Carretera de Cádiz
With around 115,000 inhabitants, the district of Carretera de Cádiz, situated to the southwest of the Centro district, is the most densely-populated area of Málaga, in spite of being one of the smallest. Unfurling along the coast on the thoroughfare from which it takes its name, the so-called Distrito 7 is a former fisherman’s quarter and industrial zone, which in the seventies underwent ferocious and haphazard urban development with the construction of entire neighbourhoods filled with modest tower blocks, such as San Andrés, El Torcal and La Luz, to house factory workers and those who had emigrated from other parts of the province. In total, Carretera de Cádiz has 44 neighbourhoods with a wide range of contrasts, particularly since the recent transformation of the coastal area where a new seaside promenade was built, greatly improving the district’s image and attracting an increasing amount of tourists.
On the seafront, in addition to enjoying the numerous beach bars, which are less busy than those in the centre, or taking a dip on the long La Misericordia beach, there is much on offer in terms of culture. The lovely Regionalist-style building Tabacalera, which was the headquarters of the Royal Tobacco Factory of Málaga between 1932 and 2002, now houses the Automobile Museum of Málaga, a delight for car enthusiasts with over 90 historic vehicles produced by large manufacturers in the twentieth century. Since 2015, Tabacalera has also housed the Museo Ruso of St Petersburg/Málaga, the Málaga branch of the Russian State Museum, which hosts a diverse range of art exhibitions. Just off of the seaside promenade is La Térmica, a contemporary cultural centre and headquarters of the Provincial Government set within the former building of Casa de Misericordia, Málaga’s charity hospital founded in 1862.
In addition to Tabacalera, other vestiges of the district’s industrial past still remain such as the chimney Chimenea de los Guindos, which was part of a foundry dating from 1923, and the thermal power station chimney Chimenea de la Misericordia. From an architectural point of view, the residential buildings in the neighbourhoods of Jardín de la Abadía, Torres de la Serna and Girón, which were built in the now all but disappeared autarchy style, characteristic of early Francoism, are also interesting.
Over the last three decades, Carretera de Cádiz has also seen a great deal of improvements in terms of infrastructure, becoming one of the most green and sport-centric areas of Málaga. The district boasts the Aquatic Centre, which hosted the 2008 European Water Polo Championship, the José María Martín Carpena Palace of Sports, the arena of the Liga ACB basketball team Unicaja Málaga, and the Ciudad de Málaga Athletics Stadium. In addition to these are various green spaces that have opened up such as Parque de Huelin, built on a former industrial site, Parque del Oeste, which is very popular for its huge, pleasant artificial lake, and Parque de Chiquito de la Calzada, which opened in 2004 in tribute to the legendary Málaga-born comedian.
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