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Best Sights of Torremolinos

Malaga, Spain
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Best Sights of Torremolinos

Best Sights of Torremolinos

Torremolinos has a very long history. This city is located 12 km west of Malaga. The first foreigners to arrive were the Phoenicians, followed by the Romans and the Moors. They found a good climate here, with water, fishing and hunting. After the Christian conquest, the area joined the city of Malaga. It was called Torremolinos because there was a tower with a mill. Torre means tower and molino means mill. Before the 1950s the town was very small and only had fishermen’s shacks around Calle San Miguel and the beaches of La Carihuela and El Bajondillo.

In 1959 the Hotel Pez Espada was built, which was the first high class hotel in the town. This attracted many movie stars, celebrities, and writers from abroad. They found the beaches wonderful places to relax in. Publicity followed people like Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, the empress Soraya from Iran, Orson Welles, and James Michener. This attracted more people. Old buildings were torn down to make way for more hotels, restaurants and bars. The builders overbuilt in some places. The beaches are still beautiful though and the new constructions are more aesthetic in appearance. In 1988 the town became independent of Malaga, after many years of wanting to go its own way. Today the city has a population of 63,000.

The Sierra de Mijas Mountains shelter Torremolinos and gives it a microclimate that is hard to beat. There are 320 days of sunshine a year and the average temperature is 19C. Torremolinos gets many foreign tourists, but the majority of tourists are Spanish because it is the favorite resort of the Spanish, according to national polls. Today Torremolinos has 40% of the hotel beds in the Costa del Sol.

a. Beaches

Torremolinos is known for its beaches, La Carihuela and El Bajondillo, which continues now all the way to Playamar and Los Alamos Beach. These beaches are very long and very wide, with many fish restaurants along its length. The paseo maritimo is well taken cared of by the city and there is new ceramic tile along this walkway. The whole area is very clean and has daily maintenance, to keep the area attractive to tourists. One area has a grove of palm trees on the beach to give shade and there is a play area for children. Along some parts of the beach walk, there are large blue potted plants to make the walkway attractive. All along its length there are many wrought iron benches where visitors can sit and contemplate the sea. There are also many inexpensive stores across the beach, and these are open everyday all year long.

b. Calle San Miguel

Calle San Miguel is a little street in downtown Torremolinos and is only for pedestrians and is one of the best shopping streets in Spain. There are all sorts of shops, such as leather, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and they have prices from the most inexpensive to the most expensive. There are about seven jewelry stores owned by Indians from India, with quality jewelry at reasonable prices. One can bargain at these stores. There are also souvenir stores, pastry shops, restaurants and bars. Calle San Miguel has the small town feel because all of the buildings beside the street are low rise, all of them only two stories tall. One end of the street is the Costa del Sol Plaza on the main coastal road. This street is one of the streets in Spain with the most pedestrian traffic.

c. Casa de los Navajas

The Casa de las Navajas is located in Calle del Bajondillo, on a hillside near the Bajondillo Beach. It is a beautiful Neo-Mudejar building that was built in 1925 by Antonio Navajas Ruiz. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Torremolinos and declared in 1991 as a site of historic interest. The architect was Francisco Fernandez Fermina. The city owns the building now and there are plans to turn it into a cultural center.

d. Church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen

The Church of Our Lady del Carmen is located in Calle Carmen in the Barrio de la Carihuela and its facade has two big anchors and a beautiful ceramic tile panel that shows the Virgin. The ceramics were made in the Ceramica Santa Ana in Seville in the 1960s.

e. Aqualand

Aqualand was the first water park built in Spain. It is located in the northern part of the city, at Calle Cuba, 10. It covers an area of 70,000 square meters and has very modern facilities. Among the attractions are the Kamikaze, a water slide that is 24 meters high. There are also the Fast River and Twister, pools with waves, cascades, rapids, and tropical lagoon and gardens. There is a special zone for small children and many bars, restaurants, cafeterias and stores. The architect of the complex was Francisco Peñalosa.

f. Crocodile Park

Crocodile Park is located by Aqualand at Calle Cuba,14, and was finished in 2003. It is the only park of its kind in Europe. The park has an area of 16,000 square meters and has a lake of 6000 square meters with five large islands. There are about 300 crocodiles from all parts of the world.

g. Torre de Pimentel

The Tower of Pimentel is located at the end of Calle San Miguel and is the symbol of Torremolinos. It was built in 1300 by the Nazari Dynasty to protect the coast and in the 15th century it was used as a mill. The tower has two floors and a height of 12 meters. In 1497 when it was used as a mill, it got the name of Torre de los Molinos. Later it was also named after Don Rodrigo de Pimentel, Conde de Benavente (Zamora). He helped the Catholic Kings in their conquest of Malaga and Granada by giving them 2000 horses and 4999 soldiers. The tower was constructed with adobe and earth and is not in a very good state today.

h. Palacio de Congresos

The Palacio de Congresos is the exhibition hall of Torremolinos. It is a very modern building whose architects were Rafael de la Hoz Arderius and Gerardo Olivares James. It has a huge hall that has a capacity for 2500 persons. The grounds of this exhibition hall are beautifully landscaped. Many cultural events and congresses are held here.

i. Jardín Botánico Molino de Inca

The Molina de Inca Botanic Garden is located near Aqualand and the Palacio de Congresos, in the northern area of Torremolinos. There is a mill called Molino de Inca inside the gardens, dating from the 15th century, giving its name to the gardens. There are more than 500 varieties of trees, a large variety of plants, cascades, lookout points, fountains and a labyrinth in the garden. There are all sorts of exotic birds also. The gardens were inaugurated in 2003. Malaga gave a license to Joseph de Inca Sotomayor in 1700 to operate two mills on land that had a natural spring. Today the mills are not only still there, but they are still operating using the water from the same spring. Today the mills are the centerpiece of the botanical garden. There are classical statues of the Four Seasons that symbolize the passage of time during the year. The gardens have very well maintained paths that bring one from one vista to another.

j. Los Manantiales

Los Manatiales are the spring waters of Torremolinos located at Los Pinares de los Manatiales, near the Recinto Ferial, in the northern part of Torremolinos. The spring waters have been known for a long time in Andalusia as a place where the water tastes the best. There are four springs, San jose, La Pellejera, Inca, and Manatial del Rey. This green zone has many trees and barbecues, tables, and chairs, where one can have picnics. There are places also where one can exercise and keep fit.

k. Church of San Miguel Arcángel

The Church of San Miguel Arcangel is located at the Plaza de San Miguel, at the end of the Calle San Miguel. It is a small church with a Neoclassic style. On Sept. 29 there is a procession in honor of this saint.

l. Sculpture of Picasso's Two Dancing Ladies

Picasso painted "Two Dancing Ladies", one of his more famous paintings in the 1920s. Someone sculpted the figures of the two women in the Plaza de Lido, beside the Tourist Information Center. The big sculpture shows two women dancing, but it also looks like they are running to the beach. This is a very beautiful sculpture.

m. Monument to Europe

At Plaza de la Union Europea, there is the Monument to Europe, which is a white marble sculpture of Zeus as a white bull with Europa on his back. According to Greek Mythology, Europa was the beautiful daughter of the King of Tyre, a Phoenician king. Zeus saw her gathering flowers by the sea and fell in love with her. Zeus turned himself into a white bull and knelt before her very gently. Europa climbed on his back and the bull rushed toward the sea and kidnapped her. He revealed his true identity and brought her to Crete where he made love to her. The legend is that she later married the King of Crete. The plaza has many benches made of light blue tiles with the flags of different countries of the European Union and there is a roundabout with the flags of all the member countries.

n. Picasso Statue

There is a square called Plaza Pablo Ruiz Picasso that has a beautiful sculpture of Picasso. Picasso was born in nearby Malaga and this sculpture and square are dedicated to him.

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1. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

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Removed on: 04 August 2009, 12:37
Ostrava, Czech...
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2. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

Benny, while reading your post about Torremolinos I immediately started to like this place. I am already decided to go for next summer holiday to Costa del Sol and surely Torremolinos is now one of the places I´ll consider to stay in. Thanks for all your nice posts about Costa del Sol. I enjoy reading them a lot, I feel sometimes almost like being there already.

wales
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3. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

Benny, i've been going to this area for many years and it just goes to show how much i've missed.

Fantastic post and thanks for taking the time.

Blackpool, United...
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4. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

Thankyou Benny,

It is lovely to wander both actually and in my mind's eye to all the areas in and around Torremolinos. We used to enjoy eating outside at 'La Boveda' which is the original ~Torre I think.

Something however which always intrigues me and I would love to learn more about, is for example, the derelict villa, more or less opposite McDonalds which someone once alluded to as being owned by a woman who 'sold' Torremolinos for a pittance.

There have been a number of those properties which are very much more to do with the human face away from the big builders. If anyone can shed a little light on their history, before they become yet more apartament blocks, I'd love to know.

In the words of the advert, 'Once it's gone,it's gone'.

Anne

Blackpool, United...
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5. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

Thanks for that Malagogo

I've had a quick look at those sites and bookmarked them. I'll really enjoy browsing through them and will no doubt see much more now as I meander along the various highways and byways -- only 10 day to go 'til we return, can't wait.

Anne

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6. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

<which someone once alluded to as being owned by a woman who 'sold' Torremolinos for a pittance.>

Hi Anne

I’ve done quite a bit of research about Doña Carlota Alessandri Ayamar.

She was an Italian who married Carlos Rubio Arügelles, an eminent doctor and deacon of the Faculty of Medicine in Cádiz.

They had 3 children, two daughters and a son.

I can’t find any records of her date of birth, but she died on the 3rd May 1972 and I believe she was 87 years old when she died because she was interviewed in 1965 at the grand age of 80 years old, which would indicate that she was born in 1885.

Her first daughter Angeles Rubio Argüelles was born in 1906 and died in March 1984. Days after her death Malaga council granted Angeles a posthumous medal to the city……..more about her later.

Carlota Alessandri bought vast amounts of land for a pittance and for 100,000 pesetas, became the owner of all of Montemar, which in 1932 wasn’t called Montemar, it was classed as “worthless land”.

She rented out the land where today stands many hotels, but she sold some land to the architects Mato and Alberola, who built the hotel Pez Espada.

At that time, for one million pesetas you could buy the whole coast from Torremolinos to Marbella.

She became a business woman who mixed with the “jet set” who consisted of the aristocrats, film stars, poets and writers known as Generación del 27, but she was also a spiritual woman and along with the hotels with liberty, luxury and fun, there also came “high living and sin”, so she decided she was in need of prayer and atonement.

In 1961 Carlota Alessandri, who had benefited as much as those new neighbourhoods, wanted to do something healthy, spiritual, Christian.

The Jesuit Father Borja Medina directed her to the wonderful mother and her daughters (Nuns) and after travel, letters and visits, consultations, procedures and work. On May 7th 1964 was born the white convent in Montemar, a cheerful place full of light and flowers, which brought together fourteen nuns.

The Mother Superior got her to buy land at a low price to build a residence for women, school children, a residence for domestic servants and along with many hotels in the area, a place to build a parish.

Everything is entrusted to the Carmelite Missionaries and Carlota felt the good achieved was enormous.

Doña Carlota Alessandri’s daughter Angeles Rubio Arguelles is also “famous”, she married Edgar Neville Romrée, the count of Berlanga de Duero, who was a writer and a diplomat and part of the Generación del 27, he got involved in the cinema dubbing soundtracks and he also turned out to be a womaniser.

They moved to Hollywood and he is reported to have met Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks etc

They married in 1925 and had 2 boys,(Rafael and Jaime), but they separated later when he had a long affair with the actress Conchita Montes.

Angeles was a writer involved with the theatre, fine arts and the radio, and after the Spanish Civil War, she used her personal wealth to resurrect and promote drama, she is credited for drama schools and theatres in the Malaga province, and she founded the school of drama in Malaga ARA, (acronyms Angeles Rubio Argüelles) …… She also has a street named after her.

I’ve tried to condense it down, but there is much more about all this “worthless land” that the rich aristocrats bought for a pittance, and when tourism took off, the land was built upon, rented out or sold at a huge profit.

All up and down the coast the land was bought in “lots” including the creation of first golf resort in Marbella by Carlota Alessandri’s acquaintance Ricardo Soriano, who was the Marques de Ivanre, who persuaded his cousin the Prince Hohenlohe for a ridiculously low price to buy an area full of pine trees, where now stands the Marbella Club Hotel (Bulevar del Príncipe Alfonso von Hohenlohe)

At that time, all exclusively for the rich and famous “jet set” because golf was a rich man’s sport.

In conclusion, Carlota Alessandri had travelled around before she arrived in Torremolinos and when she was asked what was she going to do with the land she had bought, she replied that it was going to be made for the tourists like the French Riviera.

Her name along with Enrique Bolín will go down in history as the pioneers of tourism, but I believe that instead of giving Torremolinos away for a pittance, she bought Torremolinos for a pittance and became a wealthy woman.

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7. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

SanjiUK:

Thank you for that fascinating story! I enjoyed it very much!

Blackpool, United...
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8. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

Wow thankyou so much SanjiUk

The trouble taken is very appreciated indeed. I just love those interesting histories. I've read it out to my husband and he would like to ask if anyone knows why the derelict villa is still as it is? Is there a family embargo? a legal tangle or what? I've noticed over the years, that the same type of thing has happened before to lovely houses which have eventually been redeveloped.

I so love social history. Thanks again

Anne

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9. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

Haven't visited Torre site for a wee while - having changed to Tenerife after being robbed in Benalmadena but so glad I gave it a try again tonight as this is such a brilliant story!!!!! Have really enjoyed it so thanks to both Benny and Sanji for all the info - suddenly I can't wait to come back again --- it really was only a matter of time 'cos we love this coast. I remember on our first visit years ago an old man took us in to see his house and garden which was one of the few originals left - it was down the steps at the bottom of C/San Miguel.

Thanks for the memories!!

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10. Re: Best Sights of Torremolinos

Thank you, I was worried that I'd rambled on too long in my post. LOL

A few years ago I started researching about how tourism all began and Carlota Alessandi's name popped up, and as the Spanish have a habit of naming a street after someone who has done something to benefit the area, I was intrigued to know why Dona Carlota Alessandri had a dual carriageway named after her.

For me, the research took the shine off the folklore stories, and I personally believe that she didn’t come to Torremolinos to be another Mother Teresa.

She came to make lots of money, but later when her Catholic conscience got the better of her, she sought to do some charitable things to try and amend the past.

This stretch of coast was known as the windy coast (La Costa de Viento) but Carlota Alessandri always said she was going to make it “La Costa Azul” (the blue coast) and I’ve read snippets where she mixed the Spanish, French and Italian language.

Sometimes she referred to it as Cote d'Azul or Cote d’Azur , the latter is the name for what the “English” call the French Riviera.

I did read that she herself had ancestors of “noble stock”, but I’ve never bothered to try and find any evidence that it was true, and it was just one line amongst all the articles I’ve read, although there are strong indications that Carlota Alessandri had been on the French Riviera, and that she didn’t arrive in Torremolinos as an uneducated and penniless peasant.

The others involved in the introduction of tourism to this part of Spain, they all agreed that the tourists wouldn’t be eager to come to a coast that was called the windy coast, and so, the name was changed.

I found all this very interesting to research, but the divide in the social class was enormous, and those who already had titles and wealth were able to buy land for a pittance and become even wealthier.

Whilst there are a few pictures of her daughter Angeles Rubio Arguelles available on the internet, I wanted to put a face behind the name of Carlota Alessandri, and I was never able to find a photo of her.

I trawled through countless Spanish archives without any results, and I was just about to give up when I found this one.

http://hemeroteca.abc.es/detalle.stm

If the link doesn’t work, just type in Dona Carlota Alessandri in the white box and click on Buscar

The first link in the results dated 05/05/1962 will show her picture, I suspect it’s a photo taken many years earlier when she was younger.

To expand, click on the picture or ver.

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