Three dolmens at Antequera

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Antequera, Spain

Three dolmens at Antequera Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Ancient Dolmens Nov 16, 2013
There are three ancient dolmens in Antequera, although only two of them are accessible without private transport. I did try to walk to the third one but there is a vast expanse of industrial estate and then a big scary motorway, so I am forced to the conclusion that you really do need a car to get to the Romeral site, and this review only applies to Menga and Viera dolmens.

The dolmens are amongst the most important megalithic sites in Europe, dating from the bronze age, roughly 3000 years ago. It seems as though they have suffered from being so close to settlements as the only remains in the Viera dolmen in historic times have been odds and ends of tools. In the nineteenth century skeletons were found in the larger Menga site, but there isn’t much information on what was found in the visitor’s centre, so I can only assume it wasn’t well recorded. Despite this, what is left is incredibly impressive.

The Menga dolmen is one of the largest such sites in mainland Europe, aligned with sunrise and with the mountain Pena del Enamorada, which implies that the mountain may have been holy to early settlers in the area. It is absolutely huge, considering the technology available when it was built; 25m by 5m and 4m high. The stones used to build it weigh many tons each (Wikipedia records the largest stone as 180 tons alone), and fit together beautifully. The visitor’s centre has a short video suggesting how it was built, which is in Spanish but you can follow the animations even if you don’t speak Spanish well. I would recommend watching the video. The dolmen is stark and undecorated today, apart from a small carving just by the entrance; no records survive about whether or not it was more ornate in its day, and they don’t seem to have found any pigments, so it seems it was always something that impressed by sheer size and shape. The Viera dolmen is smaller, and aligned closer to sunrise and further from the hill. It is also impressive, although it is more heavily restored and it is harder to imagine how it looked in its day.

Access to the site and small visitor’s centre is free. To get there without a car, get a map from the tourist information centre in town as the signs stop suddenly and before you arrive there on foot, but it’s only a 20 minute stroll out of the centre, just opposite a graveyard. If you get there as it opens, just after 10am, you should avoid the worst of the tour parties. The paths are relatively flat, and the entrance to Menga is wide; I am not sure if you could get right inside in a wheelchair but I think you could to Menga but not Viera. Both would be fine on crutches.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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davidx davidx
564 reviews
Dolmens in the town Dec 04, 2010
Antequera is possibly my favourite small town in Spain. If you are one of the many who has flown to Málaga airport only to concentrate on the Costa del Sol, try going inland for a change. However I am glad that most don't because it leaves the inland towns (at least those not the target of trips from the coast) far more friendly and appreciably cheaper. Antequera is on a frequent bus route to Málaga and I have twice spent my last night there.

One of the attactions that waited for my second visit (3 nights rather than 2!) was the dolmens. All three are within about 1 km from the centre of Antequera. As they are so close, it would be easy to think of them all being built at about the same time. In fact the Viera and the outlying one of the Romeral are 'only' separated by hundreds of years whereas the menga dolmen is over 1000 years older! The size of the caverns is staggering but sadly there are no remains surviving the looting that has taken place over a long period.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy

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