Malaga is one of the oldest cities in Southern Europe. First inhabitants were of course Iberian tribesmen. Then at 770 BC Phoenecians founded a new settlement of Malaka here on the shores of Mediterranean. Because of it’s excellent location it then turned to be a Carthagian stronghold at 6th century.
After second Punic war city was taken by Roman Republic when Carthage lost all it’s dominions in Spain. Then city got a latin name Malaca. So city started to grow under Rome and was Romanized little by little. Then Malaca was united and joined to Hispania Ulterior. Still Phoenician writing and local customs continues to survive. City was then part of Roman trade route – Via Herculea – which enriched culture but especially economy.
Because Malaga is a natural harbor it has always had a functional port – also Romans at time of Flavians developed it. Vespasian extended city’s population rights for Roman citizenship as favor againts the loyality of Baetian elite and middle class. Emperor Titus even gave Malaca its privileges as a municipality. In Roman times city had fertile agriculture in inlands and sea waters offered galore of fishes. Also artisanal works, wine, olive oil and the garum malacitano was produced in town.
The Roman theatre from Augustan period (1st century BC) is well preserved and was found in accident in year 1951. The theatre is well preserved but has not been completely excavated. Upper parts of theatre was later on used by Arabs when they started to build alcazaba in Malaga. After fall of the Rome Malaca became short period of Byzantine emperi. Then at 615 AD city was conquered ans sacked by visigoth and ti became a part of Visigoth Spain.
But soon in 711 BC muslim invaders took the city and after couple years whole Spain. So started the period of Arabic rule over 700 hudred years. All the time Malaga was an important harbor city for muslims because it served a short route to North Africa – the homeland of muslim invaders.
When Arabs conquered Hispania (711–718) the city was named as Mālaqa. They also builded new walls to protect city against invaders. After Umayyads caliphate fell apart started the period of independetn taifas – small muslim kindoms. Also Malaga was from 1026 the Taifa of Málaga ruled by the Hammudid dynasty. In the end bigger taifas (like Seville and Granada) conquered the small ones and also Malaga was joined to Granada. After other muslim states were conquered by christian rulers, Granada lasted yet some hundred years. And Malaga was an important port to nort Africa for Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. In May 1487 Ferdinand and Isabella lifted an siege against Malaga, which lasted nearly one year. After conquering Malaga and it’s Alcazaba winners excecuted many defenders. After five years also Granada surrendered.
Even higher on the hill lies another fortress – Castillo de Gibralfaro. Also built during muslim rulers at 929AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Cordoba. Small path between walls lingers there from Alcazaba.
The magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro lies very high on the hill overlooking Malaga city and port. It’s origin goes back to the 10th century. The image of Gibralfaro can be seen both in Malaga city and province’s seal and flag.
The castle was built in place of former Phoenician enclosure and lighthouse. Therefore it’s name comes from “gebel-faro” – rock of the lighthouse. The sultan of Granada – Yusef I – builded it wider and added double walls leading down to Alcazaba at the beginning of the 14th century.
Walls – high and long – covering huge surface area of Gibralfaro. This citadel must be invincible…or nearly. In the end christian monarcs – Ferdinand and Isabella – conquered it in three-month siege and took the city. And muslims were exiled. By the way this was the first battle where both sides were using gun powder.