—Antequera, the Golden Land

Allocated in the geographical centre of both Andalusia and the region that shares its name, Antequera is introduced to the visitor as a city full of history and, above all, full of legends. Like the ones whispered by the dreamy landscape of the Sierra Caliza del Torcal, the challenging defile of the marsh of the Chorro or the romantic legend of the Pena de ios Enamorados, place of death of an impossible love between a Christian and a Musiim girl. Antequera 's city centre is full of palaces, abbeys and, above all, churches that do clearly reflect the city' s time of vigour: the Goiden Age. Examples of its baroque architecture are the Iglesia de Santiago, Convento de /as Catalinas Dominicas, Convento de las Augustinas de Madre de Dios and its church, Convento de la Trinidad and the Palacio de Najera that is now the Municipal Museum. There, we can find sculptures that are rea! treasures, !ike the Efebo de Antequera, San Francisco de Asis, or the only existing representation of a pregnant virgin Mary. Also of architectural importance, but already belonging to the renaissance style, is the Real Colegiata de Santa Maria la Mayor that dominates over the city due to its height. But also numerous other civilisations marked the history of the whole province and left their stamp on many of these mentioned buildings. In fact, Europe's most important megalithic stone formation is situated in Antequera, formed by the dolmens of Menga, Viera and the Romeral. The passing of centuries probably brought the Romans to this country. They actually baptised the city with the name of "Antikaria" (the old one) and left their marks in the town. Prove of their presence are the archaeological vestiges of Singiia Barba, Capacheras, Arastipi, etc, We can even find in Antequera remains of the Muslim dominance that transformed the city in a border zone by building up the defence walls of the Medina and Aicazaba. Because of ail these treasures, Antequera is one of those cities that you can not visit without learning something more about its history. But, you should aiso take the opportunity to taste this history: a visitor should never leave Antequera without having tried the traditional molletes, a really exquisite type of bread, the so- called porra antequerana, a different form of the famous Andalusian tomato soup gazpacho, or tbe bienmesabes, popular sweets made by the nuns of the Convento de las Descalzas.

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