HISTORY OF MALAGA


English version
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2014 tourist guide

All the people and civilisations who once settled down on the lands of Malaga, passed down different expressions of their own singularity, thus forming a rich, diverse cultural heritage which is an enduring legacy to the found in each region, each village and each corner of the land of Malaga. The inland Malaga is gifted with a wonderful historical and artistici heritage, through with the visitor is invited to take a look into the different pre-historical eras, and get to know the Iberian, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Visigothic, Muwallad, Jewish, Berber and Arabic civilisations; churches, palaces, convents, towers, hermits, castles, irrigation channels, arches, mills, squares..., all of these are spotted throughout the beautiful inner part of Malaga.

In the seventh century BC, the Phoenicians founded Malaka, a commercial factory on this side of the Straits of Gibraltar. Due to its Phoenician tradition, Malaga, a Roman confederate city, minted its own coin, produced garum, the gastronomic speciality of coastal Baetica, and recorded on sheets of bronze the laws to rule the municipality. The Umayyad passion for the sea at Malaga was expressed in its Alcazaba, built in the tenth century, strengthened by the Ziri kings, the great constructors of the eleventh century, and pampered by the Nasrid kingdom right up to the reconquest by Ferdinand and Isabella, the 'Catholic Kings', in 1487. At the end of the nineteenth century, the so-called "oligarchy of the Alameda", with names such as Heredia, Larios and Loring, gave a boost to the economy of Andalusia, but phylloxera attacked the vineyards and led to a decline in the city. In the mid twentieth century, the Costa del Sol and its capital, Malaga, became focal points of Spanish tourism development. Vicente Aleixandre, winner of the Nobel prize for Literature, called Malaga the City of Paradise. Roman theatre. Built in the era of Augustus, next to the sea, using the very best materials, demonstrating the economic development of Malaga during the empire. Performances of both classical and modern theatre are still staged here.

La Alcazaba

ALCAZABA. Badis (1057-1063), the Granada king of the Ziri dynasty, used a fortress from the caliphate era built by Abd ar-Rahman III to set the layout of the alcazaba or citadel, determined by the uneven terrain. Brick and poor limestone were used alternately in the walls. In the fourteenth century, the military redoubt needed an extensive enlargement. The strongly sloping terrain provides the fortress with powerful bastions, walls and barbicans. Whitewashed and intertwining arches seek out a view of the sea. Some of the capitals sculpted with trepans maintain the style of the fortress from the caliphate era. In the Cuartos de Granada or Granada Rooms, there are areas and capitals from the Nasrid era. In the Alcazaba, there is a fortification from the time of the caliphate, another from the Ziri period and two from the Nasrid era. A hill leads to the Castle of Gibralfaro, also of Moorish origin and constructed in the 14th century. Arabic texts mention a rabita or oratory which stood on its summitand also talk of the great cemetery which was once located on its base. Inside is an Interpretation Centre.

The Cathedral

THE CATHEDRAL. Having consecrated the Mosque as a Cathedral, adaptation work began, coinciding for a time with the construction of the new cathedral, which was begun with Gothic models. In 1528, Diego de Siloe changed them for a Renaissance design. Work continued for several centuries, without the second tower ever being completed, which led the people of Malaga to call it "la manquita", the one-armed cathedral. Siloe produced a similar support and structure as those used in Granada, half column beams and pillars above, with a semi-circular shape in the high chapel. The sculptural work of the choir stalls, carved in cedar wood and with more than a hundred figures, involved the participation of Ortiz de Vargas, Jose Alfaro and Pedro de Mena. The latter, from Granada (1628-1688), sculpted 42 figures, characterised by their spontaneous communication with the deepest religious feelings. An interesting feature of the cathedral are its chapels: Santa Barbara, enriched with an altarpiece from the former mosque cathedral; San Francisco de Asis, for which a seventeenth-century altarpiece from the Castilian school was brought from Plasencia in the twentieth century; Virgen de los Reyes, where an eponymous image of the Virgin of Kings is venerated, a gift from Ferdinand and Isabella, the 'Catholic Kings' as a result of the city's conquest; and the Rosario chapel, with a painting by Alonso Cano dealing with the chapel's dedication. The Sagrario Parish Church conserved elements of the original mosque. The plateresque main altarpiece is heavily influenced by the techniques of Juan de Balmaseda, and came from Becerril de Campos in 1944. These artistic incorporations. which came after the Civil War of 1936, were made to compensate the destruction of Malaga's religious heritage during the conflict. The Gothic entrance, from the early sixteenth century, is a gallery of both Biblical figures and contemporaries of the sculptor. In the Bishop's Palace, the staircase by Antonio Ramos is the most harmonious in all of Andalusia, with a simple decoration and an intelligent distribution of space.

THE ALAMEDA was created in the eighteenth century. Traffic needs led to its reformation in 1925. Its highpoint was in the nineteenth century, as its trees were in their splendour and the grand families of Malaga that were behind the city's expansion had their residences here. The Provincial Museum of Fine Art, in the house of the Counts of Buenavista, is located in Calle de San Agustin, now known as Calle de los Caballeros or Street of Knights, as it was here where the noblest conquerors lived, having taken over the most valuable Arab mansions.
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