Things to see while in Málaga
Alcazaba de Málaga
The Alcazaba is a Moorish Castle and Palace. Towering over the Roman amphitheatre, the walls of this 1,000-year-old fortress conceal a maze of colonnaded courtyards and gardens that all have a juicy tale to tell. Step in the shoes of Hamet el Zegrí, the emir who gazed out at King Ferdinand’s besieging army before bitter surrender ended centuries of opulent Moorish rule. There are guided tours to visit the gardens and the rooms.
Málaga Cathedral took 250 years to complete. This Renaissance cathedral, started in 1528, stacks Baroque on top of Gothic as tastes changed during its construction. One of the most distinctive characteristics of this cathedral is that to this day, this otherwise magnificent building is missing one of its two towers, giving it the nickname fondly used by malagueños: la Manquita (one-armed lady). The north tower is 84 metres (276 ft) high, making this building the second-highest cathedral in Andalusia, after the Giralda of Seville. The south tower remains unfinished. A plaque at the base of the tower states that funds raised by the parish to finish it were used instead to help the British colonies which became the United States to gain their independence from Great Britain.
Jardín Botánico-Histórico La Concepción
La Concepción is a 23-hectare botanical garden dating to 1855, with tropical & subtropical flora from 5 continents.
La Concepcion Historical-Botanical Gardens belong to the “City of Malaga” Municipal Botanical Trust. These gardens were created around 1855 by the Marquis and Marchioness of Loring and subsequently extended by the Echevarria-Echevarrieta family. They are home to an exquisite open-air collection of tropical and subtropical flora. Plant species from Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania are all on show here.
Officially declared historical-artistic gardens in 1943, they are now also recognised as an Item of Cultural Interest. In spring 1990, the management of the gardens was taken over by Malaga City Council, which opened them to the public on 21st June 1994.
Plaza de la Merced
As all Andalusians do, Malagueños adore life outside. In Plaza de la Merced, street life becomes an art form as languid locals perch on benches and the terraces lining the square bubble with chatter. At nightfall the square becomes a focal point for carefree students getting the party started, along with theatregoers chatting about a performance at neighbouring Teatro Cervantes.
On the north corner is the house where Picasso was born in 1881, now a museum. One block west from here is the Teatro Cervantes.
In the centre of the Plaza de la Merced, you will notice a neo-classical obelisk which was placed here by the town hall in 1842 in memory of General Torrijos to commemorate the “49 victims, who for their love of patriotic liberty where sacrificed in this city on the 11th December 1831” on the four sides of the obelisk can be read the names of the 49 fallen.
As the name suggests, the recently redeveloped Muelle 1 area (‘Quay One’ in English) is located in Malaga Port. After endless years of planning, and over 80-million-euro invested, Muelle 1 was officially inaugurated in November 2011. Since then, the area has become a true landmark of the city and now it is undoubtedly one of the most popular spots to have a walk, a drink, or to dine.
When visiting Muelle 1, do not forget to reserve some time to visit the Pompidou Museum. Open since March 2015, this is the first Pompidou Museum outside Paris. The new museum has over 6000 m2 and is topped by a cuboid glass structure referred to as “El Cubo” by the Malagueños. The entrance to the museum is actually below, at the corner of Muelle 1 promenade.
Also close to Muelle 1 is Malaga’s most popular beach: the Malagueta Beach. This beach is very spacious and runs along several Kms starting on the Levante breakwater of the port of Malaga, which was traditionally a meeting point for local fisherman bringing up their nets. The beach features numerous beach restaurants called “Chiringuitos”, which offer superb fresh fish and seafood. The beach has been awarded the blue flag (a recognition of the highest standards in cleanliness, safety and availability of services) by the European Commission in 2015.
Puente de Santo Domingo
This small pedestrian bridge is a metallic structure that joins the Pasillo de Santa Isabel with the Pasillo de Santo Domingo. The bridge is also called Puente de los Alemanes (Bridge of the Germans). The history of this bridge is very interesting.
In Dec. 18, 1900, the German Navy training ship “Gneisenau” was anchored at the port of Malaga. Suddenly a very fierce storm came on the city and the ship was rammed against the rocks of the quay. This caused the hull of the ship to break and the ship sunk. The fishermen at the port went to sea to try to rescue the 486 crew members of the ship who were in the water. They were able to rescue most of them, except for 41 men. Unfortunately many local fishermen died also in the rescue.
The men who were rescued were brought to the hospitals and many were brought to private residences, where the owners took care of the men.
Those German seamen who died were put in a common grave in the English cemetery, and there is a monument to them there. Later the families who took care of the seamen received a letter of thanks from the Kaiser. Because the Malagueños were valiant and saved many lives in the incident at risk to their own lives, the city received the title of “Muy Hospitalaria” (Very Hospitable) from the Royal Crown, which is on the coat of arms of the city.
The story does not end there. On Sept. 3, 1907, the Guadalmedina River went into a rampage because of torrential rains and destroyed many of the bridges that crossed it.
When the Germans read the news in their newspapers, they decided to collect money to return the favor to their Malagueños friends, and this money was used to construct the Bridge of Santo Domingo between 1907 and 1909.
There is a plaque on the bridge that reads: “Alemania donó a Málaga este puente agradecida al heróico auxilio que la ciudad prestó a los náufragos de la fragata de guerra Gneisenau” (Germany donated this bridge to Malaga in appreciation for the heroic help given by the city to the shipwrecked seamen from the frigate of war Gneisenau).
The City Hall has a beautiful painting by Muñoz Degrain of “El Socorro de los Malagueños a los Naufragos de la Fragata Alemana Gneisenau” (The Rescue by Malagueños of the Shipwrecked from the German Ship Gneisenau).
This is a wonderful story of one city helping citizens of one country and that country responding positively in gratitude when the first city needed help.