Thursday, January 25, 2018

Antequera Dolmens - Spain

The 1st card from a new UNESCO site came from Spain, sent by Jordi.
In 2016 Antequera dolmens, along with two mountains closely connected to the dolmen complex, were declared UNESCO World Heritage. These dolmens are the seventh WHS in Andalucia.
Just outside Antequera you can visit three 5000-year-old dolmens: Menga Dolmen, shown on the card, and Viera Dolmen, both located just outside the town. El Romeral Dolmen is a few km away.
The Menga and Viera dolmens were probably built between 3500 and 3000BC, while El Romeral was constructed later - in about 2500BC.

Foto: Xavier Durán
Menga Dolmen in the largest in Europe at nearly 30m long. The largest upright stone weighs 180 tonnes. By way of comparison, the heaviest stone at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire in the UK, weighs 40 tonnes.
The Menga Dolmen tomb comprises three different sections. The first is an open corridor or atrium porch section that would have been partially or completely unroofed, leading to a passage or corridor section of four stones. These oversized entrance 'capstones' have become the iconic image of the Menga Dolmen. This passage leads to the large oval-shaped funerary chamber.
This dolmen was built using the 'orthostatic technique', which means constructing a wall from 'planting' large upright stones called orthostats and laying across horizontal capstones to form a roof. It is 27.5m long, while the height gradually increases from 2.7m at the entrance to 3.5m at the far end. The widest point is 6m towards the back, with a floor shaft 1.5m in diameter and 19.5m deep. The shaft is aligned with three pillars that support four enormous 250-tonne roof stones.
Each side is made of 12 upright stones and one stone closing the far end. The roof is made of five stones; a sixth that was placed over the entrance is missing. The tomb is covered by a 50m-diameter tumulus of stones and soil. 
The Menga Dolmen is famous for its significant geographical location - on the summer solstice, 21 June, the morning sun shines over the peak of the Peña de los Enamorados and straight along the dolmen's entrance corridor. This very exact positioning would have held mystical importance for the prehistoric tribes who built the dolmen thousands of years ago. - in:

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