The Lovers’ Rock, Antequera

The Lovers Rock Antequera
Lovers´ Leap statue in Antequera

La Peña de los Enamorados (The Lovers’ Rock)

When passing through the region of Antequera, one of the significant landmarks is a large mountain almost guarding the gateway to the historical town. This is known as ‘La Peña de los Enamorados’ or ‘The Lover’s Rock’.
Previous civilizations in the area have left clear traces of their presence, from the pre-historic dwellers to the Visigoths and the Romans, and, as in many other locations in Andalucía, the remnants of the Arab culture are also very visible. This natural monument has been an onlooker to all these changes in history, forming part of the prehistoric landscape and culture, up until the present day.
The unusual looking rock draws attention due to its positioning in the otherwise very flat, fertile plain of the region, and is visible from any of the main roads into the town. It has the profile of what seems to be a human head, which has lead to it also being called ‘the sleeping giant’ or ‘the Indian’s head’.
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Several legends surround this mountain, but the most well known is that which inspired its name. A story of forbidden love, dating back to the time of the Moorish ruling in the 14th and 15th centuries, in fact pre-dates the original version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in the 16th century. In this legend, the star-crossed lovers were the beautiful Moorish princess, Tazgona, and a young Christian soldier, Tello, who was a prisoner of her father. Forbidden to fraternize between cultures (let alone princess-soldier) their relationship was doomed to an unhappy ending. It all culminated in a desperate escape, rushing across the countryside, pursued by Christian and Arab soldiers alike to find that their only route was to go up the mountain. Once at the top the lovers decided that they would rather die together than live a life apart, and thus they jumped to their fate from the summit of the Peña.
The legend has it that the dismayed fathers of the pair, who had led the chase, now left helpless at the top of the mountain, decided to put aside their difference and their fight for the ruling of the city in order to live in relative peace (at least until the next battle).
Today, standing proud on Plaza Castilla in Antequera, there is a statue dedicated to the couple, with an inscription that reads:
Viendo imposible su amor, Cenidos en fuerte abrazo
Se arrjaros los amantes, Desde lo alto de la Peña.
Since love was to be imposible, As one in a strong embrace,
The lovers threw themselves, From atop of the Rock.
Taken from “The Tale of Lovers´ Leap” by Lorenzo Valla (1445-1446).



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