Ancient Neolithic Dolmens of Antequera on Spain’s Costa del Sol busier than ever

The Menga Dolmen at Antequera. Credit: Wikipedia.

THE World Heritage Site of the Antequera Dolmens on Spain’s Costa del Sol had a total of 210,018 visits in 2019. 

This continues the trend of larger visitor numbers since they were given the Unesco label in 2016. 

After its declaration as a World Heritage Site, the Dolmens exceeded 200,000 visits for the first time in 2017, a threshold that has now been exceeded again for the third consecutive year, reported the Andalusian Government. 

In the annual record for 2019, the strong increase in the number of visitors recorded from spring onwards stands out, as does the success of the participants, nearly 4,000 people, in the cultural activities programmed in the MengaStones Festival, which has held its first edition at the archaeological site. 

However, the last quarter of 2019 experienced, month by month, a small decline in the number of visitors compared to 2018, resulting in an annual figure slightly lower than the previous year. 

The Antequera Dolmens Site is made up of three megalithic monuments: the Menga Dolmen, the Viera Dolmen and the Tholos of El Romeral, and two natural monuments, La Peña de los Enamorados and El Torcal de Antequera. 

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 still buried beneath earth tumuli and their orientation is based on two natural monuments: La Peña de los Enamorados and El Torcal 

In its report on the site, Unesco says: “The colossal scale of megaliths characterised by the use of large stone blocks that form chambers and spaces with lintelled roofs (Menga and Viera) or false cupolas (El Romeral) attest to exceptional architectural planning from those who built them and create unique architectural forms. 

“The intimate interaction of the megalithic monuments with nature, seen in the deep well inside Menga and in the orientation of Menga and El Romeral towards presumably sacred mountains (La Peña de los Enamorados and El Torcal), emphasise the uniqueness of this prehistoric burial and ritual landscape. 

“The three tombs, with the singular nature of their designs, and technical and formal differences, bring together two great Iberian megalithic architectural traditions and a variety of architectonic types, a rich sample of the extensive variety within European megalithic funeral architecture.” 


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Dilip Kuner

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