Everyone’s heard of Seville, but what of Andalusia’s second biggest town, Málaga and its half million Malagueños? This gateway to Spain’s Costa del Sol has a little of everything that’s good about Andalusia including Mediterranean beaches, rugged mountains, Phoenician/Greek/Roman/Moorish history, massive Holy Week processions and floats, beautiful strip parks, and a huge cathedral.
Málaga, as seen here from high atop its Moorish defenses, is Spain's second busiest port. Just as important is its airport which shuffles in nearly 10 million visitors annually into Europe's Florida (called "Costa del Sol.") Habitation started here no later than the Bronze Age and its written history goes back nearly 3 millennia starting with the Phoenicians. Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and Christians and maybe even the Greeks have all taken a crack at running this place where the Guadalmedina river empties into the Mediterranean.
The river Guadalmedina drains into the Mediterranean and splits Málaga in two with its channel now cast in concrete. To Málaga 's west, descends another river, the Guadalhorce.
The estuaries of these two rivers flow into the Bay of
Málaga and form an alluvial coastal plain in the
mountain amphitheater where the Phoenicians established a
trading post in 1200 BCE. They found the place to be so
fertile that they colonized and cultivated here as well
as traded. But these rivers do not like men messing with
their vegetation and frequently responded by flooding
these interlopers out. (Thanks to the Wikipedia
for use of this map.)
We look here east from the highest part of the city (558 feet) called Gibralfaro (Arabic for "Mountain of lighthouse" since those ancient Phoenicians had placed a lighthouse here.)
The medieval Christian kings were not the first to
make the mistake of stripping native plants in order to
promote crop cultivation -- and inadvertently causing
flooding through the subsequent soil erosion. The
Phoenicians apparently had to abandon their first city at
the mouth of the Guadalhorce in 580 BCE for the same
reason. In the 20th century when the flood control
engineers took back the slopes, they ripped out vineyards
famous for sweet Málaga wines - but rendered all
but useless by the phylloxera plague then destroying most
of Europe's vines. From this point on a clear day, one
can see both African Mountains to the southeast and
Gibraltar's famous rock to the west.
Next we visit the old Roman Theater at the base of the hill that looms above Málaga. Join us by clicking here.
If you have good bandwidth, Please join us in the following slide show to give the Málaga, Spain the viewing it deserves by clicking here.
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Created on 29 August 2009