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The Colourful History Behind Modern Marbella

The Colourful History Behind Modern Marbella

While most visitors looking to buy a property in Marbella and inhabitants of Marbella are mainly busy indulging in its modern day charms – and with good reason – Marbella holds a very interesting history to discover and appreciate its beauty.

A lot of archaeological evidence in the form of artifacts and human remains has been found around the Sierra Blanca mountain range, indicating that Marbella was home for many people as early as thousands of years BC. Later, other civilizations sprang up in the Marbella area, with groups known as the Visigoths, the Phoenicians, the Vandals and the Byzantines settling in the Rio Real region. Each of them built structures in Marbella, the remains of which can still be seen today. The Romans also made their permanent impression upon the land, and especially the city’s Old Town, in the form of Guadalmina Thermal Baths, Rio Verde Roman Villa and many other structures.

Thermal baths

The Catholics took the keys from the Moors

The Moors influenced the area the most, building a wall and moat around the city of Marbiliya, as it was then known. They also created the Al Kasbah – the Moorish castle – with its three entrance gates. One entrance was intended for entry from Ronda, another one was for coming from Malaga and the final one faced the ocean. The castle remains to this day but the moat and the doors have not made it through the centuries. In 1485 Catholic Kings, in particular King Fernando, made Marbella part of Spain by claiming it for themselves. In the Cathedral of Toledo, images portraying this event can be found.  The Moors gave up the city keys and with that the name of town was changed to “Noble and Loyal City”.

Cathedral of Toledo

The biggest changes in Marbella occurred with the start of the conquest, which affected the entire structure of the city. If you are looking for a property to buy in Marbella you will certainly know what is now the Plaza de los Naranjos (or the Orange Square) and the street Calle Nueva was once the Muslim Medina. Marbella was predominantly an agricultural town. Economic activity was centered on livestock and agriculture. This includes a number of vineyards that produced Marbella’s sweet tasting wines. 


However, industrialization in Marbella began in earnest during the 19th Century. This heralded the start of the installation of Industrial Estates in Marbella – particularly in La Concepcion and in El Angel. Mining was the major industry then, and the Sierra Blanca Mines was the focal point. Marbella worked hand in hand with Malaga, thus Marbella rose to become the second most important industrial province in the region. 

Modern Marbella has a whole new set of charms

Marbella as we currently know it did not start to emerge until the 1940s, when hotels and other residential buildings were constructed. Marbella soon became a very affluent area, attracting wealthy residents from all around and properties in Marbella were in high demand. Tourism inevitably followed, with the charms of the area and the newfound affluence combining to make it a very attractive destination. Over the last thirty years, Property for sale in Spain has become more and more popular and tourism to the area has substantially increased. It really does have something for everyone, whatever your age, background or lifestyle tastes. Golf courses, parks and shopping centres are just a few of its attractions and it is busy with locals, visitors and expats all year around. Marbella has even received national and international awards, both for tourism and for the cleanliness and safety of the town.  

The vibrant atmosphere and innumerable options for entertainment, relaxation and physical pursuits are a winning combination that keeps expats coming year after year looking for property for sale in Marbella. Europrestige is proud to be one of the leading Real Estate companies in Marbella and we are always happy to help expats find their dream home and get settled into this wonderful city. Talk to us anytime for a friendly chat about starting a new life in Marbella.

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