Alcazaba, Malaga

Castle in Málaga

Alcazaba De Malaga From The Catedral
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pedro J Pacheco

The Alcazaba is an early 11th century palatial fortification located in Málaga, Spain. This fortress palace, whose name in Arabic means citadel, is one of the city’s historical monuments and is much visited because of its history and beauty.

The History of the Alcazaba in Malaga

The Alcazaba was built as a military fortress by the Moors of in the 11th century, on top of a Phoenician-Roman building and above the Teatro Romano. It was built between 1057 and 1063 at the instructions of Badis, King of the Berber Taifa of Granada. Its original purpose was as a defense against pirates, thanks its commanding position with views over the city, down to the sea and across to Africa.

In 1092 the Almoravids  followed by the Almohads in 1146 occupied Málaga. In 1279 the city was then conquered by Muhammed II Ben al-Ahmar and it became part of the Nasrid kingdom. It was at this point that the fortified double walls that connect the Alcazaba to the neighboring Castillo de Gibralfaro, over the Coracha ridge, were built by the Nasrid ruler Yusuf I in the 14th century, when most of the inner palace was also refurbished and given a distinctive Nasrid appearance. It was built with both beauty and defense in mind and is organised around rectangular patios and spaces around gardens and pools.

Ferdinand and Isabella captured Málaga from the Moors after the Siege of Málaga in 1487. This was one of the longest sieges in the Reconquista.

Material used in its construction included columns, capitals and other materials taken from the nearby Roman Theatre.

What to see at the Alcazaba in Malaga

The fortress situated upon a hill offers some spectacular views of Malaga port and on the inside it has 3 palaces and a residential area. The Alcazaba also has dungeons that can be visited and an archaeological museum with Arab and Phoenician remains found in the area. The gardens in the Alcazaba are particularly beautiful from April to July.

The building’s military components make it one of the most important Muslim works in Spain today.

It was restored several times and most recently in the 20th century, and today the building and its important archaeological legacy can be visited. Remains of the Roman walls lined with red stucco appeared and small cisterns carved into the slate and used for making garum (the fish paste made by the Romans)  were found during the first archaeological dig.  According to architect restorer, Leopoldo Torres Balbás, the Alcazaba of Málaga is the prototype of military architecture in the Taifa period, with its double walls and massive entry fortifications. Its only parallel is the castle of Krak des Chevaliers in Syria.

The Alcazaba, Malaga appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Málaga!

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Visiting Alcazaba, Malaga


Summer: 9am to 8pm.

Winter: 9am to 6pm.


Overall: 3,50 € Visit Alcazaba-Gibralfaro: 5,50 € Free tour every Sunday at 2 pm.

Address: Alcazaba Calle Alcazabilla, 2 29012 Málaga Spain
Telephone: +34 952227230
Duration: 25 minutes
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