Saturday, January 26, 2013

Alcazaba in Antequera, Spain

The spot to see in Antequera is the alcazaba and church at the top of the hill. The castle was built by the Moors in the 14th century on the ruins of a Roman fort. The entrance is through the Arch of the Giants, built in 1585. The castle still has some impressive walls and towers, as well as amazing views.

Arco de los Gigantes

The arch leads into the old Arab town, with the entrance to the fort on the right. We stopped in at the information/ticket office on the left, where we bought tickets and received audio guides for the fort and the church (which you can see a bit of through the arch). The ticket seller programmed our guides for English and off we went into the fort.

Puerta de la Alcazaba

The citadel on the hill is about 65,000 square meters and most of the wall still stands. It was home to various groups at various times. Most of the buildings are gone now and gardens have been put in their place.

Gardens inside

Interesting but unidentified tree

Further up we came on the Christian Gate. Built in the 16th century, it leads to where the Christian nobles lived. The gate was part of an inner defensive ring for the fort.

Puerta Cristiana

What's left of the Christians' homes

Further up the hill is the central square or courtyard of the fort, where the soldiers would have their barracks. Also in the courtyard was a hole which we thought was the castle's water well.

Patio de Armas

J by the sign

Mazmorra is what again?

It's pretty deep

The audio guide set us straight. Las mazmorras is the dungeons, so this 6-meter deep hole was home to prisoners. Naturally, the dungeon is right next to the keep, the main fortification.

Climbing the Keep

The keep is home to a clock. It is nicknamed the Papabellotas. A cork oak grove was sold to pay for its construction. The bell in the tower was one of the largest when it was cast and was used for announcing church services, irrigation times, emergencies, or good news. We climbed up the stairs to have a look.

Table with cannonballs inside the tower

The bell (which did not go off while we were there, thankfully)

L and the holey stairs

J looks through the hole too

At the top we had a nice view down the wall to the White Tower, named more for the purity of its appearance than its actual whiteness.

White Tower and hills

The tower is impressive even from inside the fort

Further on we came to the spot where the mosque once stood. The water tank was also in this area. Thick wall foundations are about all that's still visible today.

Mezquita y Aljibe

Over by the eastern walls is a Roman tomb dated to the first century AD.

Tumba Romana

This spot also provides a view of the Pena de los Enamorados or Lovers' Leap. The story goes that Tazgona, daughter of a wealth Moor, was in love with a young Christian from Granada. Neither family would permit them to marry. The young couple was pursued into the mountains. They made it to one of the peaks and leapt together to their deaths. For a similar story from Guam, check out this Forgotten Tale I recorded.

Pena de los Enamorados

Walking further down the eastern walls, we saw the roof of the Real Colegiata de Santa Maria, which was our next stop and will be the next post!

Real Colegiata de Santa Maria roof

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