|Welcome to Málaga, Spain, and the Moorish fort of Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle. Photo: Silvia. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Since the 11th century, Málaga has been watched over by the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortified palace that sits atop a hill in the centre of the city. Built over the ruins of a Roman fortress, and close by the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, the Alcazaba was initially used to defend Málaga against pirates as it offers clear views of the sea and Africa in the distance, but in more modern times the Alcazaba serves as a magnificent tourist attraction that helps to tell the story of this colourful city.
|Alcazaba in Málaga, Spain. Photo: Manuchis. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
While it is the best-preserved construction of its kind in Spain, the Alcazaba is actually one of two Moorish palatial fortresses in Málaga, the other being the Gibralfaro which is slightly older, and yet is connected to the Alcazaba in its construction. When the Alcazaba was erected, its architects took full advantage of its position atop a hill and built two concentric shapes, or citadels – the first and largest forming the outside wall of the fortress on a lower level, and the second citadel within the first, and housing the palace itself.
|Further up the hill from Alcazaba, stands the Gibralfaro Castle. Photo: Nicolas Lope de Barrios. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
|More architectural splendor at Alcazaba. Photo: Cayetano. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
110 main towers, and multiple smaller ones make up the Alcazaba, which became the home to numerous Moorish rulers over the centuries. Some of these governors chose to add their own features to the fortress, most notably Yusuf I, who added a second wall around the largest concentric wall that added crucial reinforcement, and was also the way in which the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro came to be connected. Entry to the Alcazaba itself is through a series of gates, built at angles beneath towers which made the fortress easier to defend.
|Intricately designed and carved Moorish arches can be found throughout Alcazaba. Photo: Cyberfrancis. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
|The exquisite patio garden of the 'Cuartos de Granada' or Granada Quarter at Alcazaba. Photo: Wojtek Gurak. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Thanks to its double-walled construction, the Alcazaba enjoyed maximum military security, but what is most surprising is how beautiful the fortress is within its walls. Spectacular arches, carved columns, intricate mosaic floors and elaborate, manicured gardens in courtyards through which small streams flow are very typical of Moorish design, which combined the restrained details of the Arab aesthetic with the grand natural elements of the Spanish artistic style. To get the very best views of the Alcazaba gardens and their design, take a walk on the paths atop the fortress walls.
|Look at the details in the arches! Photo: Manuel LM. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
|Bathtub fountain at Alcazaba. Photo: Silvia. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
The sheer magnificence of the Alcazaba palace makes it difficult to comprehend its fraught history, and the fragrant gardens and comfortable seating areas are a pleasure in which to spend a few hours on your holiday to Málaga.