The Alcazaba of Malaga is the most well preserved example of a Moorish citadel in Spain. It is next to another historical site: the Roman Theater.
The Alcazaba of Malaga, or Fortress of Málaga was built in the middle of the 11th century by the Moorish. The word “alcazaba” comes from the arabic word “al-qasbah” which means “citadel,” and the one in Málaga is best preserved example of a Moorish citadel in Spain. It can be found right next to another important historical site: the Roman Theater, which dates back to the 2nd century B.C.
It is easy to spot the Alcazaba of Malaga, as it is located on a hill, almost in the center of the city. In fact, the entrance to the Alcazaba of Malaga is just a short walk from the main shopping district and the Cathedral. You would think that a fortress of this kind would be set farther apart from the city center, but in this case, you are in luck, because its central location leaves no excuse for not visiting this gorgeous walled structure.
We visited the Alcazaba of Malaga in late fall after lunch, and it was just the time to catch the last rays of sun, and a gorgeous sunset over the ocean. The entrance, as I said, can be found close to the ruins of the Roman Theater, which have recently been restored and provide a nice photo opportunity. We were pleasantly surprised at the admission fee for the Alcazaba, which was less than four euros a person.
As we stepped out of the little hut where we paid our admission, it was like stepping into the past (if it weren´t for the other tourists snapping photos.) The walls of the Alcazaba of Malaga are very well preserved, and there are lots of doors with keyhole openings that reminded me of parts of the Alhambra in Granada, which is normal considering the fact that the Moorish were responsible for the construction of both monuments.
The Alcazaba of Malaga itself is made up of two walled structures. In the past, it was also linked up to the walls of the city, so the original structure had 3 different defensive walls, but at present, only two remain intact. One of these structures is bigger, and is built around the topography of the hills. The bigger, outside wall, also has several defensive towers that provide great look out/photo spots! We were so glad to have brought along our camera and tripod to get pictures of Málaga´s port at sunset!
As you walk around the Alcazaba you will also find lots of gardens that are enclosed by walls, and keyhole gates. It reminded me of something right out of an Arab tale. You could envision some kind of scene with starcrossed lovers stealing away at night to a garden and crouching behind a flower bush to rendez-vous in secret. Some gardens also held fountains, oftentimes in the center of the typical starlike design of Moorish architecture.
As you walk along the path with the gardens and fountains, you will encounter the Tower of Christ, which once served as a chapel. You might also notice that there are lots of twists and turns on the path. This is not an accident. The Moorish were trying to confuse attackers, and thus created a fortress with lots of right angles to hide behind and surprise any threatening visitors. The inner part of the Alcazaba of Malaga is accessibly by the Gate of the Granada Quarters. This is the area where the palace stood, and you will also be able to view some Andalucian style patios. The Alcazaba of Malaga continued under Moorish control until it was captured in the year 1487 under the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (the Catholic Monarchs).
We ruskommend a visit to the Alcazaba of Malaga with 4 boquerones. The views of the city are amazing, especially if you have the chance to visit around sunset. We were also captivated by the history of the structures. It really is incredible how much history is right under our noses, and a lot of times, we take it for granted. The Alcazaba, while a landmark when seen from afar, is one of the most interesting visits I´ve had on my trips to Malaga. This little piece of Moorish architecture, surprisingly well preserved, is worth your while to visit (and considering the fact that the admission fee is so affordable, you really must go!)
Information about The Alcazaba of Malaga
Ruskommendation for The Alcazaba of Malaga: 4 boquerones
- Address: Calle Alcazabilla, 2, 29012 Malaga, Spain
- Telephone: +34 630 93 29 87
- Price: Normal: 2.20 euros; Joint ticket Alcazaba & Gibralfaro: 3.50 euros; Reduced (Malaga residents, children aged 6-16, students): 0.60 euro; Free entry Sundays after 2pm.
- Hours: (Tue-Sun) Summer: 9:30am to 8pm and Winter: 8:30am to 7:30pm (last admission 7:00pm); Mondays 9:00am to 6:00 pm; Closed 1 Jan, 28 Feb & 25 Dec.
- The Alcazaba, reviewed by Abby Ramirez on Oct 16, with a rating of boquerones