17 May 2018:
Malaga, Spain:
Gateway to the Costa del Sol and Granada

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Málaga: its very name brings to mind sweet repose, and sweet wine.

The town is handsomely set between the mountains and the sea. On a bluff above are the rust-colored walls of the Alcazaba fortress. In the town, the  dramatic flair of Spanish architecture.

All are conducive, I suppose, to great art, and it was here that Pablo Picasso was born. There’s a very life-like statue of an adult Picasso seated on a bench in the center of town.

For all of these reasons and more, Málaga has wrapped itself in a mantle of art.

Near the port is The Centre Pompidou Málaga, a “pop-up” extension of the famed Parisian museum. In the center of the city is the Picasso museum, a small but rich collection of pieces—many of them from the private holdings of the great artist’s family.

And nearby is the Carmen Thyssen museum, an outpost of a great Spanish collection.

Today was a spectacular early summer day. The jacaranda and other flowers were in full bloom and fresh paint awaited the arrival of peak season in a few weeks. We had quiet enjoyment.

FROM EARLIER VISITS

GRANADA

One of Spain’s most spectacular and famous cities is Granada, just under two hours to the northeast.

Granada sits at the base of Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers.

The city has been inhabited for thousands of years and about 12 centuries ago it was a center of Islamic and Jewish culture. The city became the capital of a province of the Caliphate of Cordoba; it was mostly destroyed in war in 1010.

In January 1492, the last Muslim sultan in Iberia surrendered control of Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella, Los Reyes Católicos (“The Catholic Monarchs”.)

By the 16th century, Granada took on a Christian and Castilian character, as immigrants came from other parts of the Iberian Peninsula.

Although many Muslim buildings were destroyed by the Catholics, those that remain represent the most complete group of Moorish domestic architecture in Europe including Granada’s public baths, including El Bañuelo or the Alhambra Baths, and the complex of Arab public fountains and wells, unique in Europe.

The Alhambra, Arabic for “the red one”, or the red fortress, was built in the mid-14th century. It originally was the residence of the Muslim rulers of Granada and their court. With the reconquest by the Spaniards, it became a Christian palace.

After falling into disrepair, the Alhambra was “rediscovered” in the 19th century.

It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.