Malaga, Spain: Layers of History

DSC_0174Europe’s southernmost city is a study in the layers of history that characterize this part of the world. Many travel writers are critical of Malaga as an example of overbuilding and apartment speculation that have ruined a once beautiful city and coastline. DSC_0175But that’s not what we found at all. Sure, lots of people from Britain, Russia and northern Europe have fueled a speculation frenzy over the last twenty years that ultimately resulted in Spain’s still-lingering recession. Loose, or non-existent, land use planning created mega-apartment buildings. But the core of Malaga is still attractive, vibrant and a wonderful example of the cultures that have left their mark on this city.

Two particular examples of historical layering here are the Alcazaba and the Cathedral of Malaga. DSC_0170DSC_0168DSC_0171DSC_0166The Alcazaba was an 11th century Moorish fortress and palace built, in part, with stones from the first century Roman amphitheater, whose ruins are at its base. After the Christian re-conquest in the 15th century, parts of the Alcazaba show the presence of Spanish Christian royalty who strategically placed their coats of arms throughout the palace.

The Cathedral, which took over 300 years to build, and still lacks one of its two planned towers, incorporates layers of architectural styles popular in each of those three centuries. The cathedral itself is built over what was once a mosque, which in turn was built over the remains of another church.DSC_0163

But the current layer of humanity in Malaga is that of a multicultural society enjoying the life, food and joy that is Andalusia.DSC_0188DSC_0192DSC_0193DSC_0194DSC_0162

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