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					The Court Of Miracles
“Almanzor deployed his great political and military skill in service to Córdoba. His excellent administration and sense of justice allowed alAndalus to enjoy an extended period of peace and prosperity .”

And Its Parador

(Chronicle of his times)

region replete with history since the dawn of time; surprising and unparalleled geography of awesome beauty; generous rivers and bountiful coasts sheltered by protective mountains of remote rock, regular refuge of proud birds and mythological giants.


In the words of many and the hearts of all, Málaga the loveliest would be christened the “Coast of Miracles”. For it is a never-ending miracle of fertile soils, rivers and seas, generous providers of rich harvests of fish and plants, of fruits and fecundity. Málaga has seen the incursions of the most cultured and valiant Mediterranean peoples, fierce conquerors sowing new ideas and unquestionable cultures. The Phoenicians came from Tyre to found Malaca during the 11th century B.C., setting up foundries to smelt the metals then so abundant in these lands. Some attribute her name to Malache, a goddess worshiped by those industrious visitors. Some say it comes from the Phoenician expression Malach. They applied the necessary techniques and processes in order to preserve and season with marinades and salting the abundant harvest afforded by the sea and coast. An amazing and rewarding surprise came with the sojourn of the cultured Greek invaders, avid traders, yet generous missionaries of ideas

and culture, habits and customs, and systems of social organization. The Greek colonists founded Gibralfaro Castle, which has now been converted into the home of this magnificent Parador. Gibralfaro owes its name to its lighthouse, that extremely useful nocturnal guide for the ships which already frequented these waters, while during the day it would serve as protection against the considerable numbers of pirates. However, when Tyre fell to the Babylonians, the



Phoenician settlement was abandoned. It was not long before another aggressive neighbor appeared on the scene. The Málaga of Carthage was expanded to its fullest, and a man-made port constructed to improve trade. The Roman legions also sought to establish themselves in the town, although Phoenician customs and habits would not be abandoned for quite some time. Irate Rome, arrogant and elegant rival of Carthage, would succeed, not without bitterly fought battles, in driving the enemies out, thus allowing them to parade their standards, which would, in the end, overwhelm virtually the entirely peninsula. The Roman host would commit the outrages and excesses common in strong and haughty invaders: they enslaved the neighboring peoples, sacked and plundered, taking away the precious booty of war. However, Rome was intelligent enough to respect the government of Málaga, which was granted the privileged status of “confederate city”, a fact attested to by Pliny himself. The city retained its own laws, freedom and independence, and even had the privilege of naming her own magistrates. Her trade enjoyed famed prosperity, exporting minerals, wine, oil and almonds to Rome. Local salted fish and pickles were highly appreciated by the Empire. In the mid-19th century two bronze tablets were discovered in a place known as Los Tejares. On them were inscribed the municipal laws of Salpensa and Malaca, then Municipio Flavio Malacitano. It was the emperor Titus himself who granted these municipal privileges. The evangelical doctrine was brought to Málaga by St. James the Greater during the reign of Emperor Claudius. The city would also witness and suffer the martyrdoms of Paula and Cyriacus during the rule of Diocletian. The decline of the empire brought with it barbarian invasions: Swabians, Vandals and Alans arrived on the peninsula in the early years of the 5th century. Numerous towns were overcome and sacked, including Málaga, although she would quickly rebuild. The Visigoth monarchy held power for two hundred years, until the end of the 8th century, at the death of King Rodrigo. He was defeated in the Battle of the Guadalete River by the armies of Tarifa and Muza, not before stopping over in Málaga to occupy the city and port. Abdalajis Valley, seven leagues from the city, recalls the name of the first Arab conqueror. The long Arab presence would bring to the Iberian Peninsula far greater glory than pain. The occupation would not be either as fierce or bloody as it has been depicted. Rather than wars, these were conquering adventures which favored tolerant relations between the different peoples. The frontiers were porous and permissive, in terms of culture as well as religion. Habits and customs were for the most part shared. The invaders instituted significant progress in agriculture and irrigation, perfecting water wheels and channels. They cultivated the arts and letters, and developed astronomy, which was virtually unknown at the time.

After the break-up of the Caliphate of Córdoba, the kingdom of Málaga was founded under the control of the emirs, and was known as an Earthly Paradise. The ambitious revolts and struggles of the taifas (petty kingdoms) would end up destroying the Muslim empire. Málaga suffered exceptional violence during the clash in the Axarquía region. At the time, she was a solidly fortified town, her thick walls dotted with 74 towers. Together with the walls of Gibralfaro and the Alcazaba, they totaled the 200 so celebrated by Arab poets. The driving force of the Christian armies was definitive, with the presence of the Catholic King, determined to destroy one of the last remaining Saracen strongholds. Many were the failed attempts at conquest made by the Christian armies. Even the attack by the fearsome Hernán Pérez del Pulgar was vigorously parried by the governor of the Muslim town, Hamet el Cegrí. In the end, the inhabitants, besieged by hunger and thirst, were forced to submit. Valiant Hamet could not witness the handing over of the city. He locked himself inside Gibralfaro Castle, but the surrender was already a fait accompli. On 18 August 1487 the armies of Ferdinand and Isabel took the town, following three long months of siege. Following the conquest, what remained of now Christian Málaga was rebuilt. The former Alcaicería (silk market) was turned into houses, with an area set aside for the Moorish quarter, according to an agreement which allowed converts to remain in the city. During the mid-16th century, Málaga would experience extraordinary growth. Modest workshops, taverns and shops began to be set up, and there was a resurgence of trade. The salted fish business was booming. The port was expanded, churches and convents multiplied, together with lovely avenues like Caleta del Marqués. Later, during the 18th century, poorer quarters would spring up. Land reclaimed from the sea was exploited. Atarazanas Tower was pulled down. Work on the cathedral accelerated considerably. During the reigns of Felipe V de Borbón through Carlos IV, the city played an active role in defending Spain against the troops of Napoleon I. She would be the second city to rise up against the French, following Seville. The governor, Teodoro Reding, joined the army of General Castaños. The French remained in the city until 1812.

Parador De Gibralfaro Malaca Is Gibralfaro
he fortress/palace of Gibralfaro is founded and confounded in the furthest reaches of history. There are reasonable indications that its construction coincided with the presence of Phoenicians and Greeks in these environs. However, it would have to await the coming of the Arabs to consolidate its majestic and impregnable power. Gibralfaro was erected on a large site encircled by two types of towered walls, well provided with battlements and sheer deep moats impossible to ford. It had two bastions, two hexagons, two squares and two circles. There were four jealously protected access gates and a path protected by two wide walls which extended down to the Alcazaba. One of the four gates, Oriente Tower, was in the largest bastion, and was probably the main entrance to this magnificent fortress. The castle’s interior was provided with several cisterns and a generous well of enormous width and bottomless depths. At the end of the 9th century, during the reign of Abderramán I, a significant portion of the fortress was remodeled.



Juan de Ovando Santarén, 17th-century Málaga poet, wrote of it thus: “...Of towers ten, sublime nobility, three rings of walls away from the crown removed from combat at the weakest point...”. Secular walls of pain and glory, idyllic legendary gardens of conspiracies and love affairs. Beyond the main door there is an open area known as the “prisoners’ yard” (corral de los cautivos), with traces of the various caves and dungeons which offered mandatory accommodation to Christian captives. The walls of this exceptional Parador/palace/fortress have been transformed into an amazing balcony with pleasing views of the Málaga coastline from Torremolinos to the La Cala. The former arsenal (atarazana) boasts a unique and magnificent beauty, and was perhaps the most noble building in Muslim Málaga, a statement to which its can testify. It will have been the work of Abderramán III. The great carved marble gate has been preserved, topped by a slightly pointed horseshoe arch, perhaps indicating a vocation for or foreshadowing of the Gothic style. A lovely inset line of stone follows the curve of the horseshoe. The tympanum features an enigmatic shell which has given rise to a multitude of legends. On both sides of the arch there is an inscription, perhaps intended to warn the Christian adversary: “Le Galib Ila Allah”, “There is no victor but Allah”.

“...The Alcazaba sits atop the mountain as if on a throne, and Allah has placed it in lofty spot; its walls and grounds are two; its beacon rises up from the blessed mount; its towers are close together; its stairs are high and the walls well defended...” It originally had two gates, 110 main towers, thirty of which were excellently built and incomparably magnificent. There was an enviable garden which led onto the baths and mosque. And of course it also enjoyed the deterring protection of the fortress of Gibralfaro. Remains of Roman buildings and pottery have been recovered from under its foundations. Following restoration, the palace stands as a unique symbol of Moorish Málaga, both sybarite and warrior, faithful, infidel and capable of arrogant humility. What remains of the palace dates from the 11th century and the Nazarid reconstruction. Still standing is the balcony of an early patio, reached through three horseshoe arches adorned with a foliage design. The balcony enjoys truly lovely views of the sea and city. These great ruins can boast of being the best example of the architecture of Al-Andalus prior to the Almohads, and served as a precedent, the model and origin of Nazarid Granada.

Model Archeological Museum
doptive child following the reconstruction of the Alcazaba, the Archeological Museum has successfully sought to collect the most useful pieces and remains, exceptional witnesses which in and of themselves constitute a chair for the study of the city’s development: habits and customs for survival, well-being, myths and rituals; idols and gods; arts and artisanship of the sediment and sorrows seeded by successive waves of invaders. The Pre-history Gallery is a deliciously detailed sample of those first forced and stumbling steps of the earliest inhabitants. It contains unique pieces from the pre-Roman period. Of special note is a lovely marble Hellenistic head from the 3rd century B.C., which it seems certain shows the features of Epicurus. There are Greek vases and coins, Egyptian and Punic pieces and a variety of pottery shards.


The Alcazaba: Luxury And Lechery
he Alcazaba, or castle citadel, was erected atop a promontory, within the populated area, adjoining the coast, and only dominated by the castle/palace of Gibralfaro, today’s Parador. In the early 14th century, Ibn el Jatib described it thus:




In the Roman Gallery the display includes valuable marble statues; Carthaginian and Roman pottery; steles; clay, stone, bronze, terracotta and glass objects; and coins, among other things. There is an exceptional collection of gravestones and what is left of the traces of the passing of Christians, Visigoths, Muslims and Mozarabs in the Epigrafía Gallery. The Granada Rooms display sublime pieces of Islamic pottery, found at several excavations. The Alcazaba’s gardens are dotted with larger pieces: the Iberian figure of a boar, inscriptions, amphorae, vases, marble pieces and bones.

requested permission to live in the tower until the end of his days, and so he did. If the pious visitor has time enough, we recommend a satisfying visit to some of the many chapels.

Churches Devotions And Prayer Books
he image of Santa María de la Victoria, patron of the city, was a present given to the Catholic Monarchs at the behest of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria. Chronicles tell of legends that this same image appeared to King Fernando in dreams, holding the palm of victory in her right hand. The dream proved to be a premonitory revelation: the siege of the city gathered strength and after a few days Muslim Málaga was turned over to the Christian armies. “...The monarchs with whom he came, after defeating the Moor, by virtue of his merits, recognizing his nobility spoils gave to him.” Santiago Church was founded by the Catholic Monarchs and completed in the mid16th century. It boasts a slender Mudejar tower, topped by a Renaissance dome. The interior of the temple is surrounded by devout chapels. Atop the high altar shines a large 18thcentury altarpiece. Also worthy of a visit are at least some of the many churches: Los Mártires, San Juan, San Pablo, among others.


The Cathedral: Burning Brilliance
heroic and mystical temple is this basilica of imponderable slenderness. It was erected near the site occupied by the already ancient mosque, consecrated for Catholic worship following the Reconquest, and christened Santa María de la Encarnación. It was conceived as a cathedral with Greco-Roman features, and the embellishments of the Corinthian order. Construction was begun during the most outstanding period of the Renaissance. However, the process was a prolonged one – and not without uncertainty – as was normal for the monumental structures built between the second half of the 17th century and the early 18th. The mystic yearnings of Málaga were so ancient that it was a Catholic and Episcopal city from the earliest dawn of Christianity. The presence of the best architect of Toledo was requested, and he bestowed his approval upon the plans drawn by the prestigious Diego de Siloe. Nevertheless, it was necessary to halt construction due to insufficient resources. The three doors of the main façade lead to an extremely broad marble staircase. A tower of self-assured grandeur rises one hundred meters on the façade. You would do well to make a leisurely and rewarding visit to the building, such is its interior richness. Of particular interest is the choir, with carved stalls in American woods such as mahogany and cedar, the work of Pedro de Mena, Alonso Cano and others. The two organs of envious musicality are the work of the master organ maker of Cuenca Cathedral, Julián de la Orden. So proud was the bell-maker that he

Beaux Arts Museum And Picasso Museum
álaga’s fine arts museum is amongst the most valuable and complete. We need do little more than name a few of the noteworthy artists to assert its value and prestige: Zurbaran, Ribera, Murillo, Luis Morales el Divino, Francisco de Herrera el Viejo, Luca Giordano, and Alonso Cano.



After a lengthy arduous yet ardent process plagued by failures, the longed-for museum was born in 2003, housed in Buenavista Palace, a 16th-century Renaissance building in an area once occupied by the Jewish quarter. It was a long journey, filled with obstacles due to the artistic genius’s declared Communist ideology. Finally, thanks to the determined decision of the autonomous government of Andalusia and largesse of Christine and Bernard Ruiz Picasso, with the donation of a goodly number of pieces, the museum now holds the position it always sought. The rooms are many and varied: screening room, spacious auditorium and a huge book store with publications on the artist’s work. The library and document center, devoted exclusively to research, occupy three stories. The painting collection is hung on the two floors of the main building, in a group of a dozen galleries. In total, some two hundred and fifty works have been gathered here: paintings, drawings, pottery and sculptures. With the exception of Paris, this is the most important Picasso museum in the world in terms of the number of works, and the one which most



extensively and best shows the different periods and artistic preoccupations which made up his difficult career. In a certain fashion, the exhibition follows the path of Picasso’s life, from his first juvenile dabbling, childlike even to the end of his life in 1973. The works which may be admired by visitors are as numerous as they are valuable: Girl and Her Doll and Woman with Mantilla, both from the late 19th century; Mother and Child (1922) with classical elements; and the masterful Head of Man, from 1972. You will also find Olga Kokhlova with Mantilla, from 1917; Woman in an Armchair, from 1946; Still Life with Guitar on a Circular Table, from 1922; and Still Life with Skull, from 1947. The museum also organizes periodic workshops for aspiring child artists, lectures on the life and figure of Picasso, temporary exhibitions

but never the same. The area abounds with its own products from the sea and coast. Fritura Malagueña, a mixed fish fry, allows for a surprising number of varieties. You will find Anchovies, Fried or With Vinegar, Clams and Cazón en Adobo (dogfish which has been marinated, floured and fried). There are a variety of Seafood Soups, including Malagueña, prepared using some of these fish and just the right amount of dry sherry. The region’s garden produce is also generous and varied, and always just right. There are Figs, Pears, Almonds and relatively exotic fruits such as Custard Apples and Avocados. These make way for cold dishes such as Gazpacho, or better said, Gazpachos, each with its own origins. Porra Antequerana is perhaps the most hearty variation. The delicious and always surprising Ajoblanco comes alone, provided that it does not lack the necessary almonds or contain too much vinegar. There is also Avocado Gazpacho. From the farmyard come excellent quality meats: Pork, Chicken and Rabbit, as well as Kid and Quail. The wines come from the best vineyards on the peninsula, made using Muscatel and Pedro Ximénez grapes. There are also delicacies to take home with you: Cured Ham, Green Goat’s Milk Cheese, Cold Meats and Sausages from the mountains, Fig Cake, Almonds, olives, Dried Peaches or Apricots, Quince Paste, Honey, and much more.

Routes Through Enchanted Mysteries
n these unique lands, travelers will no doubt enjoy visiting exceptional witnesses to the passing of invaders and tolerant attitudes, heroic gestures and cultures which were sometimes contradictory, yet frequently symbiotic. They suffer yet enjoy art, religion, music and literature, customs and habits of wise porosity and symbiosis.


Haughty Castles And Humble Monasteries This curious getaway crosses Cadiz and Málaga, descending towards Gibraltar, just where the battle of the straits was fought. and more. The Picasso Museum is required viewing and a rewarding obligation. Olvera is white and medieval. At the highest point the church and what remains of the castle still stand. Close to Alcalá del Valle there are the ruins of what was a 15th-century Franciscan convent. All-powerful Ronda has successfully preserved sufficient portions of its walls. Gaucín, Castellar and Jimena rise like crests atop their respective hills. Nearby stand the remains of Almoraima Convent, from the 16th century. In Tarifa, opposite Africa, is the 11th-century castle of Guzmán el Bueno. It still seeks to recite the tale of legendary heroics, a defense of the town at the cost of his son’s life. Gothic, yet Mudejar In addition to the Mudejar monuments which travelers will already have discovered, the mountains of Ronda invite you to visit the Gothic parish churches of Cartama, Ardales, El Burgo and Parauta, or the hospitals of San Juan de Dios and Bazan in Marbella, and San Andrés in Coín. Along the road to the Axarquía region, there is an important group of Mudejar churches: Almanchar, El Bosque, Cutar, Comares and Benamargosa. Vélez-Málaga is the epicenter of this route. Must-sees include Santa María Church and the Mudejar elements still found at

Of Fish And Other Delicacies
t is well known that the majority of local tables and pots disseminate, distribute and divide stews and dishes which are alike, or at least similar, although difficult to equal. These waters offer an abundant variety of species: Hake, Sardines, Whitebait, Clams, Red Mullet, Gurnard, King Prawns, Sole, and above all, fresh Anchovies. You will find no restaurant whose stars allow it to renounce the presence of the Anchovy, or open-air bar where it will not be found. Custom is in fact the rule: “First anchovies, then whatever else is required.” In any event, travelers will be sated and satisfied anywhere in these surprising lands. You will note that the names of dishes will often be common or coincide: these are similar variants, with a common essence,



Santa Clara y Santa María Convent. Late Renaissance The long Muslim presence, which lasted until the 15th century, the influence of its architecture and the assuredness of the Mudejar master builders checked the coming of classicism. Even so, there are still sufficient sites of interest: the collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor in Antequera, and Málaga Cathedral, the result of a fruitful collaboration between the illustrious architects Egas and Pedro López, although it would be Siloé who would put the finishing touches on the work. The Baroque: sublime religiosity This Baroque stands out for the great variety of materials used: stone, brick, plaster and whitewashed masonry. Together with the buildings in the capital, already well-known to visitors, there are other noteworthy examples throughout the province. In Churriana (Finca del Retiro) lies the most ostentatious private garden in Andalusia. Heading towards the mountains, in Cartama you can visit Remedios Chapel, and in Coín, the parish church and shrine of La Fuensanta. Ronda, in addition to its religious architecture, with many churches and convents, boasts important civil structures, including the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo) and Bullring (Plaza de Toros), the House of the Moorish King (Casa del Rey Moro) and the palace of the Marquis of Salvatierra. Antequera is a city of Baroque convents, with numerous examples: Carmen, Loreto, San José and Belén, and brick towers such as those at San Sebastián Collegiate Church or San Agustín. In Archidona, key sites include the eight-sided square, Pósito (granary) and several churches. Vélez-Málaga is another important Baroque location, whose churches include that of the Discalced Carmelites (Carmelitas Descalzas), San Francisco and others.

Invented Romanticism It is said the romanticism chose Andalusia and reinvented it. There is any variety of reasons: multicolored landscapes, hidden and surprising paths, her mysterious ruins, the Arab lines of her cities and villages. These were more than enough to quench the thirst for adventure of those adventurous travelers from the most eminent lands of Europe. In Málaga the orphans of her small English colony missed the scent of the almond tree and honeysuckle, and the singsong voice of her speech and thoughts: Marbella, Caleburra Point, Estepona and other eternally cheerful places. The Adventure of the Discovery The town of Trastierra was the birthplace of Beatriz de Arana, a lady who was more than just close to the Admiral, and mother of Hernando Colón, erudite biographer of his illustrious father. In times of poverty, she lived in the capital, perhaps to escape her moments of glory and pain, of which there were not a few. These included San Agustín Convent and the mosque/cathedral, apparently, the building most admired by the Admiral. And it is here in fact that the Inca Garcilaso was laid to rest, symbol of the blending of American and Spanish cultures. To the south of Málaga we come to the mouth of the Guadalhorce River, a rest spot for tourists hungering for the sun, and way station for migratory birds. This area grows sugar cane and other tropical fruits. The excursion seems made to order for ecologists and naturalists, offering an easy opportunity to observe numerous flocks of water birds. Fuente de Piedra is the largest remaining lagoon in the Andalusian wetlands. Its salt water is crucial for nesting Flamingos. It is also visited by the GullBilled tern and Cinnamon Teal. Also interesting is the wetland area of Campillo. The route ends at Medina Lagoon, the summer nesting grounds of the White-Headed Duck, Camaleón and Red-Knobbed Coot. In winter there appear great flocks of birds.

Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro, s/n. 29016 Málaga Tel.: 95 222 19 02 - Fax: 95 222 19 04 e-mail:

Central Reservation Office
Requena, 3. 28013 Madrid (España) Tel.: 902 547 979 - Fax: 902 525 432 / e-mail:
Textos: Juan G. D’Atri y Miguel García Sánchez Dibujos: Fernando Aznar



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