Ciudad Jardín (Spanish for Garden City), situated to the north of Málaga’s city centre, is a large district named after the project from which it originates, which was implemented in the twentieth century, much like in other Spanish cities, to provide accessible and attractive housing for the working class. Based on the Affordable Housing Act of 1921, the construction of 500 inexpensive homes was planned, many of which, however, were still under construction when the project went bust in 1934. Its promising beginnings, which saw King Alfonso XIII hand over the first keys, would be overshadowed in subsequent decades by the rampant urban development of the seventies. It is for this reason that the 20 neighbourhoods of Ciudad Jardín form a district of contrasts: clashing with the one-story homes built in historicist style in Ciudad Jardín, where the original project began, are enormous areas crammed full with tower blocks with over 10 storeys, such as Jardín de Málaga and Parque del Sur.
Beyond the charm that can be seen in this more prosaic side of Málaga—in clear contrast to the official image of the historic centre—Ciudad Jardín holds some top-level tourist attractions. On the long Avenida Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a palm-tree lined boulevard that intersects Ciudad Jardín from north to south, are some of the original semi-detached homes built in historicist style during the twenties. In the same neighbourhood we recommend stopping to view the restored San Telmo Aqueduct, an Asset of Cultural Interest that, when it was completed in 1784, was considered the largest hydraulic work of engineering to be built in Spain in the eighteenth century. The infrastructure carried water along its almost 11 kilometres of length from the nearby Guadalmedina river to the city centre.
The district’s other great attraction, situated at Málaga’s northern exit, is Jardín Botánico Histórico La Concepción [La Concepción Historical Botanical Gardens]. In 1855, on a large estate on the banks of the Guadalmedina river, the Marquises of Casa Loring—Málaga natives with Anglo-Saxon ancestry—created beautiful English-style tropical gardens that, over time, have become the botanical gardens of Málaga. With over 2,000 tropical, sub-tropical and native species, they are a must-visit thanks to their romantic hideouts and viewpoints, the ancient Palace-House and Loringiano Museum, where the marquises brought together a fascinating collection of archaeological remains.
One of the most interesting neighbourhoods to visit is Mangas Verdes, a prime example of disorderly development, with houses hand-built, without any type of urban planning, by the families who had migrated to the area in the sixties. The neighbourhood, through which the aqueduct also passes, is famous for celebrating Los Verdiales, an ancient folkloric peasant festival that originates in rural Málaga, and for having been the place of residence of the famous bandit and fugitive El Lute.
The Palacio de la Aduana houses the Museum of Málaga, a cultural flagship exhibiting a collection comprising both art and archaeology.
Taking a boat trip from Málaga is definitely one of the most pleasurable ways to discover the city and enjoy the best panoramic views.
With a long and fascinating history, the square that bore witness to Picasso’s early years offers a varied range of cultural and culinary attractions.