Malaga, situated on the southern coast of Spain, is an important city for trade, tourism and agriculture and has one of the larger ports in Spain.
The city itself has a population of around 500,000, with surrounding towns contributing a further 800,000 people. Consequently Malaga is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the whole of Spain.
Surrounded by mountains, Malaga with its strategic importance on the Medittteranean was attractive to a number of peoples who conquered it: Phoenicians (around 1000 BC), Romans (300 BC), Visigoths (500 AD).
After the Moors took the city in the 8th century, Malaga became a hugely important trading centre, remaining under Moorish rule until the 1487 "reconquest" (la reconquista) of Spain by the Catholic Kings (los Reyes Católicos) Ferdinand and Isabella.
Malaga’s past has left many sites of historical and architectural interest. In the 2nd century the Romans erected an amphitheatre (el anfiteatro) in what is now the commercial centre of the city.
The Moorish occupation left behind a fortress built around 1065, called La Alcazaba, which dominates Malaga and provides wonderful views over the city. At the top of the Alcazaba is a free museum charting the history of Moorish Malaga as well as showing a record of the ongoing restoration of the Alcazaba itself. Heading further along the Alcazaba at its peak is a moorish castle (El Gibralfaro) which is now a Parador (state run hotel), which again affording stunning views over Malaga.
In the centre of the city is Malaga’s cathedral (la catedral), commonly referred to as "la manquita" (the little one-armed lady), due to the fact that the second of its two towers was never finished. Construction of the cathedral began in the latter half of the 16th century and lasted until the end of the 18th century when investment was cut by Royal Decree in order to send aid to Mobile ( in the United States), which was suffering from the after effects of an earthquake. As its build straddled two centuries, the cathedral has an unusual combination of architectural styles: Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.
Located near the beach at La Malagueta is Malaga’s bullring, designed by Joaquin Rucoba. Construction began in 1874, and took two years to complete. It is built in Neo-Mudejar style and has a capacity of 15,000. Many of Spain’s most respected bullfighters have appeared here: Curro Romero, Manolete and El Cordobesto to name a few.
Malaga is noted also for being the birthplace of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, who was born on the 25th of October 1881 in the Plaza de la Merced. Of interest to fans of Picasso and his work are the Picasso Foundation (the Native Home of Picasso) and the Picasso Museum (el Museo Picasso Málaga) which has a permanent collection of 155 pieces by the artist.
As well as history and culture, Malaga also has much to offer the food lover. There are many bars serving traditional tapas. The poet Federico García Lorca, immortalised the Pasaje de Chinitas (Chintas Passage, located off the Plaza de la Constitución) in a poem called Café de Chinitas. Malaga is also famous for the "pescaito frito" (fried fish) and the "chiringuitos" (beach restaurants) in the suburbs of El Palo and Pedregalejo.
Its international airport is a landing point for people visiting the major tourist points of the Costa del Sol, which boast fine beaches and excellent climate: Malaga’s weather itself is very hot in the summer and mild in the winter.