Historical Sites

Historical Sites

The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means "red or crimson castle", perhaps due to the hue of the towers and walls. Created originally for military purposes, the Alhambra was an "alcazaba" (fortress), an "alcázar" (palace) and a small "medina" (city), all in one. Alhambra fortress had existed since the 9th century and a residence of Kings in the 13th century.

The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo is housed in the magnificent 15th-century Monasterio Santa Maria de las Cuevas. Known as La Cartuja, this is located in the district of the same name, north of Triana and across the river from the city centre – look for the iconic, cone-shaped towers.

Playa el Cable (Cable Beach) takes its name from the overhead cable "El Cable Teleferico" runway that transported buckets of iron ore down from the Peñoncillo mine on the Sierra Blanca to ships moored offshore. If you look out to the sea you can't miss seeing the large anchor end tower of the line.

When visitors see the magnificent baroque entrance to this vast stone building, most assume they're looking at yet another of Seville's palaces or grand residences. In fact, its origins are more prosaic: a tobacco factory, albeit one of Spain's largest buildings.

There are about 100 different watchtowers (Torre Vigia or Torre Atalaya or Torre Almenara) along the coast of Southern Spain. Some are of Moorish origins others from date from the later Christian re-conquest period. All with the purpose of looking out for invaders from the South. They have lasted the centuries with remarkable strength.

Inside five small dolmens (standing stones) can be viewed. They are original and date from about 3,000 BC. Also on display are a number of pottery vessels, stone tools, arrowheads, axes, personal ornaments, necklace beads made of semi-precious stones and perforated seashells. The skulls and skeletons and other bones on display are reproductions as the originals are preserved.

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 original path was built between 1901 and 1905 by the Sociedad Hydroelectrica del Chorro (Chorro Hydroelectric Society). A pioneering project to take advantage of the 100m drop in the river Guadalhorce required the construction of a small dam.

Just outside Antequera you can visit three 5000-year-old dolmens: Menga Dolmen (the largest in Europe) and Viera Dolmen, which are both located just outside the town, while El Romeral Dolmen is a few km away. These three prehistoric burial chambers represent some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe.

Madinat al-Zahra was declared a UNESCO world heratige site on 1st July 2018. We are in the year 400 of the Hegira, 1010 AD of our era. On the southern slopes of Jebel al-Arus, the Bride's Mountain, the marble, jasper and precious metals of the city of Madinat al-Zahra gleam in the morning sun among silver-leafed olive groves.