Located right in the centre of Andalucia. Set in a rich, fertile plain is the market town of Antequera. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times and every generation, including the Romans have made their mark here. Some of the most important Roman Villa ruins have been discovered here. We stumbled across some being excavated at the top end of the town near the college. There are plenty of sights to be seen and it is known for it's abundance of places of worship, more than anywhere else in Spain. The famous bullring is worth a look. Antequeras' main industry is not tourism, although this is growing, it is an important area for olive oil production. The whole area around the town is covered with olive trees. The town has always hoped to retain it's individualism and image of true Spanish life. Malaga lies just 40km to the south, making Antequera an easy day out. Guided tours can be had around the museum which is located in the heart of the monumental quarter, within the 18th C Ducal Palace.
It is truly a sleepy place except on the market day of Friday when the place comes alive with shoppers. The town is also a bustling agricultural centre that attracts farmers from the surrounding villages who come to stock up with all their requirements. Spectacular views can be had, over the sea plain to the south, dotted with wild olive trees. Head to the top of the town to find El Portichuelo, the College and the Alcazabar.
Antequera's annual fair takes place third week in August. There is also an important agricultural fair in the first week of June with horses and other livestock. We witnessed first-hand the Semana Santa processions in the town, which occur every Easter, when Antequera explodes into colour.
Arco de los Gigantes
In the Giant's Arch (Arco de los Gigantes), see left, dating from 1585, there are various remains dating back to Roman times. Go through the arch to see the Royal College Church and the newly discovered Roman city. There is a wonderful bar and restaurant opposite the college.
The Arab castle dominates the town and from here panoramic views can be had. The White Tower and Keep are still standing and are splendid to witness. There are open parks and gardens to rest in at the top.
The municipal museum is housed in the Palacio de Najera, a fine 18th century building. Within the museum are fine exhibits dating from Roman and pre-historic times, as well as a good selection of fine art. The bullring has recently been reconstructed and still holds regular corridas.
Antequera's annual fair takes place third week in August. There is also an important agricultural fair in the first week of June with horses and other livestock. We witnessed first-hand the Seman Santa processions in the town, which occur every Easter, when Antequera explodes into colour.
On the edge of the town lie the famous Dolmen Caves, the most famous in Europe. They consist of funerary constructions dating from 2.500BC. They were discovered in 1905 by a local gardener and are now open to the public. The impressive caves are easy to get to and there is ample car parking close by.
Churches in Antequera
There are many fine churches in Antequera.
Archidona is a quite small, town located between Malaga and Antequera, within Andalucia.
The main attraction is the 9th century hermitage, located high on the hill, overlooking the town. The energetic walk from the town, those like us drive up. The road is a nail-biting experience but with care, is navigable. The views from the top are spectacular and there is a bar near the top if you need refreshments. Close to the hermitage you will find the old castle walls, partly restored.
At the end of May the town hosts the annual Dog Fair, the largest in the area and now declared of national importance. Thousands of dog lovers and dealers converge on the town to buy, sell and show off their dogs. Contact the tourist office for exact dates. If you do visit the fair, bear in mind the town becomes very congested and arrive early. The three-day event also includes a street event when the dogs are driven through the town, to the firing of rifles.
Within the town there are several churches and a few monuments. There are many places to eat and drink and several good hotels.
Just 13km away from the town of Antequera, in the north of the province of Malaga lies the sierra of El Torcal which is an extensive area covering 20km of rocks, carved into unusual shapes by natural winds. Upon arrival you need to visit the information centre where you will be given a geological explaination as to how this area became what it is today. The winds of thousands of millions of years have made their mark on the limestone giving rise to natural sculptures that have inspired artists for generations and the area has been the subject of many films.
It is probably due to the eery atmosphere of El Torcal that this area is also a favourite site for UFO spotting within Andalucia. The area is one of the region's most important natural places and as a result it was declared a natural park in 1979 in order to protect the wide array of natural fauna and wildlife.
More than 100,000 people visit El Torcal every year and this has prompted the building of a new visitor centre with cafes, toilets and a campsite. It is possible to either take an organised walk around El Torcal or make your own way. Which ever way you get to see it, you will certainly see a wide selection of wildlife such as rare birds of prey that have been released in the area. It is said that more than 20 species of mammals reside here including a good population of the Spanish ibex.
More than 600 varieties of fauna have been counted here, including 30 species of wild orchids, 6 of which are exclusive to El Torcal.
Walk through the stunning landscape which is also a favourite with rock climbers and splendour at the unusual formations that will be here long after we have gone.
Fuente de Piedra
Flamingoes have flocked again to Fuente de Piedra in their thousands. Thanks to the heavy rainfall this year, numbers have reached their highest for over 10 years with approximately 15,000 pairs of flamingoes descending on the lagoon. Of them more than 6,000 have offspring. Fuente De Piedra has the second largest colony of flamingoes in Europe.
Arco de los Gigantes
Fuente de Piedra
Fuente de Piedra