Plaza de la Merced

 

In the center of Malaga is the Plaza de la Merced, a beautiful square plaza where most of the buildings around it are of the same height and many are from the 19th century. The square is ringed with trees. At one corner of the square (at No. 15) is the house where Pablo Picasso was born. It is now occupied by the Picasso Casa Natal Museum, which houses a few of his lithographs and has many important documents relating to him and artists of his time. Picasso loved to paint doves, which love to fly around the square. Picasso saw them as a boy and later painted them.

In the middle of the square there is an obelisk which honors the liberal General Torrijos. Jose Maria de Torrijos y Uriarte was a general who participated in the failed mutiny in 1817 against the monarchy. After that he went into exile to England with his family, but always wanted to come back to Spain. In 1831 he went to Gibraltar and then with 52 companions he tried to land near Malaga, but was captured by the king’s forces. The king, Fernando VII, ordered them all shot and this happened in Dec. 9 on the beach of San Andres in Malaga. Torrijos and his companions are all buried under the obelisk. The monument represents the cradle of liberties in Spain. The painter Antonio Gisbert painted the shooting of the general and this monumental historical painting is now found in the Prado Museum in Madrid.

In front of the Birth House Museum in the Plaza de la Merced is a new bronze statue of Pablo Picasso that was done by Francisco Lopez Hernandez. It shows a life size Picasso sitting on a bench with his notebook and pencil. This statue was unveiled on Dec. 5, 2008.

Today there are many restaurants and bars that ring the square and it is a place where the youth of Malaga and tourists congregate, especially at night. It is one of the nightspots of the city.