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Málaga

Málaga is the major coastal city of Andalusia and is a genuine and typical Andalusia city. The Moors occupied the city until the mid fifteenth century. This illustrious past has left its imprint on the historic centre, particularly around La Alcazaba, a fortress which dates back to 1065 and is now a fascinating archaeological museum.

Pablo Picasso is the city's famous son (not counting Antonio Banderas of course!) and there are several galleries showing his work, including the 16th century Museum of Fine Arts, adjacent to the Cathedral. His birthplace in Plaza de la Merced is today an archive of his life and works and open to the public; the entrance is absolutely free.

As well as being a cultural centre, Málaga is also a great place to eat out. The Malagueños love their food and the bars and restaurants here are where the real social life takes place. The choice is unlimited and, on the whole, reasonable whit some bars offering a menu of the day. 'Tapas', small portion of many dishes is an Andalusian tradition and a wonderfully inexpensive way to try a variety of local food. The best known local fare in Málaga is 'pescaito frito', an assortment of fried fish, including small sardines and red mullet, best washed down with a glass of ice cold 'fino' at one of the many old fashioned bodegas in town.

La Manquita, Malaga´s 16th-century cathedral is situated at the centre of the old town on the site of the former main Mosque. Construction of the cathedral began in 1528 and continued for several centuries. During the mid 18th century funds for building the second tower ran out ant the project was never completed, giving the cathedral the nickname of 'La Manquita' ('the one-armed one'). The cathedral has been declared a national monument and includes striking features such as the richly ornamented choir stall by Ortiz, Mena and Michael.

La Alcazaba, An ancient Moorish Palace built between during the 9th and 10th centuries, Alcazaba is a short distance from the city centre. Its major attraction is a display of Phoenician, Roman and Moorish artefacts in the Museo Arqueológico, but the trip to the palace is well worth making just for the views it gives of the city and bay below. The palace is connected, via a long rampart, to a 14th century Moorish Castle, the Castillo de Gibralfaro, which was originally built as a mosque but later became a Christian church and finally a military enclosure.