Malaga is a lively historic and very Spanish city. The population is around 600,000. With an attractive temperature of 23C and 300 hundred days of sunshine Malaga is an attractive choice for tourists. It is a lively town with good shopping facilities and a fascinating old quarter to the town.
In the 17th Century the Morisco’s were expelled from the area and prosperity didn’t return until the 19th Century when the Larios and Heredia families founded the sugar mills, textile factories, shipyards and steel works.
The first vineyards were planted by the Phoenicians and the production of dessert wine, very popular in Victorian England, was a very profitable local industry, however the vineyards were devastated by a bug.
Rich families from Madrid helped the city to re-prosper with early tourism in the 1920’s.
During the civil war hundreds of nationalist sympathisers were killed and churches and convents destroyed, a period of instability and economic decline followed.
Again, due to tourism, the economy has steadily grown since the 1960’s despite still being under Franco’s dictatorship.
The town’s history gives some fascinating sights. The, “Alcazaba”, the fortress/palace of Muslim governors dates back to 1057. It has two rings of walls, defensive towers, staggered entrances and some attractive architecture. King Fernando virtually ruined the city 1568 including this palace, but what does remain is worth a visit. At the top of the site, there used to be a small archaeological museum but this is now empty. Plans are now afoot to re house the Phoenician relics. If you are lucky enough to visit during the Spring, you cant help but notice the magnificent purple floral display from the “Jacaranda Trees” at the base of the Alcazaba.
The remains of the Roman Theatre, next to the entrance are still being excavated but work in progress can clearly be seen. It is believed to date back to the 1st Century BC and is one of the oldest in Spain.
Situated at the top of the hill and dominating the city is the “Gibralfaro”, a ruined Moorish castle. It is belived to date back to the Phoenician/Carthaginian period. The “Coracha” a walled passage that links the castle to the Alcazaba was built in the 14th Century. The old powder factory is now the information centre. The views from this vantage point are amazing.
The stunning Cathedral took 200 years to build starting in the 16th Century. Locally it is refered to as “La Manquita” meaning “one-armed one” originally two towers were planned but the western one as only ever completed because the money to the American War of Independence. A few years ago the Costa Del Sol’s American society donated money toward the repairs of the cathedral as a belated thank you. Although it has an 18th Century Baroque façade, internally it is mainly Gothic and Renaissance, to note are the 17th century carved wooded choir stalls and the two organs containing over 4000 pipes.
Built on the site of a former Mosque the Renaissant building, “Inglesia de Santiago”, was built in 1490. The main attraction is the Mudjar Tower decorated in Almohade style.
Picasso was a native of Malaga born here in 1881. The Casa Natal Picasso, the artist’s birthplace incorporates the municipal Picasso foundation and exhibits a handful of his works, together with minor works by Gonzalez, Miro and Dali. The Picasso Museum contains 186 donated by his daughter-in-law Christine Ruiz Picasso and Grandson, Bernhard Ruiz Picasso.
The Centro de Arte Contemporaneo houses exhibition of contemporary.
The Mercado de Atarazanas is a popular and lively and indoor market selling meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. The main entrance dates back to the 14th Century. The iron structure is later from the end of the 19th Century. Previously it has been a barracks, a military hospital and a college of surgery.
The main shopping street is “Marques de Larios” a wide pedestrianised street containing some well known retailers and street cafes. Between this street and the Cathedral can be found a maze of narrow streets where Tapas Bars, restaurants and independent retailers are located.