The Alcazaba of Antequera
The Alcazaba of Antequera is the most arresting feature of the city – a large Moorish fortress sitting on a hill above the city.
Construction started in the 11th century when Antequera was becoming an important outpost of the Caliphate. But it was in the 14th century, with the Moors feeling increasingly threatened by the Christian invasion from the north, that the fortress grew to what you see today. The Alcazaba would become a fortress of great strategic and military importance and would play a big role in the battle for the Kingdom of Granada.
The attack of Antequera by Christian forces happened in 1410. Led by Infante Don Ferdinand (Antequera’s main street is named after him), the Christians had an army of 15,000 soldiers. Unable to penetrate the fortress, they laid siege to it for 5 months.
On September 16th, 1410 the Moors surrendered. It was an important Christian triumph which would eventually pave the way to the fall of the Emirate of Granada in 1492.
The Highlights of the Alcazaba
The Torre del Homenaje is the main tower of the fortress and is said to be one of the largest towers built during the Muslim era in Andalusia. Later, by then controlled by the Christians, a bell tower was built on it. You can visit and climb the tower.
The Torre Blanca is the other main tower: it has a rectangular plan and is two stories high. From here you can see the cistern, the old mosque, and the remains of some of the towers of the wall.
You can see some Roman Tombs in the back of the fortress. There are also remains of the Roman baths that are currently being excavated just outside the Alcazaba (you can get a view over the baths from Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, the church just outside the entry into the Alcazaba).
Note: The Romans took over this area in 201 BC and called the province Hispania Ulterior. The city was named Antiquaria (or Anticaria) and was strategically located between mountains on one side and open plains on the other. Antiquaria was known for its high-quality olive oil.
There are other reasons to visit the Alcazaba: Coming up from the city, you’ll arrive at Mirador de las Almenillas. There are some great views over Antequera here. Right there are the gates leading to the Alcazaba: the Arco de los Gigantes. Going through the gates takes you to Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, one of Antequera’s beautiful churches.
Opening hours: Everyday from 10 am to 6 Pm
Cost: 6 Euros
Note: The Alcazaba is FREE on Tuesdays from 2 to 6 PM.
Getting to Antequera: The Alsa bus will get you to Antequera from Malaga in 1 hour. You can also take a high-speed train: it takes 25 minutes from Malaga’s Maria Zambrano to get to Antequera AV station. From either the bus or train station, you can walk to downtown Antequera in 15 minutes. 10 minutes more will get you to the Alcazaba.