With a history dating back over three thousand years, Malaga, Spain is one of the oldest cities on the planet, but it’s surely not sleepy or falling into ruins. It is a living museum, with archaeological remains dating as far back as the early Phoenicians, located in the city centre. Malaga - a travel back in time from the ancient to the modern, with a bustling business sector catering to tourism and city residents.
Time travel seems to be a specialty of Malaga. Within the downtown district of Malaga is a unique museum and certainly one of a kind; the Malaga Museum of Glass and Crystal. Housed within a carefully restored 18th century palace, the museum contains a private collection of over 3,000 pieces of crystal and glass from a variety of different cultures and time periods. Beginning with beautiful objects from the Egyptian, Phoenician, Greco-Roman, Byzantine, Medieval and Islamic cultures, the viewer is swept away into the era’s sixteenth century to nineteenth century art.
The astonishing aspect of the tour is the period style of the rooms. From the sixteenth to nineteenth century displays, each room is furnished exactly the way it would have been during that time period. Furniture, carpeting, paintings, mirrors, porcelain, lamps and carpeting all fit period craftsmanship of the magnificent objects in glass and crystal, adding a historical background for the artistic objects.
It is a quick step from ancient craftsmanship to modern art in Malaga. Sunny Malaga’s exceptional natural lighting attracts artists from all over the world and cultivates native Andalucía inspiration. Malaga citizens are eager to point out the birthplace of Picasso, located in the Plaza de Merced, and direct you to the Picasso Museum, in the heart of the historical downtown centre.
Inaugurated on the 27th of October 2003, nearly 2,000 visitors arrived to view the master artist’s work on the opening day. During the height of tourist season, the museum is so popular there does appear a waiting line of art aficionados waiting to enter. First time visitors may become confused, however. Picasso’s birthplace, “Casa Natal”, is sometimes mistaken as the museum, as the two locations are minutes apart. Those who do not realize the two locales are separate often believe they have seen all there is to exhibit, but for a comprehensive study of Picasso’s life and a greater appreciation of his work, you do need to visit both. It is worth the extra time and both can be visited within the day.
After soaking up the rich cultural heritage of downtown Malaga, the mind naturally turns to soaking up a bit of the wonderful sunshine that characterizes the Mediterranean city. Those that gravitate toward the coast are in for a special treat. Not only does Malaga’s spectacular coastline contain hundreds of beaches along its 150-kilometre perimeter, with hidden coves and fashionable beach clubs populated by celebrities from all over the world, it has everything coastal adventurers like to do. A favourite pastime among Malaga visitors and inhabitants alike is golf, with fifty golf courses offering views of the area’s verified landscape from high mountain tops and dizzying cliffs that tumble down to a blue crystal sea.
Activities also include horseback riding, caving, four-wheel driving and typical water sports. That beautiful sea, however, is wild, with giant rocks jutting close to shore, so if you are aquatically challenged, you may wish to simply stretch out and work on your sun tan. There are plenty of swimming pools and theme parks that offer everything from water rides to a Jurassic Park styled adventure. Instead of viewing dinosaurs, the traveller will privileged to be among lions, bears, hippos, antelope and a variety of marine life.
Visiting the Costa del Sol is not complete until you have feasted your eyes of the Alcazaba of Malaga and the nearby Gibralfaro Castle. Although not as celebrated as its sister palaces, the famous Alcazar of Seville and the Alhambra of Grenada, it is the best-preserved Moorish fortress in Spain. The Alcazaba is three centuries older than its neighbouring structures, and presents a deliciously flavoured introduction to early Moorish architecture.
It’s a hike for the hardy to walk from the Alcazaba to the Gibralfaro Castle, but well worth it for the view. The castle was built in 929 AD, and extended during the fourteenth century to protect the Alcazaba Palace. From the castle ramparts, you can see all of Malaga and the Andalucía Coast spread out in glorious display.
If Malaga’s ancient technology was inspiring, complete your journey through time by exposing yourself to cutting edge technology. The Andalucia Technology Park was set up for the purposes of encouraging innovative small to medium sized industries and large corporations that are respectful of the environment and are devoted to manufacturing and advanced services. The science park has become one of the most important economic centres in southern Spain, with over five hundred businesses and nearly fifteen thousand employees. Since 1995, the complex has remained the headquarters for the International Association of Science Parks.