In my first visit I went to the Alcazaba, almost forty years ago, and was not impressed; This time I decided to appreciate it from below, and found the image much more impressive. trying to read something about it, I found some pictures that don't match the poor idea of my first visit (hard restoration? closed sections in the old days?who knows?). The question is that I'm sorry for not having spent one more hour to go inside. Nex time, for sure.
It's a fortified palace from the 11th century said to be " the best preserved in Spain. That's it - mandatory to see!
Rebuilt in the 14th century by the Nasrid rulers, Palacio Nazarí contains the residential quarters. It consists of several structures joined together by multiple courtyards with porticoes and fountains. Only two of these courtyards, Patio de los Naranjos and Patio de la Alberca, and their surrounding halls are open to visitors. Much of the original stucco decorations have perished over the years, but what remains has been painstakingly restored and shows elegance and skill, but much less extravagance than the Nasrid Palace in Granada. When I visited in Feb 2005, a newly wed couple were having their photos taken (see attached photos).
One of the most beautiful features of Alcazaba are the 11th century multi-lobed arches of Torre de Maldonado. Were these perhaps the inspiration for Venetian arches, I wonder? The tower is accessed from the Patio de los Surtidores and has a balcony with beautiful views of the city. It also leads to an adjacent tower, la Torre de la Armadura, which has a 16th century Mudéjar ceiling, built in the Islamic style by the Catholics after the Reconquest.
Patio de los Surtidores is made up of two levels. The lower is a nicely landscaped garden with fountains (hence the name "Patio of the Jets of Water") and the second is a terrace that leads into la Torre Maldonado and Palacio Nazarí (Nasrid Palace, the living quarters). An important architectural feature of the patio is the set of ornate 11th century horseshoe arches that lead into la Torre Maldonado.
The fourth and last gate one encounters when visiting Alcazaba is Puerta de los Cuartos de Granada. It leads into the Nasrid Palace (Palacio Nazarí), which is the residential quarter of the rulers of the city.
Plaza de Armas is the first terrace one reaches when entering Alcazaba through the series of gates. It is a beautiful terraced garden planted with a fountain at its centre and great views over Málaga. This landscaping is in fact a recent addition for, as its name indicates, it was originally used by the armed guards for defensive purposes. Up a few steps from here one reaches the fourth gate, Puerta de los Cuartos de Granada, which leads into the palace quarter.
Though Jesus is a revered prophet in Islam, it is unusual to find a tower dedicated to him in a Moslem fortress. In this case, this tower (Torre del Cristo) was named as such after the Reconquest when the Catholics conducted a celebratory mass in it. Within the tower is the third gate into la Alcazaba de Málaga and it elands into Plaza de Arma.
The use of Roman ruins as building material for the Alcazaba is most evident in Puerta de las Columnas, the second gateway into the fortress. The gate's name refers to the Roman columns used in its construction which are still visible to this day. This gate towards la Torre del Cristo, where the third gate lies.
Named "Gate of the Vault," Puerta de la Bóveda is the first gateway into Alcazaba de Málaga. It was designed as a U-shaped gate to prevent attackers from crashing into it with momentum. Beyond this gate lies the second gate, Puerta de las Columnas.
Alcazaba is perhaps the most important ancient monument in Málaga. Perched on a hill by the Mediterranean waters, dominating the old city, the fortress was first built in the 8th century over ruins of Roman structures, shortly after the arrival of the Arabs into the Iberian Peninsula. Materials from these Roman ruins were used to build Alcazaba and are still visible to this day. Much of the existing walls, however, date from the 11th century when the fortress was reinforced. Alcazaba was in fact the residential quarters of the rulers, while higher up the hill, el Castillo de Gibralfaro served as the military and defensive complex. The interior of Alcazaba consists of fortified walls, gardens, terraces, and the Nasrid Palace quarters, each of which described separately on this page. Within the Nasrid Palace is an archeological museum displaying Roman, Phoenician, and other artefacts found in Málaga over the years.
Exiting the tunnel, we arrived at a lush garden that has grown up by the walls that once protected the city. It is a lovely garden setting with walkways and stairs just filled with the flora of the area. It is the most beautiful defenses that I have ever seen. Do not miss.
We are moving from the Muslim Plaza de la Merced to the Moorish Palace known as Alcazaba. Yes the Moors are Muslim in faith, I know, I know. The walking tour does not go in, we are headed up toward the walls which nowadays are guarded by worms and a tunnel monkey (painted in the tunnel). This is a very beautiful place with the climate that encourages flowers and plants. As we ascend the Plaza Jesús el Rico we are attacked by worms. Fortunate that these fearsome creatures are slow moving, we hurry past toward the tunnel that will take us to the sea side of the fortress. The tunnel is guarded by a monkey with crazy glasses which are too psychedelic so we are able to sneak past.