Roman Theatre

Málaga, Spain

El Teatro Romano is the oldest survived monument in Málaga City; it is situated at the foot of the famous Alcazaba fortress. The theatre was built in the first century BC, under Emperor Augustus, and was used until the third century AD. Subsequently it was left to ruin for centuries, until the Moors settled in Andalucía. In 756-780AD the amphitheatre was used as a quarry by the Moorish settlers , to excavate the stone used to build the Alcazaba fortress - you can see some Roman columns and capitals in the fortress. Over time it became buried under dirt and rubble, and remained hidden there for almost five centuries.

The theatre was rediscovered in 1951, when the construction of Casa de Cultura uncovered the first archaeological clues. The construction of the gardens was abandoned, and instead excavations began. In 1995 a polemic decision was made to demolish the Casa de la Cultura, which stood over a third of the site. Once the site had been fully excavated, a large scale restoration project began, which proved more difficult than anticipated, as many of the missing pieces are now part of the foundations of the neighbouring Alcazaba.

On 15 September 2011, 27 years after reconstruction began, El Teatro Romano reopened to the public, and held its first stage performances for millenia, with performances from Andrés Mérida, Daniel Casares, and Carlos Álvarez, reading from Juvenal Soto and the poetry of Pablo Picasso and Manuel Alcántara. The amphitheatre is now open throughout the year for visitors, and in summer, it will be used for open-air performances. It seats 220 spectators.

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Founded: 100-0 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Spain

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michael Yamnitsky (6 months ago)
Lovely views and ancient history come alive here!
Yonathan Stein (8 months ago)
I like it but is not like ancient cities in Turkey for example. But is really nice, but small, in the city center and is for free to see it.
Ognian Dimitrov (9 months ago)
From the outside, the theater looks quite preserved and has a nice view of the Alcazaba. During our visit it was closed to visitors due to some festival in the city.
Valerie Lyn (11 months ago)
I was so impressed with how well preserved this amazing amphitheater is! With the trees and the ancient building behind it, I was truly impressed. A must see while in Malaga!
Kris Turner (15 months ago)
Lovely place to check out. It’s great that you can actually go in too and have a little sit. Very interesting bit of history. We first saw this on our walking tour which was very interesting and a lot of info was shared about this place which you would not know about if you go without one. Check it out!
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.