Size: 385.50 Km?
Metropolitan area population: 750,000
Population: 560,017 (September 2000)
Residents known as: Malague?os
Monuments: Alcazaba, Gibralfaro Castle, Roman Theatre, Cathedral and Cathedral Museum, Birthplace of Picasso.
Geographical situation: On the southern Mediterranean coast, 50 nautical miles from the Straits of Gibraltar and 527 from Madrid.
Tourist information: Central Tourist Office. Avenida de Cervantes, 1.
Phone: 952 604 410 Fax: 952 214 120

Clear southern light, blue skies most of the year round and the best climate in all of Europe. This is Malaga, the City of Paradise, as poet and Nobel Prize winner Vicente Aleixandre called it. This is where the continent ends and another begins across the water, a maritime city that has been port of call to many different civilizations throughout the ages. The first to settle here were the Phoenicians, and they left behind them a rich heritage of commerce, coinage and alphabet, and set the economy of the city on its way through agriculture, ironwork, precious metals and fishing. Later came the Greeks and then the Romans, responsible in great part for the development of the city and its communications with Seville and Granada.
Three centuries of Roman rule, another three under the Visigoths and Byzantines, and then came the turn of the Moors. This was a time of glory for Malaga City, especially in the area of commerce, when Malaga was the leading commercial port in the kingdom. The conquest of Granada ended this period, and Malaga was incorporated into the kingdom of Castille in 1487 after a seige that hunger ended. A period of decline followed, but the city did not take too long in recuperating its position as leader in agricultural. Cereal and grape production was introduced on a large scale, and the number of foreigners that settled in Malaga in the 18th century as a result of this wealth amounted to five percent of the population. The political and administrative importance of Malaga began in 1833, and the 19th century would also be one of industrialisation, when Malaga province was to become the second in Spain in industrial output. The economy declined again in the third part of the 19th century, along with the national economy, and Malaga was not to pull itself out of this economic crisis until the 1960s.
The coastal area around Malaga was now the Costa del Sol, and it is one of the most famous tourist areas in the entire world. Sport, culture, construction, services: all went along for the ride, and the problem that Malaga now faces is not how to maintain its leadership position in world-wide tourism, but how to maintain it at the same level all the year round. And even this would seem not to be a problem any longer.
The best way to see Malaga is on foot, and a good place to start would be the Park. The route from the Fuente de las Tres Gracias brings us down to the Casona del Parque, the present home of the Town Hall, and the Palacio de la Aduana, and from there we can head up to the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle, open from 9 to 8 p.m. and closed on Tuesdays. This is one of the most interesting monuments in the city. The views from the Gibralfaro, over the bay and the Roman Theatre, are spectacular, and well worth the walk up. Following this, we should cross calle Alcazabilla to reach the Plaza de la Merced, where we find the house that Malaga?s greatest son, Pablo Picasso, was born in. It shows prints and ceramic pieces done by the artist. From here we cross the plaza to calle Granada, to reach calle San Agust?n, a small street filled with teahouses where we find the Palacio de Buenavista, future seat of the Picasso Museum. We can leave from here directly to the Cathedral, which is open to the public from 10 to 6.45 p.m. every day except Sundays and feast days, and on Saturdays from 10 to 5.45 p.m. Watch out for the well-known ?La Manquita?, the unfinished tower.
We should now cross calle Santamar?a and head for the Plaza de la Constituci?n, from where we can walk down the most famous shopping street in the city, calle Larios. This ends in the Alameda Principal and the Plaza de la Marina. The route might be easier with a map of the city, available free at any of the five tourist offices in the city or at any hotel.

Restaurante Antonio Mart?n. Specialising in Malaga and Andalusian cuisine. Company meals. Tel: 952 227 398 and 952 227 328.
Restaurante Casa Pedro. Specialising in traditional dishes. Pso. Mar?tomo de El Palo.Tel: 952 290 013.
Mes?n Astorga. Traditional Malaga cuisine, red meats and fresh fish, roast potatoes, kid, aubergine with honey, desserts and home-made ice-creams. Closed on Sundays. Private room, air conditioning. C/Gerona, 11. Tel: 952 342 563 and 952 342 563.
El Varadero del Carmen. Specialising in Alicante rice dishes and seafood. Paseo mar?timo in Pedregalejo, 1. Tel: 952 297 106.
Restaurante Commendatore. Meats, fish and pastas. Top quality and price. Company meals. Avenida de Pries, 4.Tel: 952 228 394.
Marisquer?a El Nav?o. Specialising in seafood and fish, and roast meats. Varied tapas. C/Ingeniero de la Torre Acosta, 21. Tel: 952 433 526.
Vegetarian restaurant El Legado Celestial. Specialising in fresh tofu, buffet. C/Peregrino, 2. Tel: 952 351 521.
Arab restaurant Al-Yamal. Specialising in cus-cus. Blasco de Garay, 7. Tel: 952 212 046.
Restaurante La Blanca Paloma. Specialising in meats and fish. Closed on Wednesday nights and Sundays. Avenida Andaluc?a, 25. Tel: 952 359 702.
Restaurante de Mar?a. Specialising in wine soups, rice dishes and Burgos baby lamb. Open midday on Sundays. Avenida de Andaluc?a, 32. Tel: 952 397 397.
Parrilla Asador El Yantar del Pintor. Specialising in roast lamb, kidney beans with almonds and hams. C/Fresca, 10. Tel: 952 609 522.
Casa la Ag?ela. Reservations only. Tel: 952 614 570. Closed on Wednesdays. Urb. El Atabal.
Maese P?rez. Ham house. Specialising in Castilian cooking, stews and market products. Excellent wine cellar. C/Pelayo, 4 (beside the Post Office) Tel: 952 303 124
Marisquer?a Miguel. Specialising in fish and seafood. Juan de Herrera, 24. Tel: 952 300 044.
La Taberna del Herrero. A little piece of Castilla and Le?n in the centre of Malaga. Parking San Juan de la Cruz. Tel: 952 390 615.
La Pimienta Verde. Special events and bachelor parties. Barbecue patio, meats and fish. Tel: 952 350 407.
Restaurante Valent?n V. Specialising in Dutch artichokes, oysters, fresh fish, rice with lobster, hare, partridge and fresh foie Company meals, private room for 50 people.Closed on Mondays. Tel: 952 295 517.
Marisquer?a Sal Gorda. Specialising in all types of seafood dishes, vermouth in the barrel. C?novas del Castillo, 12. Tel: 952 600 031.
Marisquer?a Restaurante Naypa de Paco Carrasco. Moroccan cuisine, except on festive days. Paseo Mar?timo in El Palo. Tel: 952 204 601.
Marisquer?a Noray. Enjoy the great variety of seafood in our bay. Plaza del Teatro, 2. Tel: 639 675 186.
Marisquer?a El Volante. For all types of celebrations. Avda. Sor Teresa Prat, 81. Tel: 952 173 238.

There are two festivals in Malaga that stand out from the rest: Holy Week and the Malaga feria. The first is essentially a religious event, with processions through the streets during nine days of devotion, and all the solemnity and colour of the traditional Holy Week celebrations. The feria, on the other hand, is fun, and Malaga?s August feria is one of the most famous in all of Spain. People from all over the world come to it, to share in the music, singing, flamenco performances, and to soak in, for a full week, the atmosphere of an authentic Andalusian feria. There are two parts to the feria: the city centre in the mornings and the feria grounds at Cortijo de Torres at night, and the fun goes on until dawn every day. Apart from these two great festivals, there is also Carnival time in Malaga in February, an ancient tradition that had been lost and recovered again about twenty years ago. The Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses) honours the patron saints of the city, San Ciriaco and Santa Paula on June 18th; Corpus Christi is on June 6th, the Night of San Juan is on June 23rd, the processions for the Virgen del Carmen take place on the Sunday following July 16th and the Virgen de la Victoria festival takes place on September 8th.

Fried fish is the dish that Malaga is famous for. It comes in all shapes and sizes, fried in many different ways, eaten in many different places - from the beach to the most expensive restaurants ? and always served with that friendly flair that is the essence of Malaga City. Seafood is also important in the gastronomy of this city, with Malaga clams a speciality that should be tried by everybody. The land around the city is rich in fruit and vegetables, and the mountains filled with game, and this reflects too in the gastronomy of the city. Cooked with olive oil, this is Mediterranean cuisine at its best, and here one can eat the best of the various dishes that the province and city is known for far and wide: gazpacho andaluz, ajoblanco (made with almonds, garlic, virgin olive oil, stale bread, muscatel grapes, vinegar and salt), gazpachuelo (fish and seafood soup with mayonnaise sauce), the various mountain dishes and. Of course, sardines on the spit.

In spite of its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Malaga is rich in ecological resources. Its century-old park, the Parque de M?laga, is a nature reserve in itself, with a wide variety of tropical and sub-tropical plants perfectly at home in this area, making this park one of the few exterior botanical gardens in Europe. The botanical gardens of la Concepci?n, beside the park, with another magnificent collection of tropical and sub-tropical plants, was built by the Malaga nobility in the 19th century. It also has a small archaeological museum with some fine pieces from the Roman period, and a small palace. Close to the city too is the Montes de M?laga Nature park, covering more than 4,500 hectares and with some 230 plant species and 160 species of animal life. Visitors can see and know more about the wildlife here in the Las Contadoras centre, a building dating from the 18th century. It is from here too that a number of trekking routes into the park begin. On the way to the park, and through it, there are plenty of ventas on the roadside where one can enjoy the traditional country food served in these establishments.
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Villages of
The Axarquia