ANCIENT ANTEQUERA


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2014 tourist guide

Situated in the north of the province of Malaga, this region has always enjoyed a privileged geographic location. It is an area of great agricultural importance, the vegetables, cereals and olive trees from the fertile plain of Antequera being the main economical impulse to the expansion of local industry, with the help of excellent connections with the main Andalusian cities.

The scenic beauty of this region is particularly remarkable in two areas of special natural charm. The Natural Park of El Torcal is a wonderful example of calcareous landscape, where wind and water carve the most unusual shapes in the rocks and headlands to be found in its passages, towers and fences. It boasts over 665 botanical species, and 85 bird species stand out among its fauna. As for lakes, the Fuente Piedra lagoon gives shelter to the Peninsula's largest colony of flamingos, where they gather massively for nesting and reproduction. In good water conditions, up to 15,000 couples gather, and over 12,000 chickens hatch.

Antequera

This is an area of great monumental, artistic and archaeological value. Antequera, in particular, preserves the best proof of the coexistence of cultures throughout history. From the Neolithic we find the Menga, Rorheral and Viera Dolmens; from the Arabic times,the Castle and the Alcazaba (Arabic Castle); The Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary is the first emblematic Rennaisance monument; and churches and palaces dating back to the sixteenth century.

Deep-rooted fairs and traditions are the pride of the region, which hosts one of the oldest Passion Weeks known to man, when Images which date back to the sixteenth century, by some of the most renowned artists, are venerated along its roads and on its squares. The Ribbon Horse Races of Fuente Piedra are officially appointed Tourist Atraction of National Interest. Finally, a mention to its excellent gastronomy, with a special mention to "porra" (a cold vegetable sauce), "migas" (fried breadcrumbs) and the most traditional monastic desserts, such as "bienmesabe" (an almond, cinnamon and egg cream).

REGION

The Antequera's region is packed with towns with own charm, which have a great attraction to the visitor. At north and east are some at the most important towns. In Alameda the visitor can contemplate the Inmaculada Concepcion's church which was built at the end of 17th century. In this place is where is buried the famous bandit, Jose María "el Tempranillo".

ARCHIDONA, "white and steep", have a cared and typical neighbourhood which was declared Historical and Artistic set in 1980. This town offers to the visitors its beautiful Ochavada Square which was built in the 18th century, its parish churches and convents, and the patron saint's sanctuary who is the Virgin of Gracia. In Cuevas de San Marcos stand out its Evangelist church that was built in the 17th century, the Camorro's mountains that is the place where are located the Belda and Medina Belda's caves.

In HUMILLADERO the visitor can see the Santísimo Cristo de la Misericordia's parish church and its fašade, the Humilladero's Cross and the Sierpecillas's area. Fuente de Piedra, which is a settlement already known by the Romans because of the quality of its waters, is famous in Europe thanks to its salt lagoon. As regards Mollina, is Wine's Land but also offers important samples of religions art, for example the church of "Nuestra Señora de la Oliva" who is the patron saint, the Ascesion convent and the roman site of Santillana.

Towards RONDA, are located CAMPILLOS, that offers its beautiful Town Hall, the churches of San Benito and Santa María del Reposo, or Teba, where you could visit the archaeological museum, the Paloma's cave with Neolithic and calcolithic ruins and the Iberian settlement of Castillejo's hill. Ardales, which is located in the outskirts of Chorro's reservoir, is another beautiful and highland small town in whose surrounding area are located the Mozarabic ruins of Bobastro and the Gaitanes' narrow mountain pass.

The CARRATRACA's spa was place of rest and recovery at the most famous politicians and European writer at the 19th century as for example, Lord Byron or Eugenia Montijo. Finally, in CUEVAS DEL BECERRRO you can visit the Roman small town "Casa de las Viñas" and the ruins of the castle "Los Castillejos".

El Torcal

TORCAL NATURE PARK

Torcal de Antequera is a marvellous example of a karstic landscape, a "calcareous landscape". It is the most amazing one, not only in Spain, but in all Europe. Its surface area, including Sierra Pelada, is about 20 sq. km. Torcal Alto, with 8 sq. km, has passages, spires, towers, walls and the most varied and capriciously shaped rocks. All of them were formed by the water and the wind over thousands of years. Words cannot describe this magnificent sight.

The abrupt landscape with its grey and white rocks is a picture to be remembered. Its flora, which is scarce in summer, flourishes in spring or after the first rains in autumn. On the fissures of the high limestone faces or at the foot of the cliffs sprout striking peonies, brambles, numerous species of indigenous orchids and ivies, which cover the figures. Eagles, vultures, kestrels, owls and many smaller birds flyover us. Lizards, snakes and vipers may be found coming out from under the rocks. Visitors will not feel let down by El Torcal. El Torcal de Antequera became a protected area since 1929.

DOLMENS OF ANTEQUERA

The megalithic complex is formed by three burial constructions: Menga, Viera and El Romeral, belong to the Calcolithic or Copper Age (2500-1800BC), which was possible thanks to a great collective effort. A large workforce was needed and also a strong sense of co-operation among all the individuals of the social group. Also, a lot of time and effort went in to the work.

MENGA Dolmen.- 2500 BCE. Megalithic monument. It is perhaps the best dolmen example in Europe. Amazing blocks of stone were transported from the Veracruz quarry. It's an important dolmenic gallery covered with earth tu mu Ius and sandstone blocks.

VIERA Dolmen.- 2000 BCE. It is located in the same area and it is also a megalithic monument. It is extremely important. It is a covered gallery made up of an access corridor and a square chamber, which is reached by means of a door set into a monolith.

EL ROMERAL Dolmen.- 1800 BCE. It displays some innovations. It is designed by three rooms: a gallery, the burial chamber and a second smaller chamber for offerings. Both chambers are by means of a false dome.
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