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Malaga Highlights In One Day
There are many cruise passengers who stay in Malaga for only one day and want to get suggestions of what to do during that day. Here are some suggestions:
1. The Cathedral
The cathedral is one of the most beautiful in Spain. In 1487 the Catholic Kings dedicated the Cathedral of Malaga in a building that was a mosque. In 1528 construction was started on the present Cathedral and it became known as the Cathedral of the Encarnacion, because it was dedicated to the Virgen de la Encarnacion. The architect was Diego de Siloe, and the style was to be late Gothic. The building was partly destroyed by an earthquake in 1680. Building was resumed in 1719 and construction was officially stopped in 1783, although the right tower was not finished, for lack of money. The Cathedral is called “La Manguita” (one armed woman) because the right tower is missing.
Bernardo de Galvez was a brave soldier from Macharaviaya, who became the governor of Louisiana, before the territory became French. During the American War of Independence, Galvez convinced the Spanish King Carlos III to divert the money that was going to be spent to complete the second tower of the Cathedral to help the Americans against the British. The money was spent for arms, food, medicine, and blankets. They did not send any men because they wanted the help to the Americans to be hidden from the British.
Because construction took so long with many different architects, the Cathedral has three different architectural styles. The interior is Gothic, the head of the church and naves are Renaissance, and the entrance and tower are Baroque. The church is 115 meters long. The choir has stalls with carved wooden statues of saints and other figures, which number 42. These were carved by Pedro de Mena, one of Spain‘s best wood carvers of his time.
The ceiling is very unusual because it has 23 cupolas, the only church in Spain with this feature. These cupolas have very beautiful designs of keys. Outside, the cupolas can be seen extending on the roof of the cathedral.
Today some citizens of Malaga want to finish the construction of the second tower for aesthetic reasons, but there is plenty of inertia and others want to leave the unfinished tower as it is.
2. The Alcazaba
The Alcazaba is the best preserved Moorish fortress in Spain. It sits on the hill that overlooks the city of Malaga. It consists of two concentric enclosures, with the outer enclosure being lower than the inner enclosure. The inner enclosure contains 3 palaces. The Moors built this fort over the remains of a Roman fort. There are more than 100 towers in the walls. The Alcazaba now contains the Archaeological Museum of the city. It has beautiful gardens and fountains also.
The first fortress was built in the 8th century but was completely rebuilt in the 11th century for King Badis of Granada. By the entrance to the Alcazaba is a 2nd century Roman theater that is undergoing restoration. The fortress is connected to the Gibralfaro Castle.
The Moorish governors were the ones who occupied the Nazari palace, constructed in the 11th, 13th, and 14th centuries. There are three consecutive patios in the palace. There is a tower called the Maldonado Tower, which has a lookout with a beautiful view of the city below.
There is a gate at the entrance which is called the Puerta de la Boveda (Vault Gate). Behind the City Hall there is an elevator that carries one to the fortress. The fortress was cleverly designed because at two gates the path doubles back to make it harder to attack the fortress. In 1487 the fortress was captured after a long siege by the Catholic Kings (Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand). In 1931 the Alcazaba was named a National Monument.
3. Glass and Crystal Museum
No. 45 on City Map.
Calle Gaona, 20 (In front of the Church of San Felipe Neri)
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 19:00H. Closed on Mondays. Visits are guided.
The Glass and Crystal Museum is housed in an 18th century palace that has been lovingly restored. It has the largest crystal collection of Spain and has samples from all the major European crystal manufacturers, many of the samples being rare and very expensive. Beside the crystals, there are many stained glass windows from England with Pre-Raphaelite designs, many from famous artists of the 19th century.
This museum is also a decorative arts museum because it has antique furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries. There are beautiful paintings from those periods too. The chandeliers and mirrors are fantastic.
Every one who has visited this museum has been impressed. This is a unique place that should be on everyone's must-see list for Malaga.
4. Antigua Casa de Guardia
Alameda Principal, 18
The Antigua Casa de Guardia is the oldest tavern in Malaga, and it was founded in 1840. One can try many different wines from Malaga, many which are stored in oak casks in the tavern. There is a very long bar, without chairs, where one stands while trying the wine. The atmosphere is that of the 19th century. This tavern has received the award "Empresa Emblematica", meaning emblematic business. A glass of wine costs about 1.20€.
The wine company and tavern were founded by Jose de la Guardia in 1840. In 1862 Queen Isabel II visited Malaga and went to the tavern. Jose de la Guardia named a wine after her, the "Moscatel Isabel II". She was so impressed by the wines and the owner that she appointed him Governor of Segovia in 1865. He sold the property to Enrique Navarro Ortiz, who in turn left the business to the brothers Jose Ruiz Luque and Antonio Ruiz Luque. Later they passed on the business to their nephew Jose Garijo Ruiz in 1932. Later his oldest son Jose Garijo Alba took over the business and expanded it. The business is still in the family today and produces quality wines. The tavern at the Alameda Principal is a must stop for tourists.
5. Calle Larios
At the start of Calle Larios is a monument to Manuel Domingo Larios y Larios (1836-1895). He was the firstborn son of the first Marques de Larios and he inherited a large fortune from his father and also the title. He was the one who constructed Calle Larios, which is one of the main streets, together with the Alameda Principal. The sculptor was Mariano Benlliure, one of the best sculptors of Spain at that time, and the sculpture was finished in 1899. Benlliurre was the most famouse 20th century sculptor from Valencia. In front of the pedestal, there is a figure in marble of a seminude figure of a woman with a baby boy, writing the words "Malaga Agradecida" (Grateful Malaga). This represents Maternity and Charity. There is a nude figure of a man in bronze on the opposite side with a hoe on his shoulder, and a garland of grape leaves on his head. This figure represents Work.
In the 19th century, the city wanted to unite the Plaza de la Constitucion with the port and a study was made by the architect Moreno Monroy in 1859. At that time Malaga was a medieval city. Other architects became involved, such as Jose Maria de Sancha and Manuel Rivera.
The project of building Calle Larios was started in 1886 with the help of the company Hijos de Martin Larios, the main company of the Larios family. The city expropriated the land in 1878, where there were many old houses and proceeded with the redevelopment.
The main architect was Eduardo Strachan Viana-Cardenas. The project was finished in 1891. There are 12 blocks of buildings, all of them with four floors and an attic on top. One major characteristic of the buildings is that the corners are curved. The French windows have wrought iron railings. What is beautiful about this street is the look of uniformity and the rooftops are all about the same, and the buildings are painted in pastel colors. The street is 16 meters wide and the sidewalks are made of marble. Today the street is for pedestrian use only.
In the past, this street was used for promenading elegantly and for meeting friends. Today this still happens, in the late afternoon and many Malagueños go there and take their walks, and perhaps have a drink and eat tapas or pastries. One of the favorite places to meet friends is the elegant pastry shop Lepanto. Calle Larios is one of the most famous streets in Spain and the buildings beside it have some of the highest rents in Spain. It is the best place to promenade in Malaga and one of the most visited by tourists. It is one of the most attractive streets in Spain.
6. The Malaga Park
The city park lies beside the port and goes from the Plaza de la Marina to the Plaza del General Torrijos. At the Plaza del General Torrijos, there is a beautiful fountain called the Fuente de las Tres Gracias (Fountain of the Three Graces), which is a French design of the 19th century. The park was constructed in 1897 and conceived as a botanical garden and has been remodeled in 2007, so it is now more than a hundred years old. New walkways have been added, statues have been cleaned, a new pond has been constructed, overgrown shrubbery has been removed, and many thousands of new plants and flowers have been planted. Alongside the main road there are two promenades that are bordered with palm trees and shade trees. There are many benches located throughout the park.
The preliminary plans were drafted by the Marquis of Larios and the architects were Rivera, Guerrero Strachan, Rucoba and Crooke were amongst those that took part in the long design and development phase. Joaquin de Rucoba was the architect who oversaw the building of the park. The park was designed as a Mediterranean garden with touches of the Renaissance and the Baroque. The land it sits on was reclaimed from the sea. Many of the trees and shrubs have small signs identifying them. Many of the statues and sculptures are also identified.
There is a walkway parallel to the Paseo de los Curas that has a lot of shade because of the canopy created by trees on both sides of this wide walkway. The new pond comes from an overflowing fountain and is bordered by rocks and flowers. There is a big mural with angels in relief. At one end of the park is a children's play area. Across the street, one can see the City Hall, the Bank of Spain (the most beautiful building in the city in Art Deco style), and the University building, which has an art gallery that is free to visitors.
The park is 800 meters long and occupies a space of 30,000 square meters. It contains plants from every continent, mainly from tropical and subtropical countries. Among the unique plants and trees are Sago Palms, Canary Island Dragon Trees, Canary Island Pine, Fire Tree, Tropical Pandan Trees, Barbary Trees, Chorisias, Cedars from Lebanon, and Bird of Paradise Trees. There are many more species in the park. Many of the trees were donations from the Marquis of Larios.
Across the street and beside the City Hall are the Gardens of Pedro Luis Alonso, which most people think belongs to the park. This smaller park was named for the first mayor of Malaga after the Spanish Civil War, and was designed by Strachan. The design is Spanish-Muslim and French, with paths bordered with symmetrical shrubs, orange trees and a beautiful aviary. There are also ponds and springs. During spring one can smell the perfume wafting through the park from the new blossoms.
Just below the Alcazaba are the Gardens of Puerta Oscura. These were designed by the architect Guerrero Strachan and run along the hill, below the walls of the fortress. It has many interesting trees and plants, with small terraces, fountains, bowers, and footpaths. One can get a good view of the big park and the port from this hillside.
7. Picasso Museum of Malaga
Palacio de Buenavista
Calle San Agustín, 8
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 10 am to 8 pm
Fridays and Saturdays, 10 am to 9 pm
Sundays and public holidays, 10 am to 8 pm
Closed on Mondays, December 25th and January 1st
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881 at a house in the Plaza de la Merced, where there is now the Picasso Casa Natal Museum. He left Malaga to study art in Madrid, then went to Barcelona and later Paris. He became one of the most influential painters of the 20th century, one of the most revolutionary. He was a cofounder of the cubism style of painting. During his lifetime he said that he wanted his pictures to be exhibited in his native city of Malaga. Picasso’s oldest son was named Paul, who married Christine. They had a son called Paul.
When Picasso died in France in 1973, his estate was divided between the French government (in lieu of taxes) and his family. Christine was then a widow and several years ago, she and her son Paul decided to exhibit their Picasso paintings in Malaga. She worked with the Government of Andalucia to have a museum built to honor Picasso. There were already two other Picasso museums in Europe, one in Barcelona and another in Paris. But there was no museum in Malaga yet.
The government found a home for the museum in the Palacio de Buenavista, a historic palace built in the 16th century. The palace has Italian and Mudejar elements and is an elegant building. Christine Ruiz-Picasso wanted her collection to be housed in a typical Andalusian house. The government had the building remodeled for the museum and the remodeling was finished in 2003. In October 27, 2003, the museum was inaugurated by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.
The Museo Picasso Málaga is run by the Fundación Museo Picasso de Málaga and the Fundación Paul, Christine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso. Two foundations were created, each with its own Board of Trustees, and together they promote and support the Museum in accordance with the mission outlined by the founding donors. The Fundación Paul, Christine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso is the owner of the Collection, whereas the Fundación Museo Picasso de Málaga owns the group of buildings that house it. There are a total of 155 pieces of art in the museum, many of them are ceramics. The collection is considered comprehensive with many artworks covering all of Picasso’s career.