And so… our Moroccan adventure was about to end in this last day.
We had to get up really early because we were supposed to check out from our hotel and be in the bus in 7 AM. As you can imagine we were all very sleepy and tired and almost everyone on the bus fell asleep immediately and didn’t saw the gorgeous views I witnessed.
Our route to Malaga went through all of the best sea resorts and beaches in Spain. We saw Costa del Sol, Marbella and Fuengirolla. Here’s just a glimpse of what you can expect there :
But it was only April and we had to see them just from the bus while wishing we could come again in the summer.
After maybe two hours we arrived in Malaga. The bus left us near the City Hall and we had a really short walk around some of the biggest landmark of the city.
Malaga has one of the most beautiful city halls in Spain. The huge ‘Ayuntamiento’ was built between 1912 and 1919 and is the work of the famous architect Fernando Guerrero Strachan.
The design is Neo-Baroque. Its floor plan is rectangular with a large patio in the middle. The facade is spectacularly decorated and has a beautiful, triangular pediment embellished with narrative depictions.
The figures at the side of the building represent the sea, fishing and trade.The city hall has three floors and is further embellished with a lavishly decorated balcony, Ionic columns and a clock tower.
The city hall cannot be visited without prior permission, which is a pity because the interior is filled with extraordinary works of art. Fortunately, there is much to be admired on the outside as well.
The Pedro Luis Alonso rose garden, named after the first mayor of Malaga following the Spanish Civil War, is situated behind the city hall. The garden was built in 1945 and is planted with over seventy different species of roses.
Behind the city hall and the Pedro Luis Alonso rose garden are the Jardines de Puerta Oscura.
These gardens were designed in 1937 by the architect Fernando Guerrero Strachan and are located where the city gate ‘Puerta Oscura’ once stood.
These gardens consist of several small terraces planted with cypress trees, date palms, pine trees, bougainvillea and jacarandas.
Next to it is the Bank of Spain – Built between 1936 and 1939 by the architect José Yarnoz. The Bank of Spain’s shapes and elements make a strong and important impression, as does the entity it represents. The architect used an impressive facade where the main element is a hexastyle porch with Corinthian columns supporting a portico in neoclassic style.
This is the Vice-Chancellor’s Office of the University of Malaga, designed by Teodoro de Anasagasti and inaugurated in 1923 to house the Post Office. It is of Neo-Mudejar style, making it an extremely valued architectural landmark. It has a square floor plan with rounded corners on the main facade in which small circular towers have been recessed, the one on the left higher than the rest and with a lean-to roof that gives it a certain Oriental aspect. This is a decorative building that has managed throughout to keep a balance between aesthetics and functionality, despite the fact that the latter was the prevailing consideration.
Used until 1986 as the Post and Telegraph Office, it has now been rehabilitated and transformed into Malaga University’s Vice-Chancellor’s Office.
Above all them stays the Alcazaba Fortress. This Moorish fortress is certainly less well known than the famous Alhambra in Granada, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Before you start, take a look at the scale model, displayed at the entrance to get an overview of the building as a whole. The Moorish rulers began construction of this walled fortress in the 8th century. However, most of it wasn’t built until the 11th century. The Alcazaba was once part of the city walls and was built to protect the city of Málaga from invaders.
There are several gardens, courtyards, gates, patios, palaces and ponds in the Alcazaba as well as its hundred rectangular towers.
The Arabic style is omnipresent. The typical arches, intricate stonework, mosaics and other ornate elements will transport you back in time.
Upon entering, take note of the labyrinth-like maze of walls and corridors. It is not difficult to get lost here. The fortress was built this way to confuse potential intruders.
Within the enclosure of the Alcazaba are the former palaces of the Islamic government and the Moorish Palacio Nazari. This palace was built around three rectangular patios. The patios each have an open side with three arches and were built according to the model of the Alhambra in Granada.
One of the palaces of the Alcazaba contains the Archaeological Museum. A collection of Phoenician, Roman and Moorish pottery, sculptures and mosaics is displayed here.
The short walk to the fortress starts at the Roman theater. If you are not in the mood for this, or if you have difficulty walking, you can use the lift, located on the other side of the Alcazaba, near the city hall. Admission: € 2.20 Children under 16: € 0.60. The combined entrance fee for the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle situated above is € 3.55
The Roman theater lies at the foot of the Alcazaba fortress and was discovered by accident in 1951 during renovation of the library and the municipal archives. The theater dates back to the 1st century BC and was used until the 3rd century. Part of the theater was hidden under the foot of Mount Gibralfaro and another part under the library and the city archives. Because these buildings interfered with the excavation of the theater, it was decided to demolish them. This work was completed in 2011.
Although the open-air theater is not quite complete because the Moors, who, after taking power, used materials from it to build the higher-lying Alcazaba fortress, the semi-circular stands with stone benches and the stage are still recognisable.
In the summer, various performances and concerts are held in the theater itself. Of course, the location and atmosphere lend themselves perfectly to this. Also take a look inside the glass pyramid, next to the Roman theater which contains a space in which fish used to be preserved.
Next we saw the The cathedral of Malaga. After the Christians had retaken Malaga, they began to build on the site where the Mosque had formerly stood. The cathedral took more than two and a half centuries (1528-1782) to build, which explains its different building styles. Both the exterior and interior were largely built in the Renaissance style, but you will also find Baroque and Gothic influences. Due to a lack of funds, a second tower was never built and this gives the cathedral a particular, asymmetrical appearance. Because of this, the cathedral has been nicknamed ‘La Manquita’, which means ‘the one-armed woman’.
However, its official name is: ‘La Santa Iglesia Cathedral Basilica de la Encarnación’.
Three arches can be seen on the exterior. These beautiful entrance portals are lined with different coloured marble with medallions above the doors. The side doors bear depictions of the patrons of Malaga and biblical scenes. The cathedral has a small, green, courtyard garden and you will discover the beautifully landscaped Patio de los Naranjos if you walk around the outside.
Once you enter the cathedral of Malaga, you’ll be struck by its size. The whole space, with its three 42 m aisles has beautiful vaulted ceilings. The middle aisle is as high as the other two but visibly wider.
The marble pulpits and the 17th century choir stalls are remarkable. Forty-two sculptures in the choir stalls are carved from mahogany and cedar wood and are the work of the famous sculptor Pedro de Mena. The chancel also dates from the same era. The two Baroque organs date from 1871. A lot of effort was expended upon the chapels which contain important works of art. The side chapels contain images of the Pietà, Christ on the Cross and Mary of the Rosary.
The price of the ticket is 6 euro.
Then we just wandered around the streets for about just enough time to buy some souvenirs and gather to go to the Malaga Airport.
So, that’s the end of our first time outside of Europe and the gorgeous Morocco. Now I’m starting to write my diaries for the next adventure – Rhine’s castles in Germany.
Stay tuned and don’t forget to travel!