Benalmadena - History

Ancient watchtowers still evident along the coastline of Benalmadena.
Ancient watchtowers still evident along the coastline of Benalmadena.

Much of the proof of Benalmadena's ancient history has been carried into modern times through the remains of the three watchtowers still evident along jutting rocks along the coastline. Both the Phoenicians and the Romans used these towers in their day.



Arroyo de la Miel still displays the remains of a Roman archway, which leads the way into the important building called La Tribuna. During the time of the Arabic rule, the town was named "Ben Almedana" meaning sons of the mines. Until the time of its destruction, the Castle of Benalmadena was a great defence fortification against intruders.

After the surrender of Marbella in 1485, it was thought that the rest of the coast would be easy to conquer. However, such was the resistance to the Castilian advance that King Fernando had to take full control and drive the forces hard. Although this extra effort led to the surrender of many coastal towns and villages, Benalmadena held on. After much resistance, Fernando ordered the capture of the castle, which was only achieved after an unusually prolonged struggle.

Once the castle was destroyed, the people fled. Six years later in 1491, the Catholic Royals in Granada gave authority to Alonso Palomero of Malaga, to repopulate Benalmadena, under the strict vigilance of the then mayor of Malaga. Benalmadena become the main point of defence on the coast against the many attacks by African pirates who pillaged and raided the area.

The Municipal Archeological Museum in Benalmadena, which opened in may 1970, is of great international importance. Over the two floors of exhibits is a large collection of Neolithic and pre-Christopher Columbus pieces.