CurioCity: learning Malaga’s history & culture

As our departure date for Spain draws near, I’ve been spending more time learning about our temporary new home. We’re relocating temporarily to Malaga for a long stay working holiday. It’s our first time experiencing this kind of trip and we’re excited by the prospect.

Malaga history

Malaga is located on the south coast of Spain, right on the Mediterranean, and one of the first things I learned about the water here is that the Mediterranean is subdivided into smaller seas.

Technically speaking, Malaga is off the Alboran Sea, which runs between Spain and Morocco, east of the Straight of Gibralter. This region is rich with history, and amazing architecture, plus fascinating people and cultures. Malaga has a history that dates back nearly 3,000 years, making this seaside city one of the oldest in the world.

Malaga is the second largest city in Andalucia region (Capital city: Sevilla), and the sixth largest city in Spain with a population of 569,000 as of last census in 2016.

Malaga began as, not surprisingly, a trading port and commercial centre. The Phoenicians founded Malaga as Malaca, which historians think came from the word for salt.

Eventually the Romans did what the Romans did, and conqurerd the town around the third century. They built out the port and constructed a Roman amphitheatre.

Much of southern Spain fell to the Moorish conquest in the seventh century and Malaga was no different.Around this time, the Moors began to refer to the city as Mālaqah. As aa key port city, Malaga grew and prospered. A textile industry flourished, and the Muslim dynasty set to work on a protective fortress. The Alcazaba was built in the 11th century and remains one of the best preserved alcazabas (or fortified palaces) in Spain. The Gibralfaro castle fortress was constructed in the 10th century. Both are open for public tours.

What to see and do – Modern Day Malaga

malaga history what to do travel tips guide

Malaga may well be known as the city of museums. There are dozens of museums, large and small. The Centre Pompidou is the crown jewel, along with the Picasso museum, but there’s also a wine museum, a honey museum,and art and architectural museums spanning the city, and heavily concentrated on Malaga’s ‘mile of art’.

A large market, the Atarazanas market is a centrepiece of Malaga’s old town.
You’ll find food of every kind from mean and fresh fish, to Spanish cheeses, and fruit and vegetables

The market building was extensively renovated from 2008-2010. Today you can marvel at the craftsmanship; stained glass windows are just one of the lovely features in the iron-framed historic market.

Old town Malaga

Much of Malaga’s attractions are centered in the old town neighbourhood.

The bull ring, cathedral, many of the city’s museums, painter Pablo Picasso’s birthplace and plenty of old world Spanish architecture is all within walking distance. Several plazas or public squares are also nearby, like the Plaza de la Consitucion, Plaza de Aduana and Plaza de la Merced.

There’s so much history in Malaga. So much so, that construction of Malaga’s Metro is halted at only 65% complete, because they keep finding ancient architecture.

The countdown to our long stay working holiday in Malaga is on. The more I learn, the more excited I am to return to Spain.