Romans. Visigoths. Moors. Then Christians. As in Ronda, evidence of the waves of occupiers choosing to fortify a natural citadel in Andalucia remains in Antequera. Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, an early (early 1500s) Renaissance church, dominates the hilltop with its Alacazaba fortress.
A replica of a 1760 float from the Corpus Christi processions parked near the front of the church is what stands out. Tarasca depicts a powerful woman, representing faith, conquering the seven deadly sins, symbolized by a snarling seven-headed dragon.
Then there are the faded murals on the church’s walls. Look closely. The Virgin Mary is not the only role model for young women here. The featured saints are all women. Women at war, leading Christian forces to victory.
And in the church of San Sebastian, there is a statue of a young woman gazing toward heaven. In her right hand, she bears a sword pointing downward to the head of a slain Moor at her feet.
Growing up with these images, are the women of Antequera particularly strident?
We lunched in a small restaurant patronized by locals that balanced things out by presenting the male side of the equation – the walls were covered with photos of matadors.