Marbella meaning beautiful sea can trace its beginnings back to 1600 years before Christ. It was founded by the Romans. In 711 the Moors invaded Spain and in 1418 the Catholic King and Queen reconquered the town building plazas, churches, houses and wider streets. Marbella is dominated by the mountain of ‘La Concha’ meaning, ‘The Shell’ giving the area its own micro-climate. Marbella was turned into the playground of the international jet set in the 1950’s with the building of the ‘Marbella Club Hotel’ by Prince Alfonso Von Holenlohe of Liechtenstein. For 30 years the oil rich Arabs were attracted to the area building their own luxury villas. The economic slump of the 80’s and the rapid growth of the suburbs with their own bars and restaurants sent Marbella into a decline. However in the 1991 the new mayor Jesus Gil y Gil set about restoring Marbella’s image by laying marble pavements, planting trees and ridding the streets of petty criminals, prostitutes and drug addicts. The old town, built on Roman ruins and opened in 1485, is cantered around the ‘Plaza de los Naranjos’. It is a wonderful maze of beautifully kept historic houses, alleyways and secluded patio ways in the finest Andalucian styles. It is the perfect spot to lunch and enjoy the beauty and the charm of a 16th Century town hall on the north side and the 17th Century fountain on the South. In the choir recess on the church of Saint Mary which dates from 1618 stands a church organ which is the most important built in Spain in the last 125 years. It took 3 years to build and consists of 5000 pewter, copper and wooden pipes. Visit the Parque de la Alameda to view the Dali sculptures located to the south side of the old town and leading to the Puerto Deportivo.