Antequera Dolmens Site

Antequera, Spain

The Antequera Dolmens Site is a cultural heritage ensemble comprising three prehistorical monuments: the Dolmen of Menga, Dolmen of Viera and Tholos of El Romeral.  It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2016 together with two natural mountain features (the Peña de los Enamorados and El Torcal).

Built during the Neolithic and the Bronze Age out of large stone blocks that form chambers and spaces with lintelled roofs (Menga and Viera) or false cupolas (El Romeral), and used for rituals and funerary purposes, the Antequera megaliths are widely recognised examples of European Megalithism. The megalithic structures are presented in the guise of the natural landscape (buried beneath earth tumuli) and their orientation is based on two natural monuments: La Peña de los Enamorados and El Torcal. These are two indisputable visual landmarks within the property.

The Neolithic Dolmen of Menga represents one of the most important masterpiece of megalithic architecture (Atlantic tradition) based on post-and-lintel construction with an earthen covering, notable for its enormous dimensions that push the size possible in a corridor sepulcher by incorporating the unprecedented solution of intermediate pillars; likewise, the later, Chalcolithic tholos (beehive tomb) of El Romeral complements the two dolmens with its corridor and false dome of drystone masonry (Mediterranean tradition).

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Founded: 3000 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Spain

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

ian henden (3 years ago)
Great ancient monoliths, a visit to the centre helps show on video how the mound was made, fascinating piece of ancient history.
Letty Ranshuysen (3 years ago)
This was a big disapointment. No English information and the site was without any historical atmosphere. Very cold and modern.
Eric Cunningham (3 years ago)
It's not that roomy inside so people can easily get in the way of photos. The park is free but quite hard to access by foot and it is in the town of Antequera which is not ready for tourists. However, the views were pretty good and you can see a big mountain called something but i forgot. You can see the motorway though.
D S (3 years ago)
Outstanding example of historic preservation and ancient megalithic. It's free along with Viera and To metal nearby. Closed Mondays. Easy access. Read up beforehand on this fascinating site.
Martha (3 years ago)
Fantastic monuments which are amazing when you consider when they were built. Free entry, English leaflet and helpful staff. However the information was so dry, technical and academic. I could not care a less about the dimensions in metres or the names of the academics who worked on them. I want it to be brought to life with contemporary historical information and a wider context with comparisons to similar monuments in Europe. The info reads like it is written by academics - fo academics. It is a missed opportunity to engage your audience.
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Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

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Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.