On the top of a hill in the beautiful Andalusia region, lies Castillo De Gibralfaro (Gibralfaro castle), overlooking the hustle and bustle of the Spanish port city, Malaga. This castle in Spain is one of the oldest remaining Moorish castles that are left standing, and shows off the African-Arabic architecture of the Moorish times.
You have two choices when it comes to exploring this amazing site. Either you can start at the bottom, at the Alcazaba and climb your way up to the Gibralfaro castle.
Or, if you prefer, you can book a trip on one of the hop-on-hop-off city buses that will take you all the way up to the castle. This way you skip all the climbing to the top and you can comfortably make your way down to the Alcazaba and the city again afterwards!
The Alcazaba And The Malaga Castle
The Alcazaba was built on the site of a Roman fortification. The goal of the fortress was to protect the city from having enemies enter from the seaside.
The Sultan of Granada, Yusuf I, was a Moorish ruler who had a great influence on the architecture of the Alcazaba. Unfortunately, after the Christians recaptured territory from the Moors, the Alcazaba fell into a state of neglect. Today, only two of the original three walls are left standing.
Your visit to the Alcazaba starts when you enter the gate called Puerta de la Bóveda. You follow the impressive walls through a number of Moorish gates – showcasing the structure and architecture of the Moorish times.
A spectacular sight awaits as you’re making your way up to the palace. A series of beautiful patio gardens with fountains and channels run through the palace complex. Setting the scene for relaxation and tranquility.
Malaga, Gibralfaro: Fortress Castle
The palace sits above the Alcazaba and was home to a number of Moorish kings. You’ll come across Granada Quarters, a truly magical site from where you can enter the castle through the second wall. You’ll be surrounded by decorated ceilings, multifoil arches (characteristic of Moorish architecture) and beautiful wall tiles
By this time, you will probably have an empty water bottle and be a little out of breath, as the journey up to the castle can be long and hot. However, the magnificent view over Malaga and the Andalusian coast makes it worth the climb.
The castle was built in 929 AD by Abd-al-Rahman III. In the 14th century Yusuf I, enlarged the castle to protect the Alcazaba. And guess what, it worked! The castle was able to withstand a three-month siege by Christian troops that ended when the Moorish inhabitants didn’t have any food left.
These days you can walk along the walls to admire the views of Malaga (which, we should just mention, has some incredible tapas bars) below and relax in the shady open-air cafe before making the journey back down to the city.
The Alcazaba And Gibralfaro: Interesting Architectural Facts
- The city of Malaga has had an ongoing reconstruction project running at the Alcazaba since 1933.
- Puerta de la Columnas or the Gate of Columns, at the Alcazaba, made use of repurposed Roman marble columns to strengthen the archway.
- Fountains and channels were built into the pathways to ensure a flow of water through the castle complex at Gibralfaro castle. This technique ensured that they always had access to water – which was essential to their survival.
Walk along the walls starting at the Alcazaba or the Gibralfaro and be sure to enjoy the magnificent architecture, lush gardens, and the beautiful city view.
There is an open-air cafe situated at the top near the castle, so be sure to sit down, enjoy the spectacular sight of Malaga in the background and quench your thirst before making your way back down to the city.