Is This ‘Mountain Face’ Photo Real?

At the right angle, this mountain in Spain resembles a human face looking up into the sky.

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Roof, Metropolis, City
Image via Wikipedia

Claim

A photograph shows a mountain resembling a human looking up into the sky.

Origin

A photograph supposedly showing a mountain resembling a face looking up into the sky is frequently met with comments as it circulates on social media. 

While it is sometimes mislabeled as if it shows a mountain in Morocco, Africa (such as in the above-displayed example), this is a genuine photograph of a mountain that resembles a face. This unique landscape can be seen near the city of Antequera in the province of Málaga in Spain. 

This photograph was taken by Miguel Morenatti, a travel photographer, and shows the Peña de los Enamorados (or “The Lovers’ Rock”). This mountain is also referred to as Montaña del Indio (or Indian Mountain). In Morenatti’s 2018 Instagram post, it is called “Indio de Antequera” (or the “Indian of Antequera.”)

Morenatti also stated on Instagram that this picture is “not photoshop.” The photographer said that it was all about finding the right perspective to make it appear as if the mountain also had a head of hair from the tree branches. Morenatti said: 

No, no es photoshop! Solo he girado la foto y buscado la perspectiva adecuada. Indio de Antequera.


No, it is not photoshop! I have just rotated the photo and searched for the right perspective. Indian of Antequera.

Here are some other pictures of the Indian of Antequera.

Andalucia.org, the official tourism site of the Andalusia region of Spain, explains the legend behind the rock’s name, writing that this unique mountain received the name Peña de los Enamorados (“Lover’s Rock”) after two forbidden lovers jumped to their deaths to avoid persecution. 

The profile of the Peña de los Enamorados is very unusual because it looks like a human’s face lying down on the ground, facing the sky. The explanation for this peculiar silhouette on the town’s horizon comes from a legend with the same name, inspired by the Middle Ages and known especially thanks to the stories from the Spanish Golden Age.

Legend has it that Tello, a Christian who was captive in Granada, fell in love with a beautiful woman of Archidona, called Tagzona. Their love was so strong that they decided to escape to the Christian lands of Antequera. As they were on their way, the girl’s father discovered them and he sent his bowmen to stop them. The two lovers climbed up the mountain that lies halfway between Archidona and Antequera, and as they saw they were going to be caught, they decided that they preferred to die together than to live apart. So they held onto each other and jumped from the top of the mountain. And since then this place has been called “The Lovers’ Rock”. “From the craggy rock they jumped and in the air they left their souls” (Carvajal y Robles).

One reason people may have expressed skepticism of this photograph is that a number of other images purporting to show mountains that resemble humans or animals are fake. For example, this turtle mountain, this horse rock, this elephant mountain, and this “sleeping lady” rock formation are all digital artworks. 

Sources:

“Peña de los Enamorados: origen de una leyenda.” Diario Sur, 13 Feb. 2021, https://www.diariosur.es/interior/pena-enamorados-origen-20210214003708-ntvo.html.

Sol, Costa del. The Peña de Los Enamorados in Antequera: Legend of an Impossible Love. https://blog.visitacostadelsol.com/en/the-pena-de-los-enamorados-in-antequera-legend-of-an-impossible-love. Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.