See the Dolmens of Menga and Viera - Andalucia
Antequera, the lovely historic town which stands right in the centre of Andalucía. Is home to the remarkable dolmens of Menga and Viera, which are just outside the town, and El Romeral, a few kilometres away, are among the largest and most interesting megalithic structures in Europe. They were recently accepted as a Unesco World Heritage Site, something that local people and historians and archaeologists from all over the world had been wanting for years.
They are not only unusual because of their - most of the Mediterranean dolmens of this type are much smaller and found in groups - but because of their positioning. While the Viera dolmen, more typically, is orientated towards the sunrise, the Menga and El Romeral structures appear to have been built to face land-forms rather than celestial bodies. Menga, as confirmed by Professor Michael Hoskin of Cambridge University, who has studied more than 3,000 such structures, is aligned to look at the huge rock known as the Pena de Los Enamora-dos, which has the appearance of the head of a sleeping giant. This mountain forms part of the World Heritage Site, along with El Torcal nature reserve.
Churches and convents
Antequera is already popular with those in the know. The town is said to have more churches and convents per head of population than anywhere else in Spain - more than 30 in total - and it certainly looks that way when viewed from, for example, the Royal Collegiate Church of Santa Maria La Mayor, at the top of the town.
There are also mansion houses, palaces, and a wealth of other buildings and monuments which are a delight to view inside or out.
It would be a mistake, however, to think that Antequera is steeped in the past. On the contrary, it is a bustling town which, due to its location in the heart of Malaga province is an important commercial and transportation hub. The AVE high-speed train stops here, at the town's second railway station, putting Antequera within easy reach of Madrid, Cordoba and Malaga.
Magical rock formations
El Torcal nature reserve, which is slightly to the south of the town and sits just above the village of Villanueva de la Concepcion, is one of the most impressive karst areas in Europe. The rocks which have been eroded into some amazing shapes by the wind and rain over millions of years. The Jurassic age limestone formed part of the sea bed 150 million years ago but the rocks are now 1,300 metres above the current sea level.
The nature reserve, declared a special protection area for birds, is approximately 17 squares kilometres in size and is a popular are with walkers, as there are three hiking trails graded according to difficulty.