It dates back to the 16th century and was edified on the site of an ancient Nazari gateway. Some engraved statues and Roman inscriptions can be observed on it.
The Arco de los Gigantes or Puerta de Hêrcules, was raised up in 1585 to replace the old Arab gateway known as Estepa or La Villa.
This construction is an example of the city’s obsession to establish its claim as a authentic member of the Renaissance era. Once built as many of the remains of Roman statues or Latin plaques found in the locality and further a field were incorporated into the structure. Its design is work of the architect Francisco de Azurriola while the construction was carried out by the Master Craftsman, Francisco Gutiêrrez.
The arched gateway, which opens up an opening in a two-metre thick wall, is almost seven metres high. Its crown was quite ostentatious up until the 19th century as it had a vaulted niche in which stood an enormous Roman statue of Hercules. The jar of lilies that appears in the keystone as well as the castle and the lion on the cornice make up the city’s Coat of Arms.
In 1909 the Arch was dispossessed of its Roman remains and it is not until 1984 when it undertook the reconstruction of the tower and replacement of four large gravestones with the Latin dedication to King Philip 2nd. A year later, its renovation is ending with the remains of the original statue of Hercules, most Latin inscriptions and a replica of a Roman relief that is over the jug of lilies and give it its current appearance.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jesús Romero Benîtez, Guîa Artîstica de Antequera