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Marbella Travel Guide


History of Marbella

Various thousands of years before christ, there were already human settlements on the Sierra Blanca Mountain in Marbella, something proven by the objects and human remains found from the Paleolithic and Neolithic ages on the mountainsides.

Recent discoveries point to the fact that in the 7th Century BC there were Phoenician and Punic settlements in the Rio Real area.

Rome also passed by our municipality as can be seen in the Rio Verde Roman Villa, the Guadalmina Thermal Baths and different discoveries in the Old Town of the City.

From Visigoth times, we have the Vega del Mar Paleo-Christian Basilica; a singular construction with double apse, with only one similar in the whole of Spain.

The first references to Marbella can be found in the geographic texts used by Muslim travelers in the Middle Ages.

During the Islam period Marbella became a walled in city. The Muslims built a castle and surrounded the city with a moat with just three entrances: "From the Sea" (del Mar), "From Ronda" and "From Malaga". The Castle remains today but the moat and the doors have disappeared.

The King Fernando the Catholic conquered Marbella on the 11th of June in 1485 and this is represented in engravings in the Choir area of the Cathedral of Toledo.

After the Conquer and throughout the 16th Century, the urban structure of the town of Marbella suffered important changes. The center of the Muslim "Medina" (today the Old Town), was demolished to open the square (Main Square, Royal Square or Today "The Orange Square") and a new street (calle Nueva) in order to communicate the square with the Puerta del Mar. (sea entrance).

In those times the economic activities in our municipality was based on agriculture and livestock, although it continued to be famous from the Arab period for the sweet wines of which the British Traveler Francis Carter spoke in the 18th Century: "The Marbella wine is very good, drier and tastier that the Malaga wine and with a certain Madeira taste to it. I am sure that if it were well prepared it would be very well appreciated in England, bringing the price up and stimulating the inhabitants to take more care of their vineyards".

During the 19th Century and with the installation of the first Industrial Estates in Spain, in El Angel and in La Concepcion, in order to take advantage of all the possibilities in the Sierra Blanca Mines, Marbella began to form part of the industrialization of Malaga, becoming the second most important Industrial Province on the Peninsula.

45 years ago Marbella was an agricultural town with a mining industry and some 10.000 inhabitants. Today there are more than 100.000 inhabitants enrolled in the municipal census aside from the visitors.

It was as of the 90's when Marbella began to be recognized as a "Universal City". Infrastructures, Cultural Centers, sporting installations, Municipal Offices, Golf Courses, New Avenues, Parks, etc and the encouraging of investors to the city have made Marbella a city desired by all and has brought us to be awarded with national and international prizes for the security, cleanliness and cordiality of the people.