Malaga is a coastal city, and you can feel the difference between Malaga and the other large cities such as Seville, Granada, or Cordoba right from moment you arrive. For one thing it is cooler than the other three cities in the summer and warmer in the winter. That being said, Malaga shares the history and cultural developments that took place in Andalucia over the last 3,000 years.
Malaga is the second largest city in Andalucia with a population of around 600,000, twice the size of Cordoba or Granada.
According to most scholars, Malaga was founded as a trading city around 770 BC by the Phoenicians who named it Malaka. From the 6th century BC, the city was under the control of Ancient Carthage, and from 218 BC, it was ruled by the Roman Republic and then Roman empire as Malaca, (Latin). After the fall of Rome, Malaga found itself under the rule of the Visigoths until the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 711. Malaga was actually under Muslim rule for a lot longer than both Seville and Cordoba, as it was not re-captured by Christian forces until 1487. In that year, the Crown of Castille gained control during the Granada War.
Visitors to the centre of Malaga can enjoy the archaeological remains and monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras due to the fact that the historic centre of Malaga is a virtual “open museum”, displaying nearly 3,000 years of history. The Alcazaba, (Muslim Fortress), built on top of a Roman theatre is a marvellous spectacle.
Visitors can also enjoy so much in Malaga as the vast majority of the historic city centre is now pedestrianised. This means that visitors can see a whole lot in a single afternoon, and can choose to visit the Cathedral, ( built in the Renaissance and Baroque styles because its construction spanned 254 years, and it is still unfinished, (it is missing one of its towers giving rise to its nickname ‘La Manquita’ – the one-armed lady); The Picasso gallery, and the Picasso Museum, (located in the very house that the painter was born in 1881), as well as the Church of Santiago where he was baptised,) which is the oldest Church in Malaga). Add to this the facts that Malaga is home to the only Pompidou centre outside of France, as well as the Carmen Thyssen Art Gallery and the city’s public museum, and you have an art lover’s paradise.
Malaga is also famous for its restaurants and tapas bars, and the fact that the historic centre of the city is pedestrianised really lends to the enjoyment of ‘eating on the terrace`.
Our recipe for a perfect day trip to Malaga would be to visit some monuments in the morning, have lunch at one of our favourite ‘chiringuitos`, (authentic seafood restaurants, situated on the seafront, which cater for the local population, not solely the tourist visitors,); have a walk on the beach and dip your toes in the Mediterranean Sea; then visit some more monuments / galleries and finish off with a cocktail on one of the terraces and watch the world go by, (we would suggest Bodega El Pimpi, located opposite the ruins of the Roman Theatre.
Malaga City truly earns its title as one of the Jewels of Andalucia, and in Malaga’s case, it is a Jewel whose reflection sparkles in the Mediterranean Sea.
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