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MALAGA

The city of Málaga has been sung, praised, painted, written about and, of course, loved. Her close to three thousand years of history have made her a modern Mediterranean city, between the cosmopolitanism of a large city and the elegant beauty of past centuries. In Málaga one can lose oneself in the historical old town; its parks and gardens, the Gibralfaro mountain; search for its temples; examine its museums; sasvour its hundreds of taverns...; but one thing is for sure: we will always feel at home, because Málaga is still the warm-hearted daughter of Andalusia. Once the 21st Century has begun, the city is beginning to transform itself, as was planned in 1994, but the aim now is for 2010. The spotlight is expected to shine on Malaga for some years to come since Malaga City Council decided in 2004 to present a bid to the European Union requesting it be given the title of European Culture Capital in the year 2016. This bodes very well for work and improvements to continue over the next decade to achieve this goal. Sea breezes from the Mediterranean coastline regulates the summer heat to a more comfortable levels than the inland Andalusian towns and the Malaga Mountains form the perfect barrier to protect the city from the colder weather in winter. It can still be very hot in July and August and it can be colder (minimum of around 13 °C) between December and February. Some much needed rainfall is to be expected in the colder months, but it usually does not usually last for long. As well as homage to the great Picasso, other great historic monuments include the imposing Baroque Cathedral, popularly known as ‘La Manquita’ (One Armed Woman), referring to its rather lopsided appearance due to the missing east bell tower. High on the hill above the city is the Parador (state run hotel) of great historic importance. It was once a Moorish castle and is a wonderful place to either stay the night or have a long lunch enjoying these privileged surroundings with panoramic views over Malaga city and out across the port to sea. Although there was much destruction in Malaga, especially during the time of the Spanish Civil War, there is still plenty of proof of the Moorish occupation. Today you can visit the Moorish Alcazaba fortress, dating back to 1065, which also now features a very interesting archaeological museum. Malaga centre is not only the perfect place to explore the many historical monuments, atmospheric little streets and squares with delightful café culture, but it is also a wonderful shopping centre. The main street to head for runs perpendicular to the stunning tree lined avenue, the Alameda, and starts at the Plaza Marina, near the port. Calle Marqués de Larios (often simply referred to as ‘Larios’) was made pedestrian in 2002 as part of the overall improvements being made to Malaga centre. The result is a busy chic area with many boutiques, designer shops and classy cafes, all surrounded by beautifully restored buildings. At the top of Larios is the main square, Plaza de la Constitución, which is centre of attention throughout the year when cultural, traditional and religious events are being celebrated. It is especially pretty in December, when a huge Christmas tree and decorations are the focal point. During Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week), Malaga is taken over by incredible religion processions and the square is decked out with tiers of seats for spectators. Notably during this very important week of religious celebration, Antonio Banderas often continues to take part as he has done since he was a young boy. Also a the main square at the north end of Larios is the entrance to the five star Larios Hotel, whose visitors include big names such as Malaga born Antonio Banderas and wife Melanie Griffiths. There is a very sophisticated cocktail bar on the six floor of the Larios Hotel, from which there are stunning views across to the top of the Cathedral – especially spectacular at night when it is floodlight. As well as cocktails and other drinks, the bar has food and snacks and there is often live music on – a magical venue at any time of year and especially on a balmy summer night. Off Calle Larios, in the melee of tiny streets and interesting tapa bars, restaurants and even teterías(Moorish tearooms) you will find other interesting shops and also the bustling main fresh food market, Mercado Central de Atarazanas. There are also several indoor commercial shopping malls, one just behind the landmark building of the huge quality department store, El Corte Ingles. Whereas previously, Malaga centre used to live up to the southern tradition of keeping the siesta time sacred, more and more shops are now open all day. Some of the smaller, family run businesses may still lock up for a long lunch. But the commercial shopping centres, El Corte Ingles and many of the shops in Calle Larios stay open all day, to meet the demand of the resident or tourist who enjoys the freedom of longer shopping hours. During the summer months and leading up to Christmas and Kings Day (January 6 th) many specialist shops, such as El Corte Ingles department store extend their hours to open on certain Sundays. The urban sprawl around the city is undergoing expansion and development as the population of Malaga grows year on year. Included in the many on-going Municipal projects is the construction of a Metro (underground) system to link up key areas including the large University Campus and the International Congress Centre to the West. There are many festivals celebrated throughout the year in Malaga, such as the International Jazz Festival (at the beginning of November) and Film Festival (held early in March) and much more. The main theatre and location these and many such events as well as excellent theatre and music is the beautiful Teatro Cervantes (Cervantes Theatre) The historical events of the capital of the Málaga province, coveted by different nations as the gateway to the Iberian Peninsula and devastated by plagues and floods in the 19th century, have greatly mistreated its beauty. Now, the malagueños are conscious of the tourism potential and instead of being a doorway to invasion, it is now the door open to millions of travellers each year, to become acquainted with the Costa del Sol and Andalusia; be it by air, land or sea. Thus, in 1994 all the administrations, whatever their political view, agreed to think of the city's future and the CIEDES Foundation was created, mainly for the development of Málaga and its future. Thus, tourism is no longer considered as transitory; it is time to plan for the future of Málaga, among other ways, as tourism potential, and thus the Málaga Strategic Plan was born, the basis of which is to create a quality tourism city, with the necessary infrastructures to absorb the influx of travellers and proudly become the capital of the Costa del Sol. With the new century barely begun, we can now take stock of the progress, and we see that it is not far from the initial expectations, although the largest projects are still under way. One of the main points of the Plan was the refurbishment of the Historical Centre, the recovery of the monuments and creation of an interesting museum network. Today, the two fortresses that preside over the city, the Gibralfaro catle and the Alcazaba, can now be visited. The Roman Theatre has been recovered, the Cathedral is again in great shape and the building facades have recovered their old splendour. Several museums have opened, such as the Municipal Museum and the Ermita de La Victoria, although the offer is still growing, with the Contemporary Art Museum (calle Alemania) and the Fine Arts Museum, which is planned to be housed in the Palacio de la Aduana, current Sub-delegation of the Goverment. But the best is yet the old Fine Arts Museum, Museo Picasso de Málaga, in the Palacio de los Condes de Buenavista (calle San Agustín), one of the main points for tourism promotion of the capital and a key element for the international launching of the city as Picasso's birthplace. However, this planning not only includes the improvement and expansion of the tourism offer, but also the extension and modernisation of the basic infrastructures for air, sea and land transport. Thus, the Málaga Port has been expanded with a new dock in order to welcome the large cruise liners that travel the Mediterranean and to offer its services, as it already receives over 250 cruise liners a year and 135,000 passengers. But the Special Port Plan goes even further, the enclosure, which for many years was separate from the city, will be opened and large leisure areas will be built. Regarding land transportation, the Public Works Ministry is working on the high speed AVE railway, which will reduce travelling times between the main spanish and European capitals. Along with this, Renfe is planning to take underground the railways that divide the city in two and to expand the current central station. In addition, the new 'super-ring road' is planned, which will create a new access and exit from the capital to the western Costa del Sol, and which will join the expressway to Estepona. In Malaga there is no shortage of places to eat and drink. From top notch, Michelin rated restaurants to the most humble tapas bar, there is everything in between. If you find yourself in a Malaga chiringuito (beach bar) then the traditional ‘espeto’ sardines cooked outside on a skewer is not only delicious, but also an integral part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. There are many other delicious fresh fish dishes to choose from on most menus and generally at a very reasonable price.


Malaga Police & Emergency Numbers

  • Police/Fire/Ambulance: 112
  • National Police : 091
  • Local Police : 092
  • Guardia Civil : 062
  • Fire Brigade : 080
  • Ambulance : 061

 

 

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