Antequera Dolmens Site – Discovering our past in Antequera

Antequera offers the visitor an endless number of possibilities that will enrich your visit to Malaga. There are tours with guide in Antequera that will show you its monuments and places of interest in depth; today I will highlight the cultural and natural attractions from Antequera Dolmens Site.

The Antequera Dolmens Site comprises a series of cultural and natural monuments. If you have your own vehicle, perhaps you can visit them on the same day.

It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016:
https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1501/

Natural Monuments

Some are recommended for families or if you decide to travel with children, because of their low difficulty. Join me to see some of the main places you should not miss. Enter this natural and mysterious world, which will undoubtedly fascinate visitors of all ages.

Torcal de Antequera

This natural area is one of the most popular in Andalusia and has some impressive rock formations.

Torcal de Antequera

The strange formations have taken place over a process that has lasted millions of years. Calcareous formations on the sea bed that with the erosion have ended up sculpting these rocks. It might be difficult for the neophyte to assimilate how this landscape could once be found below sea level; to assimilate it we have to remember the great magnitudes of time in which the whole process took place.
Formación rocosa
There are also numerous underground formations in this area that go deep into the ground, reaching up to 225 meters. In some of them remains tell us about a human occupation since the beginning of the Neolithic.

Whoever wants to visit the torcal should know that it is easily accessible by road; it is ideal to have your own vehicle or hire a private transfer. The visitor’s centre has an interpretative area, toilets, a shop, a restaurant, an astronomical observatory and two public car parks, one at the entrance to the Natural Park and the other next to the visitor’s centre itself.

Influences

Some of the formations are simply amazing, one of a kind. Stones that seem to be shaped by an invisible hand and have accompanied mankind for thousands of years.

malagacar

You have to go back to Neolithic times, during the construction of the dolmens. Imagine what the people of the area felt when faced with such formations. No doubt they would feed their spirituality; who knows if these wonderful and strange rocky forms did not influence the society of the time to build with those big rocks the Dolmens of Antequera; I can guess they did.

El Torcal trails

El Torcal has several hiking routes:

  • Green route: With a route of 1.5 kilometres and a low difficulty it is perfect to go with children or to visit this place for the first time. It is a short cut from the yellow route, which shortens it considerably.
  • Orange Route: A 3.5-kilometre route that connects with the two car parks.
  • Yellow Route: Begins and ends at the Visitor Centre along 3 kilometres and offers the visitor beautiful panoramic views.

The Visitor Centre also organises special routes and activities outside the official circuits.

Peña de los Enamorados (Rock of the Lovers)

This limestone rock in Antequera is more than just a natural monument, it also offers us a love story that has lasted over time.

On its north side there are archaeological sites that date back to the Bronze Age and it is part of the Archaeological Site of the Dolmens of Antequera. In the southeast there are remains of walls and tombs from the Bronze Age, discovered at the beginning of the 20th century during the construction of the railway.

Peña de los Enamorados en Antequera
This rock stands out for its resemblance to a face emerging from the depths of the earth.

This rock is characterized by the shape of a lying face emerging from the ground, something that is quite likely to influence the prehistoric populations of the area. It is possible that this “lying face” together with the strange rock formations of El Torcal made them feel as if this was a sacred place; It could be one of the reasons why they dedicated so much effort to go deep into the earth in search of the sacred.

In any case, this rock does not leave anyone indifferent, Christopher Columbus himself remembered it in one of his writings while visiting the new world.

Lets go into its legend, let us be influenced by its magic.

Medieval legend

This medieval legend tells us how after a battle the Muslims managed to capture a Catholic commander. He was locked up in a cell; a dark and humid place that either out of curiosity or compassion, the daughter of the Muslim king used to visit.

As the days passed, the couple fell in love and worked out a plan to escape, their only desire being to spend their lives together. When two souls fall in love nothing else matters, neither a cell nor the king himself would separate them.

Without being able to give you the exact details, it is known that one day they both escaped; it would not be long before the Muslim king discovered the escape and ordered them to be caught.

They were chased over the top of this hill until they reached the highest peak. The lovers, seeing that they had no escape, decided in a last embrace to jump into the void together, thus reaching the eternal union that the Muslim king had denied them.

This tragic event caused the Muslim and the Catholic leaders to reach peace. A peace that had a high price, the life of two young people in love.

Is this legend true? Little is known, we can find the origin of the story in Juan de Vilches, who, versed in lyrics, wrote epic poems about feats and events of the time.

Above the summit of the Peña de los Enamorados there is a stone statue representing the young people embraced just before they jumped from the cliff. Without a doubt a place with magic in Antequera.

Abrigo de Matacabras

Under the Peña de los enamorados on its north side is this place that was very important during prehistoric times as a ceremonial site.

The human presence dates from the Neolithic and early Copper Age and has cave paintings.

Cultural monuments

The cultural monuments of Antequera are part of the Archaeological Site of Antequera Dolmens. Megalithic monuments that receive this name because of the use of large stones for their construction, being Antequera one of the few places in Spain where we find them.

How was the society of that time and how could they build such monuments? The following video illustrates the great work they did.

Going into the dolmens causes many sensations, a prehistoric world that invites us to know its spirituality.

Firstly it is possible that El Torcal influenced them in the use of megaliths and secondly the presence of the Peña de los Enamorados and its face emerging from the ground, incited them to dive into it. Come with me and let’s find a little more about each of those monuments in Antequera:

Dolmen of Menga

Dolmen of Menga is a large megalithic monument built with large vertical and horizontal stones, some placed as pillars in the intermediate zone; this is rare in the megalithic constructions of Europe.

Dolmen of Menga

It is known to have been built in the Neolithic period about 6000 years ago. Inside there are some petroglyphs, or stone inscriptions, that have not yet been deciphered.

The Dolmen of Menga is unaltered, frozen in time for our enjoyment. In the deepest part of its interior there is a 19.5 metre well, covered with a grid for the safety of visitors, but with fresh water at the bottom.

Found well in Dolmen of Menga

Its entrance is perfectly aligned with that “lying face” that represents the rock; without a doubt a spiritual influence in the population of that time.

Map location: https://goo.gl/maps/vYPGUNfKmR8kqQxm7

Dolmen of Viera

Neolithic megalithic tomb only 70 meters from the Dolmen of Menga. Discovered at the beginning of the 20th century by the Viera brothers, who also discovered “El Romeral”, next on the list.

Entrance to the Dolmen of Viera. Source of the image: Wikipedia

Inside, in what is supposed to be a burial chamber, bones and ceramics were found. Its orientation is towards the dawn during the autumn and spring equinox.

Stepping into the chamber is awe-inspiring given the magnitude of the work. Stones of great tonnage that were placed with great expertise by prehistoric populations thanks to their talent. The appearance from the outside is imposing and majestic; it invites us to enter into the depths of a time now forgotten; undoubtedly a recommendable experience.

Map location: https://goo.gl/maps/DUtUCeUr9aq7RFDH6

Tholos of El Romeral

Located almost 2 kilometers from the other two dolmens, between these and the Peña de los Enamorados.

Tholos El Romeral
Interior of this great megalithic monument at the Antequera Dolmens Site

Built approximately 2500 years ago during the Copper Age, it has managed to survive to the present day in all its magnitude. It is oriented to the highest elevation of the El Torcal mountain range.

Although from the outside it may attract less attention than the previous ones, staying in one of its chambers amazes us; the acoustics in the interior give us the sensation of being in a sacred place. We are in a site where death and transcendence were worshipped in a special way and never seen before in our land.

Inside there are two circular chambers, both for rituals and offerings with an altar. If you visit it, place yourself in the centre of one of its chambers and close your eyes, let yourself be influenced by the sounds and sensations.

Map location: https://goo.gl/maps/1hQCK6CELsFqpEpt8

Transport to Antequera Dolmens Site

To get to Antequera ideally you should have your own vehicle, especially if you want to visit the places mentioned in this article. If you are on holiday you might want to rent a car in Malaga.

If you are not interested in driving, another option could be to hire a transfer from Malaga to Antequera. This vehicle will be able to take you to each of the places I have mentioned and bring you back. This is a very recommendable option.

If you go by train, you will have to get off at Antequera Santa Ana Station, or Bobadilla. But they are not at a comfortable distance from the city centre.

Hope you enjoyed this article, for more photos of Antequera you can visit our gallery.

Raúl G.T
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Travel blogger, web developer and content editor. Author of many of the travel guides and tips available online about Andalucia, Malaga and Spain.

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