Marbella - Old Town & History

Discover Marbella's charming old town. © Sophie Carefull
Discover Marbella's charming old town.

The Old Town & Orange Square in Marbella

Partially surrounded by the ruins of an old Arab wall with narrow white washed streets, old churches and squares, as well as lots of fascinating shops and boutiques At the heart of the old town is Orange Square which dates back to 1485 and, according to Christian urban design, is surrounded by whitewashed houses and three historical buildings - the town hall, the old governor's house and the Chapel (Hermitage) of Santiago. The gardens are full of brightly coloured flowers and orange trees and in the centre stands a bust of King Juan Carlos 1.

 

 

At the end of Nueva Street, where it joins Orange Square, stands a stone fountain which dates from the year 1504 when it was erected by the first Mayor of Christian Marbella. To the left is the Old Governor's House which dates back to 1552 and still retains the original stone facade adorned with shields and a three arched balcony.

Encarnacion Church situated in the very heart of Marbella old town © Michelle Chaplow
Encarnacion Church situated in the very heart of
Marbella old town.

The Town Hall located on the square was built in 1568. On the front right-hand corner of the building is a sun dial, various shields and some commemorative stone inscriptions perfectly conserved and in legible condition. One of them dates back from the 11th June, 1485 when the town was re-conquered from the Moors.

Within the Town Hall are the original Council Chambers which are now divided into two floors. The upper floor has an artistic ceiling carved in Mudejar style and the walls are covered with curious murals that date from 1572. These represent the eagle from the Imperial Standard belong to the Catholic King and Queen, a scene from Christ's crucifixion, Marbella's first coat of arms and some allegories of the power of God and the administration of justice. The Catholic King and Queen's pendant, an important historical relic, is also held in this hall and publicly displayed every June 11th to commemorate the date of the re-conquest of the town.

Dominating the square is the most important building in the town, The Church of Saint Mary whose construction began in 1618. The main facade of the building is adorned with a beautiful red stone entrance worked in Baroque style while the interior consists of three sections which underwent restoration after the 1936 Civil War. The church organ here is the most important built in Spain in the last 125 years. The installation began in 1972 and was completed in 1975. It is made up of 5000 pewter, copper and wooden pipes, four manual keyboards of 56 notes, a 36 note pedal and various other special characteristics. In the church square there is also a tower which was part of the citty wall that used to surround the Moorish town.

Walking from there to Trinidad Street past a row of houses are more ruins of the castle and remains of some Roman Capitals that were taken from other constructions and used for building its walls. The existing wall extends to the end of Portada Street where it disappears, as did so many others when, in 1786, by royal command of King Carlos I when the city walls were pulled down. Nearby, the Chapel of Santiago, built in the 15th century was the first Christian church in the town. Today it houses religious figures belonging to the Brotherhood of Love and Charity, including a wooden carving of Christ in Neo Baroque style.

Located in one of the major streets of the old town is the Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz Square and Chapel which dates back to the 15th century. The main facade is a combination of simple stone work construction and traditional whitewash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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