The town of Antequera holds a surprising number of magnificent baroque monuments (including some 30 churches)—it provides a unique snapshot of a historic Andalusian town, one a world away from the resorts on the Costa del Sol. It became a stronghold of the Moors after their defeat at Córdoba and Seville in the 13th century. Its fall to the Christians in 1410 paved the way for the Reconquest of Granada; the Moors' retreat left a fortress on the town heights.
Next to the town fortress is the former church of Santa María la Mayor. Built of sandstone in the 16th century, it has a ribbed vault that is now used as a concert hall. The church of San Sebastián has a brick baroque Mudejar tower topped by a winged figure called the Angelote ("big angel"), the symbol of Antequera. The church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen (Our Lady of Carmen) has an extraordinary baroque altarpiece that towers to the ceiling. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in the summer, many monuments are floodlighted and open until midnight.