There’s so much Moor – and more – to Malaga than meets the eye!
As well as being birthplace of Picasso, Málaga in Adalucia, whilst notable as the main economic and financial centre of southern Spain, is rapidly becoming worthy cultural competition for Cordoba and Seville.
The city is cloaked in an aura of dignity and style that elevates it above the pressing impact of tourism; to the extent that tourists appear to have minimal influence on the overall ambiance of culture and reserve that it exudes.
Not to say of course that tourism isn’t one of the primary income streams of the city, just that, unlike many tourist destinations, it hasn’t allowed it to skew the character of the city but embraces and absorbs it without detriment.
The city, one of the oldest in the world, is an amalgam of styles born out of the architecture of several eras that span nearly three thousand years. Founded by the Phoenicians around 700 BC, subsequently dominated by Ancient Carthage and thereafter ruled by the Romans, it then came under Visigoth and latterly Islamic rule after the fall of the Roman empire, until the Crown of Castille gained control after the re-conquest, or ‘Reconquista’ by Christians eager to finally oust Moorish influence.
This makes the historic centre of Malaga a veritable living museum of archaeological remains and monuments spanning the complete spectrum of occupational eras.
Although the massive Castle of Gibralfaro (part of which is now a Parador luxury hotel) and the Alcazaba fortress and royal residence are by far the most dominant reminders of Moorish legacy, presiding as they do over the Malaga skyline, examples of each cultural influence can be found at every corner, façade or view to delight the visitor intent on more than an horse-drawn carriage ride or gaudy souvenir.
The 1st century BC Roman theatre and the Church of Santiago contrast with one another and add to the rich diversity of history within Malaga’s confines, whilst Catedral de Málaga, (or La Manquita, the ‘one armed lady’ a nickname born out of the incomplete bell tower) built on the site of the original mosque (of which only a courtyard of orange trees remains) and the Picasso Museum, also with its basement full of Phoenician, Roman, Islamic and Renaissance archaeological discoveries ensure that you’ll be fully occupied and thoroughly rewarded with any tour of the city.
Whilst the streets feature distinctive bronze and stone sculptures and the shops and galleries individual artists’ work, even the building facades and windows are adorned with a grace and flair that adds to the charm of the city’s character.
The airy streets, soho area, colourful harbour and waterfront are now home to chic cafes and tapas bars, gastropubs and restaurants that cater for every culinary desire; helping to make Malaga a must-visit destination beyond being simply a transit point for the Costa del Sol.
We highly recommend that you forego a couple of days on the beach simply to immerse yourself in this cosmopolitan but distinctively stylish Spanish city – that despite being served amply by road rail and air, is often only used as a stepping stone to the rest of Andalucia.
Don’t be in a rush to leave!
Useful links for you to gather more information from:
Andalucia.com – Malaga pages