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Spanish in Málaga

Learn Spanish in Málaga

Bang in the heart of the Costa del Sol, Málaga records yearly average temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius. So if you enjoy the heat and are looking for a place to perch yourself and soak up the sun for a while, then why not go for a season and learn Spanish in Spain.

Málaga might be all the way down south in Spain's Andalucía region, an area largely reputed in the country and beyond for the quintessentially laid back attitude of its people, but as a city Málaga definitely is, with over half a million inhabitants and one of the largest commercial ports in the Mediterranean Sea, a city with tremendous industrial activity of various kinds, from tourism to trade and everything in between.

Ancient Roots

Cathedral

Málaga's roots can be traced all the way back to the VIII century BC, when it was established by the great maritime power of the time, the Phoenician civilization. A seafaring people originally from the Middle East (modern day Lebanon) the Phoenicians were the first tradesmen to successfully establish a chain of commercial ports along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, forever changing the relationship of the inhabitants of the basin.

Malaka, likely the name given by the Phoenicians to their settlement in the Iberian peninsula, would have meant 'the salters', alluding to the salting of the fish which took place by the coastline. Malaka would be attacked and conquered by the Carthaginians, who were very much intent on displacing the Phoenicians as the masters of the Mediterranean. They had achieved this, rather forcefully, by the end of the VI century BC. This all lasted until the Punic Wars, of course, when Rome took charge of all things Carthagininas.

It is thought that during Roman times the city, whose name was Latinised into Malacca, lived through a period of splendor, as it was part of the Via Augusta that linked Cádiz (then Gades) with Rome. A Málaga city guide will tell you that the Amphitheater discovered by archeologists some decades ago stems from this time. Apparently, Malacca was reputed in Rome for the quality of its garum, a special sauce made of fermented fish innards and widely used as a condiment by the higher classes during the time of the Empire. Go figure.

Be that as it may, Malacca stayed in Roman hands until the beginning of the V century AD, by which time the Germanic tribes arrived in the Iberian peninsula and challenged the hegemony enjoyed for centuries by the Romans. Iberian settlers, already under the dominance of the Romans, were then displaced by the Vandals, first, later the Visigoths. Throughout this time, however, Málaga remained an important settlement, with fortified locations that served to defend the city and exact tolls on travellers.

Not that the fortifications helped much when, encouraged by the chaos that prevailed within the Visigoth echelons of power, the Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus swept through the peninsula and took control of practically all of it within less than ten years. Malaq as it would be known for eight centuries, had entered its Arab cycle.

Throughout the many changes of hands suffered by Málaga, the city always maintained its stature as an important port, rich in maritime resources, of course, but also profiting from the fertile lands that open up to the north of the provincial capital. Consequently, Málaga boasts a good selection of buildings and structures that pay tribute to times past and that remain as a palpable testament to the relevance of the city as an active economic centre.

One such monument, perhaps the most impressive, is the Castle of Gibralfaro, a fortified palace located where originally the Phoenicians had placed a protected lighthouse, which means the original construction is almost 3000 years old. Indeed, the castle is such an iconic figure in Málaga's lore that it figures both in the city's and in the province's coast of arms.

Málaga

Next to the Castle of Gibralfaro is the equally iconic Alcazaba, a palace built on the foot of the mountains of Gibralfaro, right in the shadow of the Castle of Gibralfaro. The two constructions create an impressive architectonic group, which is connected by fortified walls. This is a sight you cannot miss if you spend some time learning Spanish in Málaga.

Naturally, given the importance of Málaga during Arab times, once the Catholic Kings took the land from the hands of the Moors, they had to emulate the dimensions of the Alcazaba complex with a symbol of their own. Enter Málaga Cathedral, a bizarre construction with Gothic origins which has remained unfinished and which has become a favourite of the local population.