Antequera is a very interesting small city about 30 miles north of Malaga. I was there yesterday with my students and we had a nice visit. There is plenty of great art to enjoy in Antequera, but the highlight no doubt is the Roman Ephebe in the local museum. It's an amazing bronze statue that was miracu- lously found in 1955, intact, buried in a field outside the city. The statue has been dated from the 1st century, making it close to 2000 years old. It's a stunningly beautiful work. And we can go much, much further back in time, as Antequera also hosts three of the most impressive megalithic dolmens in Europe. We visited two, the Menga and Viera dolmens (the former seen above). There is a new visitor's center dedicated to these strange structures and the truth is the visit was much more interesting after seeing a brief video that gave us some context. We still don't know too much about these dolmens, but they clearly had religious, and likely funerary, uses. It boggles the mind how they got these huge stones into place. The Viera dolmen is perfectly aligned with the summer solstice; that is, on the soltstice the setting sun penetrates the opening of the dolmen, illuminating it all the way to its most interior point, some thirty yards into the mound that was built up over it stone structure. As impressive as these visits are, the highlight of the day for me was seeing the just restored church of the Carmen. Wow! Andalusian barroque at its best. The restoration work has resulted in a spectacular, take-your-breath away interior that no doubt should scandalize any God-fearing Protestant worth his salt. Where's Jesus? The main altar is a stunning XVIII century temple of carved wood dedicated to the Virgin of Carmen, leaving absolutely no doubt as to who rules supreme here. Yes, Jesus is here, but he's just a baby, still totally dependent on his mama. The church is a XVII century edifice, the most recent monument we visited. So everything seems just unfathomably old to my students and for many it's understandably hard to put what they see into meaningful context. But they are learning a lot very quickly. The visit to the Carmelite convent museum was also interesting. And the day ended with  pleasant little hike in the Torcal nature preserve, which is characterized by its very odd rock formations.

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