has carved the
landscape into rock shapes known as "The Screw",
allowing the imagination to create what one wants out of it,
whethern it be a fantastic
castle, a human or animal shape or anything else. There is
also a large variety of plant life here, with 664 different
species. And with 116 different
species of fauna in the area, between vertebrates, reptiles,
amphibians, birds and mammals like the fox and the mountain goat,
this is an authentic natural zoo.
Reception Centre: 952 225 800 (closed on Mondays).
Municipal Museum. Plaza del
Coso Viejo, s/n. Tel: 952 704 051. Closed on Mondays.
Tuesday to Friday timetable: 10 to 1:30 and 4 to 6 p.m., open
Saturdays from 10 to 1 and Sundays and
festive days from 11 to 1.30 p.m.
Bullfighting Museum. Plaza de
Toros. Tel: 952 702 676. From 10 a 1.30 p.m., Saturdays,
Sundays and festive days.
Convento de Las Descalzas Museum.
Tel: 952 841 959.
Casa-Museo de la Diputación.
C/Maderuelo, 18. Tel: 952 840 561.
Restaurante El Escribano. Specialising in traditional
cooking. Plaza de los
Escribanos, 11. Tel: 952 706 533.
Restaurante El Farito.
Specialising in breakfasts and home cooking. Maria Cristina
complex. Tel: 952 700 270. Antequera.
Restaurante El Angelote.
Specialising in potato stews, Antequera porra, mushroom
omelette. Plaza del Coso Viejo (beside the Municipal Museum). Tel
952 70 34 65.
Restaurante La Espuela. Plaza
de Toros de Antequera. Tel: 952 703 424. Antequera.
Bar Carrera. Specialising in
traditional breakfasts and varied tapas. C/Carrera,
18. Tel: 952 841 878.
Mesón Restaurante Finca Eslaba.
Carretera de Córdoba, 123. Tel: 952 844 934 and
952 845 382.
Restaurante El Faro.
Specialising in wood-barbecued meats. Autovía, 92, Km.156.
Venta Las Delicias.
Specialising in game. Ctra.las Pedrizas, Málaga-Granada. Tel.
952 742 432.
Specialising in Antequera porra, gazpacho and loin steaks.
C/Calzada, 25. Antequera.Tel: 952 840 014.
Caserío de San Benito.
Specialising in typical dishes of the region. Ctra. Málaga-Córdoba,
Km.108 (Alameda cross-roads) Tel: 952 111 103.
Parador (3*). Paseo García Olmo, s/n. Tel. 952 840 261. Fax. 952
Hotel-Restaurante Las Villas de Antikaria(3*). Avda.Cruz
Blanca,3.Tel/Fax 952 844 899
and 952 845 621. Internet
Hotel-La Posada del Torcal(3*). Partido de Jeva. Villanueva de la
Concepción. Tel. 952 031 177. Fax:
952 031 006. Internet
Hotel Papabellotas (3*). C/Encarnación. Tel.952 705 045 Fax: 952
Hotel Las Pedrizas (2*). Ctra. Madrid-Málaga Km.527. Tel.952 730
850 Fax: 952 730 852.
Hotel-Restaurante La Sierra(4*).
Autovía A-45 Km. 134. Tel/Fax 952 845 410 Fax: 952
Hotel Castilla(2*). C/Infante Don Fernando, 40. Tel: 952 843 248.
Hotel-Restaurante Lozano. Avda. Principal, 2. Industrial Estate.
Antequera. Tel/Fax: 952 842
Hotel Molino del Saydo(2*). Autovía A-92, Salida 142. Tel: 952
Hotel Colón(1*). C/Infante Don Fernando, 31. Antequera. Tel: 952
Nuevo Hotel Infante(1*). C/Infante Don Fernando, 5. Antequera.
Tel: 952 700 293.
Hostal-Restaurante El Polígono. C/Efebo, 8. Industrial Estate.
Antequera. Tel: 952 845 216.
Hostal-Restaurante Manzanito. Pza. de San Sebastián. Antequera.
Tel: 952 841 023.
Hostal La Yedra. Ctra. Sevilla-Málaga. Tel: 952 842 287 Fax 952
Hostal Bella Vista. C/Cuesta de Archidona, 27. Tel: 952 841
Hostal El Número Uno. C/Lucena, 40. Tel: 952 843 134.
Hostal Reyes. C/Tercia, 4. Tel: 952 841 028.
Pensión Toril. C/Toril, 3. Antequera. Tel/Fax: 952 843 184.
Pensión Madrona. C/Calzada, 31. Tel: 952 840 014.
Accommodation in the province of Malaga
Two young climbers in
which the townspeople turn out in force to celebrate the death and
resurrection of Christ in a tradition that goes back to Baroque times.
popular too is the Spring Feria, which takes place from the end of May to¡the
beginning of June. This is, in fact, a type of preparation for the
Feria in August, which attracts people from far and wide. In
there is top-level bullfighting.
One of the most traditional festivals in Antequera is Holy Week, during
The two best-known dishes of Antequera are enjoyed far beyond the borders
this municipality: the
traditional Porra Antequerana, a dish based on bread,
tomato and pepper that is eaten in summer, and
the dessert known as
bienmesaba, made from white of egg and syrup,
both quite delicious at any
time of the year. Then there are the famous
molletes, bread rolls that are
usually eaten for breakfast with meat or olive
oil. At Christmas the people
of Antequera like to eat the mantecados, a
type of cookie made with olive
oil, and the
traditionally-made alfajores, puff pastries.
being the biggest municipality in the province of Malaga, Antequera
is also one of the richest in its variety of tapa on offer. One can
choose between the delicious rice-based dishes, the spare rubs, the fried
egg plants, the potato stews, the Antequera porra and many more. The area
is famous for its meat produce, those highly flavoured sausages that come
in all shapes and sizes.
The tapa has an interesting history, whose story goes like this: in days
gone by, the workers would head for the nearest
bar after a long day¹s work in the
fields, and there would drink fairly large quantities of alcohol. This
has an adverse effect on their capacity to continue working the next day,
and so one of the Spanish kings of the time came up with the idea of providing
them with some kind of solid food to accompany the alcohol and alleviate
its effects. A small piece of food with every glass, he thought, might
be the answer, and it was. At first the portions were of slices of sausage
or meat, becoming in time known as ³tapas², and soon all types of delicious
titbits were served with the glass of wine.