La Alcazaba is Malaga's most important landmark, and overlooks the city from a hilltop inland. It is one of two Moorish fortresses in the city, the other being the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The Alcazaba is the best-preserved Moorish fortress palace in Spain.

Constructed on the ruins of a Roman fortification during the reign of Abd-al-Rahman I, the first Emir of Cordoba, in around 756-780 AD, the Alcazaba's original purpose was as a defence against pirates, thanks its commanding position with views over the city, down to the sea and across to Africa.

The fortress was rebuilt by the Sultan of Granada, Badis Al-Ziri, from 1057-1063 AD, while the fortified double walls that connect the Alcazaba to the neighbouring 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. As a palace, it was home to a number of Moorish rulers.

Ferdinand and Isabella captured Málaga from the Moors after the Siege of Málaga (1487), one of the longest sieges in the Reconquista, and raised their standard at the Torre del Homenaje in the inner citadel.

The Alcazaba has a distinct feel from its more famous, younger neighbours, the Alcazar of Sevilla and the Alhambra of Granada. It was already three centuries old when the others were build. After the reconquest, it fell into decay until restoration work began in 1933, and continues slowly today. Two of its original three walls remain, as well as over 100 towers and three palaces.

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. There is also a dungeon where Christian slave girls were locked after working during the day.

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Founded: 756-780 AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

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User Reviews

Jonathan Sabie (2 years ago)
Cool old fortress/palace. I'm used to seeing the standard northern European castles, but this one was more of a Spanish type, I really liked the design. It had a few small gardens and water features too. Fyi, above this palace is another more traditional and basic castle you can walk up to. If you buy the combo ticket you can see both.
Haneen Abbas (2 years ago)
It was beautiful. A very spacious castle dating back to roughly the 11th century with a mixture of Arab and Roman history. The castle itself took about 2 hours to walk around and admire. Totally recommend
Brendan McCabe (2 years ago)
Yes. The very best of fresh food. This is cooked to perfection. We dined in the garden patio area. 28degrees at 8.00pm. If you are looking to dine on a Saturday night please book.
Lee Retter (2 years ago)
Great service on booking from reception. Spacious dormitory. Lovely views. Couple of bars n restaurants. V economical. Great place to stay. Recommend u book direct for best price
Mark Storey (2 years ago)
There are some nice views over the city and it is a relaxing place to wander round. Get the lift up if you don't fancy the walk though it isn't a difficult one or if it is really hot. If you do get the lift make sure you don't miss some of the gardens which are on the way up. Nowhere near as nice as in Granada but a good way to pass a couple of hours.
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Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

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Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

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