I learned on our visit to Andalusia in Spain that it doesn’t have to be inevitably the grand Alhambra of Granada to find ancient remnants of the Moors in Spain. We found the quaint historical town and World Heritage Site of Antequera coincidentally, when we returned from visiting the nearby natural reserve of El Torcal.
Antequera lies 160 km from Seville and 102 km from Granada, elevated over a fertile valley full of asparagus, cereals, sunflowers and olives, irrigated by the Guadalhorce River. A Moorish fortress or Alcazaba silhouettes against the sky while it wakes over the medieval town.
Sweating blood I maneuvered our rental vehicle along white-washed houses through a network of narrow alleys passed parked cars up to the parking lot on top of the mountain. The side-mirrors had to be swung in to cross safely.
Antequera took us back on a journey of almost 5’000 years back in time to the Bronze Age and the native Iberians, followed by ruins of Roman architectural testimony like Roman baths.
At the edge of the town center some of Europe’s largest and oldest burial chambers built with huge slabs of rock (dolmens), from around 2500 BC to 1800 BC can be found.
More than thirty churches from Gothic to Baroque style give the town the nickname ” Florence of Andalucía “.
Weird to me was the habit of firing canons in regular intervals of only five minutes which scared the shit out of a visitor’s dog which started to scream in fear just next to us.
I wasn’t to pleased by this tradition myself which in my opinion doesn’t have any use in modern times. Hopefully for four and two legged inhabitants it’s just a rare event which we oddly happened to experience coincidentally. Doves and other birds surprising seemed to be immune against the noise nuisance though.
In more modern times Antequera played an important role in the rise of Andalusian nationalism. The Federal Constitution of Antequera 1883 and the Pact of Antequera Autonomy 1978 led to autonomy for Andalusia.
Antequera was a revelation to us and will be to you on your Andalusia explorations.