Nestled in the heart of Andalusia, Spain lies the picturesque city of Antequera. Located in the Comarca de Antequera, province of Málaga, Antequera is known for its central location among Málaga, Granada, Córdoba, and Seville, earning it the nickname ‘el corazón de Andalucía’ or the heart of Andalusia. With a population of 41,854 and covering an area of 749.34 km2, Antequera is the most populous city in the interior of the province and the largest in area, making it the twenty-second largest city in Spain.
One of the main draws to Antequera is the Antequera Dolmens Site, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site features the dolmens of Menga, Viera, and El Romeral, which date back to the Bronze Age and are the largest structures of their kind in Europe. Visitors can explore these ancient tombs and marvel at the architectural and engineering skills of the people who built them.
Antequera’s strategic location also makes it an important center of transportation logistics, with several industrial parks and the new Logistics Center of Andalusia. The city is connected to Málaga, Cordoba, and Seville by high-speed train and motorway, and is just one hour away from four airports.
Nature lovers will rejoice at the nearby natural reserve of El Torcal, famous for its unstable limestone rocks and forming one of the most important karst landscapes in Europe. The reserve is a popular spot for hiking and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Antequera played a significant role in the rise of Andalusian nationalism, serving as the site of the drafting of the Federal Constitution of Antequera in 1883 and the Pact of Antequera in 1978, which led to the achievement of autonomy for Andalusia. Although it was considered as a possible headquarters of the Andalusian government, it lost the vote in favor of Seville.
Visitors to Antequera can also explore the city’s extensive archaeological and architectural heritage, including numerous churches, convents, and palaces from different periods and in different styles. The city’s oldest church, the late Gothic Iglesia San Francisco, was built around the year 1500, while the Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, founded in 1504, served as a meeting place for important writers and scholars of the Spanish Renaissance.
Antequera’s economy shifted from a military-focused economy to a strengthening of the agricultural role in the early 16th century, becoming an important commercial town at the crossroads between Málaga, Granada, Córdoba, and Seville. Because of its location, its flourishing agriculture, and the work of its craftsmen, all contributing to the cultural growth of the city, Antequera was called the Heart of Andalusia by the early sixteenth century. Today, the city continues to thrive as a cultural and commercial hub, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the history and beauty of Andalusia.