Malaga is best known as the capital of the Costa del Sol and Picasso’s birthplace. As a city of museums, sunshine and beaches. As a destination where delicious food comes at surprisingly wallet-friendly prices. But there turns out to be a lot more to Spain’s sixth largest city – did you know these 10 surprising facts about Malaga?
Surprising fact 1: Deep factory roots
Malaga’s roots go back to 700BC making it one of the oldest cities in the Western world. The Phoenicians, a sea-faring civilisation from the Middle East, discovered it and called their new home ‘Malaka’, It means ‘factory’ or ‘salt’, continued by later arrivals in Malaga. For example, the Romans – you can see their tuna fish sauce (garum) factories in the Roman theatre – and entrepreneurs in the 19th and 20th centuries. Their factories used the 15 industrial chimneys around the city.
Did you know?
You can see Phoenician walls in the basement at the Picasso Museum and Malaga University Headquarters (on Paseo del Parque). The Museum of Malaga exhibits a wonderful bronze mask excavated near Plaza de la Merced and belonging to a Greek warrior employed by the Phoenicians.
Surprising fact 2: Sea gains
Like many seaside ports, Malaga has gained a lot of land from the sea. You might be surprised to discover that the Paseo del Parque, Plaza de la Marina and a large chunk of the port area are relatively new additions to Malaga. In Moorish times, the sea lapped at the foot of Atarazanas, once the city dockyards and now the main fresh food market. Next time you’re at the market, step outside the main arch and imagine looking out across the Mediterranean.