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Malaga is a city full of history and tradition, but it is also the capital of the Costa del Sol. Cosmopolitan and welcoming, it is a home away from home for the traveller because of the locals’ deep sense of hospitality. We will give you just a sampling of what this city of light and sand has to offer, because we are sure you will want to come back to experience more.

The Mountains
You take the old Granada road to reach the most beautiful area of Malaga. The many natural scenic lookouts along this route offer magnificent views of the bay, and there is the added interest of experiencing the unique gastronomy, anthropology and history of the area. The whole area is dotted with inns. Some are in the style of rustic taverns, like Boticario, Tres Cincos, Mirador and Túnel. In these places you can try the typical local wine of the mountain region; sweet, dry or semi-sweet – and a dish of the local cuisine along with it.

The Museo Antropológico (Anthropology Museum) is located in this area, right in the Parque Natural de las Contadoras. Here you can view old wine presses and oil mills, and if you are lucky enough to arrive during grape harvesting you might be able to join in the treading of the grapes, that will later become the exquisite Malaga muscatel.

The Green Zone
As well as the Paseo del Parque, that began as a carefully tended botanical garden, you can also visit the Finca de la Concepción in the vicinity of the city. It belongs to the city council these days, although in the past it was the property of a renowned local couple. These are picturesque gardens, that at one turn make you feel as though you are in the tropics, and at the next in a desert. Many beautiful and significant botanical species grow here. The whole area, including gardens and mansion, was built in the middle of the 19th century, and it has retained the beauty and learned atmosphere of its former owners.

Another place worth visiting is the Cónsula (Consulate), located in Churriana in the Valle del Guadalhorce (Guadalhorce Valley). It was built in 1806 for the Prussian consul. It has a colonnaded Neo-classical style porch, although the gardens are its main attraction.

The Retiro contains a bird park that, with its more than 300 species, is unique in Europe. It also has a beautiful historical garden that represents the period from the Middle Ages up to the 18th century.

Malaga’s Seaside
The whole of Malaga is a never-ending beach, stretching from Misericordia, which goes as far as the port area, to the beaches of Peñón del Cuervo near the hamlet of Cala del Moral. Take a walk along the Paseo Marítimo Antonio Machado (promenade), and pause for something to eat or drink in one of the many refreshment stands that line the way.

In Pedregalejo the coves are protected by natural stone breakwaters. The beaches of Palo retain the atmosphere of the fishing villages of old, with the taste and smell of fish, and the images of fishermen throwing out their nets and drawing in their catches of silvery sardines. This coastal area is packed with little boats in many shades of blue. Here, the sand is a little darker, but the Mediterranean is always the same. If you want a bird’s eye view of all this, go up the Castillo de Gibralfaro (Gibralfaro Castle). You will be rendered speechless by the apparent melding of the sea and the sky.

Museums and Monuments
You will find the main museums in the city’s Historical Quarter: Bellas Artes (Fine Arts), Arte Sacro (Religious Art) and Arte Contemporáneo (Contemporary Art). You will be going back a few centuries when you visit the Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum) in the Alcazaba, the Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre), the Cathedral, with its one tower missing, and the Palacio de la Aduana (Customs House) near the park.

The most symbolic experiences you can have in Malaga are to visit the Cenachero (the bronze sculpture of a young fisherman carrying his cenacho or basket of fish), and then to have a generous helping of fresh anchovies.

History of Malaga

Although the founding of Malaga is attributed to the Phoenicians, archaeological remains in various parts of the province indicate that prehistoric man had already left his mark on the area. Later on, the Carthaginians and Romans would come. The latter bestowed upon the city the status of a confederate city of Rome, a privilege enjoyed by only three cities in Andalusia. The Roman Theatre and Lex Flavia Malacitana, the remains of which were found in the 19th century, date back to this era, the 1st century AD.

Three centuries later the Christians arrived, and the Visigoths made their presence felt. Their might was definitively established in the 7th century. The Arabic invasion occurred in 711 and with it the capture of Malaga. During the time of the taifas (small Spanish kingdoms), Muslims from the kingdom of Granada established themselves in the city. From 1057 this had a positive effect on the city’s growth, and was the period during which the Alcazaba (Citadel) was built. Five centuries after this, on the 18th of August 1487, Malaga surrendered to Castilian troops after a cruel battle in which Ferdinand the Catholic King acted without compromise in dealing to the Arabs. Any survivors were sold as slaves, or exiled. The void left by the Arabs was filled by Christians from all parts of the country.

The 17th century was a tragic time for the city. Added to the poor harvests, famine and epidemics were the huge floods in the years 1580, 1621 and 1661, and the earthquake of 1680 that damaged many buildings. Surprisingly, one that was saved was the Cathedral.

Malaga would not return to normality until well into the 18th century. This was a time of renewed commercial activity, largely thanks to business dealings with America. However, just as the city had recovered from the tragedies of the 17th century, it again suffered a harsh setback with the outbreak of yellow fever in 1803 and 1804. This set off another downward trend that the city would take years to recover from. There were also the effects of the French invasion, despite the achievements of the guerrilla resistance movements of Serranía and Axarquía. During the absolutist reign of Ferdinand VII, altercations never ceased between his followers and the liberals. The King’s troops in Malaga arrested the liberal General Torrijos along with some of his companions. In December 1831, they were executed by firing squad on the beaches of Malaga. Years later a memorial obelisk was erected in their memory in the Plaza de la Merced (Square of Mercy).

Following the death of Ferdinand VII in 1833, the liberals took power and Malaga assumed an important role in the nation thanks to industrialisation. Iron and steel works and textile factories were established. The latter were instigated by the Larios and Heredia families. They jointly founded ‘Industria Malagueña’ in 1846, which made Malaga the second most important industrial centre in the country after Barcelona.

Malaga began the 20th century with an industrial crisis that had started at the end of the previous century with their inability to compete with Catalan industries, and the high price of coal. The agricultural sector was also in crisis due to the destruction of the vines by phylloxera (similar to green-fly). The economy deteriorated with the loss of Cuba, and commercial activity slowed. The situation did not change until the Primo de Rivera dictatorship (1923-1929). Agricultural prosperity had a positive influence on external commerce and industry. The economy once again suffered with the proclamation of the Republic. The working classes were constantly striking over conditions and increasing unemployment. The torching and sacking of religious institutions in 1931 were manifestations of this discontent.

After the military uprising on the 18th of July 1936, Malaga remained under Republican control until their defeat in February 1937. With the Civil War over, the arduous task of rebuilding the city began. Some industries began to recover, but true recovery began in the 1950s with the tourist explosion. This generated enormous economic activity, making public works possible. The service sector then developed, and it remains the basis of today’s economy. By exploiting its sun and its beaches, Malaga has become one of the most important tourist destinations in Europe.