They say plenty of things about Málaga: like there are more museums than anywhere else, its beaches are this, and its climate is that… But what is very seldom said is that it is one of the oldest cities in Spain and that in the caves of Nerja, very close from here, there are human traces thousands and thousands of years old.
But without going so far back, it turns out that Málaga can boast of an ancient and spectacular Roman theatre, since we are facing a city that was of some importance to the Roman Imperium, and it even seems that the fish caught in Málaga was used as an ingredient to make garum, a sauce that was all the rage in those times.
But before the Romans, there was the Phoenicians who landed here to found one of their colonies. They called it Malaka, and from the eighth century BC until now, five of the six letters of the name have been kept.
After the Phoenicians and the Romans came the barbarians, with their barbarian customs, to mess up the place a bit; and later came the Byzantines, who set their foot here, anxious as they were to conquer all lands. As you can see, the rich and tempting Málaga had plenty of invasions.
And who was next? Well, it was the Visigoths, but this would not last more than a century since the Arab armies came right behind them. The Muslim Málaga managed to prosper and flourish in an al-Ándalus era that, little by little, was riddled by internal wars between Umayyads, Nasrids, Almohads and other thugs. But it looks like, between stabs and swords, they still had time to build things like the citadel and the Gibralfaro Castle, places that have reached our days as a reminder of times of splendour and fights, in equal parts.
The rest of the things that you can see here today are from the Christian Era, which started in 1487 after the Catholic Monarchs took over the city. If you have a walk around you will see the Cathedral, the convents and the churches that Isabel and Fernando had built because of their commitment to the religious unity.
You will also see the house of the Gálvez, the obelisk dedicated to General Torrijos and the cemetery of the English; all traces of a history that went on and on until October 25, 1881. That day in Málaga something significant happened for the history of art: in this city, a baby boy saw the light for the first time, his name Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso.
And you will understand that, with such a name, Pablo Picasso had no other alternative but to turn it all upside down armed with a brush and a palette.