Plaza de la Merced
Monument, Square and Statue in Málaga
Plaza de la Merced is a public square in the central Málaga, Spain. It is located in the barrio La Merced in the top end of Calle Granada which is the minor continuation of major Calle Llarios at Plaza de la Constitution. The square is a popular meeting place in the evening and open air events take place here from time to time.
History of the Plaza de la Merced
The area has been a public square since Roman times. During Arabic rule the area fell outside of the city’s exterior wall, and was located near the entrance la Puerta de Granada through which Ferdinand and Isabel entered in 1487 upon conquering the city. In the 15th century the square operated as a public market and at that time it was called Plaza del mercado or Market square.
In 1507 Mercedarian friars arrived in the plaza, acquiring a plot of land on which they built a church, the plaza then takes its name from the friars order. The temple stood there until 1931.
In the 1820s it was named Plaza Riego after the General Riego who had resided in building located in the Plaza.
The Plaza de La Merced had to wait until the 19th century to take on its current appearance.
What to see in the Plaza de la Merced
Monumento a Torrijos
The Monumento a Torrijos or Monument to Torrijos is the plaza’s focal point. This neoclassical obelisk is a 19th-century monument was erected in memory of General Torrijos and his comrades for their patriotic sacrifice of 1831.
General Torrijos had fought against the French during the War of Independence (1808–1814) and after the restoration of Ferdinand VII, the General was appointed military governor of Murcia, Cartagena and Alicante. He was part of the uprising to end the absolute power of the king and reinstate the Constitution of Cadiz. He defended the liberal government which ruled from 1820 to 1823, from Royalist uprisings. He went into exile in France and England after the 1823 French led invasion of the Hundred Thousand Sons of Saint Louis sent by the Holy Alliance (the monarchist great powers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia), whose aim was to restore the absolute power of the King Ferdinand VII.
He returned from exile in order to issue a proclamation, hoping to incite rebellion. He landed on the coast of Málaga from Gibraltar on December 2, 1831, with sixty men accompanying him, but they fell into the trap that had been laid before him by the absolutist authorities and were arrested, then executed.
General José María Torrijos and 48 of his companions were shot to death on order of Ferdinand VII. There were 49 killed men but one of them was an Anglican Irish, he couldn’t be buried into a mass grave, actually he is in the English Cemetery. The base of the monument houses the remains of the men.
The statue was built by Francisco López Hernández and installed in 2008. The bronze statue measures 1.4 meters in height, and depicts Picasso sitting on a marble bench taking notes with a pencil. The statue occupies part of a bench, allowing visitors to sit next to it.
Casa natal de Picasso
The house in which Pablo Picasso was born is located at number 15 of the plaza. The house now operates as a museum, and the building is the headquarters of the Pablo Ruiz Picasso Foundation. In late October there are festivities held here to celebrate Pablo Picasso’s birthday.
Convent of Our Lady of Mercy
The northwest of the square is the former site of the 16th-century Church and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy, which was irreparably damaged in the Burning of the Convents in 1931.
Visiting Plaza de la Merced