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Fortress & Castles

Fortress & Castles

The hilltop Alcazaba's hefty walls and towers dominate the city and command magnificent views over the old town below and across to the Mediterranean. Measuring 25,000m2, this was the largest fortress built by the Moors. The Alcazaba was founded during the first half of the 10th century by Cordoban Caliph Abd al-Rahman III, who also built Medina Azahara.

Archaeological excavations in recent years have verified the Roman Empire’s presence both inside and outside of the Alcazaba’s walls, and yet its current silhouette can be traced back to its founder, Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Rahman III (who also built Medina Azahara). According to an inscription found on marble which is now housed in the (Archeological) Museum of Almería, he ordered it to be built in the latter half of the 10th century.

The interior of the Alcazaba is divided into three walled recintos, or compounds, spreading up the long slope from the lowest part near the entrance; the first two are Islamic, and the third is Christian. A long fortified wall, the Muralla de Jayran (or Jairan), named after the 11th century king who built them, stretches from the Alcazaba, down the hill and up the other side to the Cerro de San Cristobal. From here the panoramic views take in the Alcazaba itself, as well as the city and port stretched out below.

The Moorish castle is the landmark of Velez-Malaga and worth visiting especially for the view and orientation. Access can be by car, there is ample parking inside the grounds. You can visit by the footpath from Calle Forteleza Alta which rises through woods behind the Iglesia de Santa Maria.

The magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro sits on a high hill overlooking Malaga city and port, and dates back to the 10th century. The image of Gibralfaro is well known: you can see it in both Malaga city and province's seal and flag.