Surface Area: 398.25 square kilometres
What the natives are called: Malagueños
Monuments: Roman Theatre, Alcazaba (Arab Fortress), Gibralfaro Castle, Cathedral, Church of Sagrario, Episcopal Palace, Palace of the Counts of Buenavista/Picasso Museum, Church of Santiago, Plaza de la Merced, Picasso Foundation, Customs Building, Paseo del Parque, Vice-Chancellor’s Office of the University of Málaga (old post office), Bank of Spain, Town Hall, Puerta Oscura Gardens, Pedro Luis Alonso Gardens, Fountain of Tres Gracias, Bullring, Law Courts (former Miramar hotel), Monument to the Marquis of Larios, Larios Street, Fountain of Génova, Pasaje de Chinitas, Economic Society of Friends of the Country, Málaga Athenaeum, Church of Santo Cristo de la Salud, Church of Santos Mártires, Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, Atarazanas Market, Basilica and Museum of Virgen de la Victoria, Gardens of la Concepción and La Cónsula, Contemporary Arts Centre, and a wide variety of newly established museums, including the traditional Carmen Thyssen Museum Málaga, Holy Week Museum, Revello de Toro Museum, Museum of Flamenco Art, Wine Museum, Glass Museum, Motor Museum and Airport and Aircraft Museum, the educational Interactive Music Museum and Principia – Museum of Science and Technology, and the recreational Málaga CF Museum, Alborania Ocean Classroom and Museum/Alborania Aula del Mar Museum, and Dollhouse Museum.
Geographical Location: on the southern Mediterranean coast, 50 nautical miles from the Straits of Gibraltar and 520 kilometres from Madrid. The capital records an average annual rainfall of 470 litres per square metre and the average temperature is 18.5º C.
The extensive territory of the municipality of Málaga, the province’s third in area, after Antequera and Ronda, contains at least two very different kinds of landscape. In the north are the Málaga Mountains, a heavily wooded and, as its name indicates, mountainous area that is of great ecological and scenic value and has been designated a Nature Park by the Assembly of Andalusia. In this same territory, but towards the east, the terrain clearly has an affinity with that of La Axarquía, and here are found the highest elevations, such as the Santo Pitar peak (1,020 metres).
The country levels out to the west and forms what is known as the Hoya de Málaga (Málaga Valley), which is nothing more than the depression where the valleys of the Rivers Guadalmedina and Guadalhorce join, before emptying into the Mediterranean. In this area the seaward-facing part of the city, which tends to widen to the west, blends with the sugarcane fields, orchards and market gardens that form the last holdouts of an agrarian tradition that is being steadily absorbed by industrial parks and the constantly expanding airport.
The town layout stretches from east to west for some 12 kilometres, and in the middle of it a huge semicircle opens up that contains the historic district. Virtually all the monuments, museums and sites of interest are located here.
Faced with the Assyrian expansion and the progressive desertification of their territories, the Phoenicians from Tyre arrived on the Andalusian coasts around 800 B.C. and during that era founded Malaka. At first, it was less a city than a trading base around the port. Some time later the Greeks would found neighbouring Mainake, which would be destroyed by the Carthaginians, who in turn suffered from the power of Rome and were overcome by it in the late third century B. C. in the Second Punic War.
Export activity increased under Roman rule, based mainly on garum (fish sauce or paste), wine and olive oil. In the year 81 A. D., the city was already a federated municipality and several important buildings had been constructed, of which the theatre on the slopes of La Alcazaba has been preserved. As Roman leadership waned, the city passed into the hands of the Silingos, Vandals and Visigoths, and after the Islamic invasion it would belong to the Emirate and subsequent Caliphate of Córdoba.
In later ages, the city would fall under the control of the Hammudi Berbers, the Ziríes of Granada, the Almoravids, the Almohads and the Nasrids. Despite these constant changes, the city retained its commercial activity, owing in large part to the protection provided by its strong walls and to the lookout that could be maintained from the Gibralfaro castle.
Christian troops laid siege to the city of Málaga for a century, and it finally surrendered unconditionally in 1487. This unconditional surrender involved slavery or exile for a large number of its residents. With its conversion to Christianity, the city began to transform. It extended its limits to outside the walls and the Church quickly began to build churches and convents. To the Moorish disturbances of the sixteenth century, which ended with their expulsion in 1614 and the consequent shortages, must be added the flooding of the River Guadalmedina and the epidemics that spread through the city in the seventeenth century, as well as the pirate and Berber incursions and the attacks of the French and British fleets. The population, then, arrived at the end of the seventeenth century in a state of exhaustion.
During the next century, Málaga entered an era of greater stability in every sense of the word and, most importantly, the economy began to strengthen, due mainly to agricultural exports. The end of the monopoly on trading with the Indies was a direct factor in the surge in shipping activity.
In the nineteenth century the city not only suffered from the Napoleonic invasion but also from the conflicts between Liberals and Absolutists that caused General Torrijos and his companions to die before the firing squad on the beaches of San Andrés in 1831 during the reign of Fernando VII. Towards the middle of this century, Málaga experienced a period of industrialisation based on the textile and steel industries that placed it in second place in Spain in that category.
The Larios and Heredia families were the promoters of this intensive economic activity, and the city showed their appreciation to them by erecting statues and naming some of its main streets after them. It was in the nineteenth century that Málaga took on its urban layout: the working class neighbourhoods and factories were located in the western part and in the eastern part were the large mansions of the new middle class, while in the centre some of the streets were widened and architecturally striking buildings were erected.
A new economic crisis was approaching, however. The flourishing industry began to falter and the phylloxera pest destroyed wine production, which had traditionally been one of the pillars of the province’s wealth. There were ups and downs, but the economy of Málaga did not take off until the 1960’s when mass tourism found in the Costa del Sol a destination that would ultimately become a global standard.
From any point on either the eastern or western Costa del Sol take the A-7 expressway, where Málaga exits are perfectly marked. If coming from the interior of Andalusia, first follow the signs to Antequera, and there get onto the A-45 (N-331) expressway, which leads to Málaga.
Full graphical path: http://bit.ly/AAcXJY
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Costa del Sol Tourist Board - Plaza de la Marina, nº4 - 29015 Málaga - Tel: +34952126272 - Fax: +34952225207 - email@example.com