Back in Spain! We left Spain on November 9 and just returned via cruise ship (where we have zero cases of coronavirus!) Malaga is a gorgeous port city on the Mediterranean, with many cruise ships stopping here after crossing the Atlantic. Malaga was founded by the Phoenicians 2,800 years ago, making it one of the oldest cities in the world as well as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities. Having been ruled by the Phoenicians, Romans, Muslims, and Christians, the historic city center is considered an “open museum,” with an abundance of archaeological and historic sites. Another claim to fame for the city is as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, with a museum dedicated to his work. But there are also Picasso museums in many other cities. His most famous quote, which we heard several times today, is “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
First up in the photos is the 1st century BC Roman Theater, only unearthed in 1951. It is right in the middle of the city, is free to enter, and forms the lower “array” to the Alcazaba fortress, which you can see above it. Built by the Hammudid Dynasty, the Alcazaba was constructed in the 11th century, with some material taken from the Roman Theater. The Alcazaba was fabulous, is one of the best preserved in Spain, and the admission cost was just 1.5 euros for seniors! In the second photo, you can see five arrowslits at the top of the structure, used to shoot arrows at attackers during raids, yet so narrow that the archers’ bodies were protected. In the third photo, you can see a narrow channel with water flowing. This is the complex’s water conveyance system. Built on a hill, the water flows down through these gullies and into fountains and holding pools…very cool to see! After that are some of the gardens, followed by those famous Moorish “keyhole” arches, used many times over in this Alcazaba. Some of the arches are so elaborate, they are dizzying.
We took a free walking tour around the city, where you tip whatever you wish at the end. These are professional guides who choose to put their guidance to the test and not charge upfront. By all accounts, they seem to do very well with tips! All the photos following the Alcazaba were taken on our tour. You can see the spire of the Cathedral of the Incarnation from most places in the city center and in several photos. But…look at the photo of the cathedral itself. There is a spire on the left side, but the right side…? It looks like it fell off in a natural disaster. No! Construction began in 1528, and the builders eventually ran out of money, so the right spire had to wait. Eventually, they collected the money to complete it, but the city’s citizens kind of liked the distinction of having a unique, unfinished, one-spire cathedral, so they elected to keep it as it was. The orange and gold building adjacent to the cathedral, with the Pieta on the uppermost balcony, was the bishop’s residence.
After that are various street scenes to give you a sense of the city. We found pedestrian-only walkways, fountains, contemporary sculptures, restaurants, designer retail shops, and lots of palm trees. Just beautiful. We liked the style of DK’s “barbershop” in the last photo. Despite its name, it does say it is for hombre and mujer….both men and women. It even has chandeliers inside!