Marbella

Marbella is a city and municipality located in the province of Málaga, in the autonomous community of Andalusiad in southern Spain. Part of the Costa del Sol, situated on the Mediterranean Sea, between Málaga and the Strait of Gibraltar, Marbella is one of the most important tourist cities of the Costa del Sol. Because of its climate and tourist infrastructure, Marbella attracts visitors throughout the year.

The municipality of Marbella covers an area of 117 square kilometres (45 sq mi). With a population of just over 140,000 it is the province of Málaga's second largest population center, and the 8th in Andalusia.

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The city has a significant archaeological heritage, with several museums and performance spaces, and a cultural events ranging from reggae concerts to opera performances.

The old town of Marbella includes the ancient city walls and two historical districts, the Barrio Alto, which extends north, and the Barrio Nuevo, located to the east. The ancient walled city retains nearly the same layout as it did during the 16th century.

Sights to see when visiting Marbella are the Plaza de los Naranjos, an example of Castilian Renaissance design. Around the plaza square are arranged three amazing historical buildings. The town hall that was built in Renaissance style in 1568 by the Catholic Monarchs. The Mayor's house combines Gothic and Renaissance elements in its façade. The roof is in the Mudejar style, and there are fresco murals inside. The Chapel of Santiago is the oldest religious building in the city. It was built before the plaza square, which is why the building is not aligned as one would expect. It is thought the chaple dates from the 15th century.



Other places of interest in Marbella are...

Church of Santa María de la Encarnación

Built in the Baroque style construction started in 1618. Also in the Renaissance style are the Capilla de San Juan de Dios, or Chapel of St. John of God. The Hospital Real de la Misericordia, or Royal Hospital of Mercy is another historic structure not to be overlooked. The Hospital Bazán too is a must see because of its beauty, but also because it houses the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Engravings.

Ermita del Santo Cristo

The Ermita del Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz, or Hermitage of the Holy Christ of the True Cross, was built in the 15th century and isne of the highlights of the Barrio Alto. Enlarged in the eighteenth century, the structure now consists of a square tower with a roof covered by glazed ceramic tiles.

Constitution Park

Between the old town and the sea is the area known as the ensanche histórico or historic extension. In this area there is a small botanical garden located on Paseo de la Alameda. In another garden on the Avenida del Mar there are fountains and a collection of ten sculptures by Salvador Dalí. Avenida del Mar connects the old town with the beach. To the west of this road, past the Faro de Marbella, is Constitution Park, or Parque de la Constitución, which houses the auditorium of the same name.

Marbella's Golden Mile

Marbella's Golden Mile is actually 6.4 km (4 mile) and begins at the western edge of Marbella city and stretches to Puerto Banús. The area is exclusive and home to some of Marbella's most luxurious villas and estates and some landmark hotels such as the Melia Don Pepe, the Hotel Marbella Club, and the Puente Romano Hotel. Also located in the area are the ruins of a Roman villa by the Rio Verde, El Ángel, which is where land of the old forge works was converted to an agricultural colony, and the Botanical Gardens of El Ángel, with gardens of three different styles that date from the 8th century.

Nueva Andalucía

Just west of Marbella and inland from the marina of Puerto Banús is Nueva Andalucía, also known as Golf Valley. The bullring by Centro Plaza marks the entrance to Nueva Andalucia.

San Pedro de Alcántara

At the heart of San Pedro de Alcántara are two industrial buildings of the 19th century, the Trapiche de Guadaiza and the sugar mill that today houses the Ingenio Cultural Centre. The 19th century heritage of San Pedro is also represented by two buildings of colonial style, the parish Church and the Villa of San Luis, residence of the Marqués del Duero. Next to San Pedro and near the mouth of the Guadalmina river, are some of the most important archaeological sites in Marbella. These are the early Christian Basílica de Vega del Mar, the vaulted Roman baths of Las Bóvedas, or the Domes, and the eponymous watch tower of Torre de Las Bóvedas. The important archaeological site of Cerro Colorado is located near Benahavis.

Beaches

Marbella Beaches are the draw attracting most visitors. There is 27 kilometres (17 miles) of coastline within the limits of Marbella that is divided into 24 beaches, each with distinct features. Development expansion though has made them all semi-urban. The beaches have moderate surf, with golden or dark sand ranging from fine to coarse, with some gravel. The most notable beaches are Artola beach, which is situated in the protected area of the Dunas de Artola. The other is Cabopino beach, one of the few nudist beaches in Marbella. It is located near the port of Cabopino.

Whether the persuit of sand, sun and fun are your reason for visiting Spain, or historical sites and structures interest you, Marbella has everything you could ask for.