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Sightseeing in Marbella

SAN PEDRO DE ALCÁNTARA BEACH
Marbella Beach

This pristine Mediterranean beach is right in the centre of Marbella. A number of water sports are frequently practised here. This is one of Europe's cleanest beach and has received the Blue Flag certification every year since 1992. The municipal sanitation department maintains and cleans the beach on a daily basis. A sea promenade runs along the entire length of the beach. You'll enjoy six chiringuitos (beachside bars and refreshment stalls) with hammocks. A beach club with a swimming pool is also available, for those who like beaches but don't like swimming in the open sea. A paddel court and recreational area for small children are also provided for public use, free of charge.

MARINA OF MARBELLA
Marbella Marina

The Puerto Deportivo Marítimo de Marbella is a sleepy little port that becomes more active in the Summer. It has a small dry dock and 377 moorings. The changing room, offices and restaurant are all insider the club building. The complex includes a great number of chiringuitos (beachside bars) and nightclubs that radically transform this Marina. By day it is a quaint port with little activity, but by night it becomes a bustling party zone.

EL INGENIO DE SAN PEDRO DE ALCÁNTARA
El Ingenio de San Pedro de Alcántara

Though it may seem odd to find such a quintessentially Latin American monument here in Spain, this old sugar refinery is an indelible part of Marbella's history. It was built in the mid-19th century under the orders of the Marqués del Duero to reduce the high costs of transporting sugarcane to Malaga. The refinery was finished in 1870 and was popularly known by the Caribbean Spanish word given to such refineries, El Ingenio.

The industrial complex also produced high quality muscat and inluded a factory for producing spirits, known as La Alcoholera, which today houses the Museo de Arte Mecánico (Mechnical Art Museum)

LA IGLESIA
San Pedro de Alcántara Church

This colonial-style church was ordered built by the Marqués del Duero in 1866. It is a beautiful construction and impeccably conserved and well maintained. The plaza in which it stands, Plaza de la Iglesia, is obviously named after the church. Back then, amateur bullfights were held in the middle of this plaza during the celebrations held in honour of Marbella's patron saint, Saint Bernabé. When the bullfights ended, a public dance complete with an orchestra was held. La Iglesia was one of the first projects commissioned by the Marqués del Duero in his downtown project.

LA VILLA DE SAN LUÍS
Villa de San Luis

In the early 19th century, the colony of Marbella lacked an urban centre. This changed with the Marqués del Duero, who ordered the construction of a downtown to concentrate the businesses and services demanded by Marbella's growing population. La Villa de San Luís is part of this urban project, and stands in the Plaza de la Iglesia, across from the church. It was constructed for him and his family, who moved in after it was finished. In 1945 it was purchased by the town government from the Sociedad General Azucarera, a sugar company, and a government office was located there. Today, it houses a local administrative office of the municipal government.

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN
Marbella Downtown

Marbella's casco antiguo, or "historic downtown", has several fascinating features sure to enthrall history buffs. Firstly, the muralla de la alcazaba, the remnants of an Arab-built alcazaba (meaning "urban, intramural fortification" in Spanish and classical Arabic). The downtown road layout is also preserved from the era of al-Andalus. Narrow, winding, labyrinthine streets characterise this typically Arabic downtown. This design is much appreciated by modern Marbellis as it provides a constant shade over the ground throughout the urban centre, protecting pedestrians from the harsh sun throughout the day. The historic downtown borders with Avenida de Ricardo Soriano, also known as Avenida de Ramón y Cajal, toward the beach, with Avenida Nabedul going toward Malaga and with Calle Huerta Chica toward Cadiz.

While the Arabic street layout has been maintained intact until the modern day, it was heavily modified following the conquest of Marbella by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand in 1485. One of these modifications was the demolition of a bunch of houses to create the Plaza de los Naranjos (which has ever since then been the administrative and civil centre of Marbella). New streets were also constructed by the Castilian administration, like the Calle del Peral and the Calle Nueva, which follow a distinctly different urban planning philosophy than that preferred in Arab cities. These streets are located in the northern part of the downtown.

Marbella City Hall was ordered built by Corregidor Juan de Pisa in 1568, according to the inscription on the building's façade. Other plaques refer to the dates in which running water was installed, the building was expanded or the iron balcony was added so that the authorities could witness celebrations and commemorations in the plaza from on high. Within the building you can contemplate a set of Mudéjar armour in the Sala de Comisiones (Hall of Commissions) and the tempera paintings in the Sala de Justicia (Hall of Justice).

PARQUE DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN
Constitution Park

This is, without a doubt, one of the most serene parts of Marbella. Parque de la Constitución (Constitution Park) is a place to relax and revel in the tranquil, almost dream-like surroundings. The enormous garden is impeccably well kempt. The park includes a recreational area for small children and a small astronomical observatory. Here, you'll also find el Auditorium, which seats 600 people. Shows are held all year long in this stunningly beautiful structure. Anything from opera to theatre is on offer, along with choruses and concerts representing every conceivable music genre. The Veranos Culturales (Cultural Summers), which constitute the Auditorium's summer programming, have in the past few years become famous for their variety and dynamicness, on a par with the offering in many European capitals! If you'll be in Marbella over the Summer, you should definitely give it a look.

PUERTO BANÚS
Puerto Banús

This is Marbella's main marina complex and is world famous among the well to do and influential. Designed by Noldi Schreck, one of the designers of Beverly Hills, this is one of the world's most luxurious and exclusive marinas. In the surrounding streets one can shop at the most expensive fashion retail outlets, including Dior, Gucci and Dolce & Gabana while such famed cars as Rolls Royce and Ferrari can be seen travelling the impeccably maintained roads. The most modern and expensive yachts on Earth can be found docked at the Puerto Banús marina. A selection of international food from nearly every nation is available to visitors, including all major fast food enterprises. Many of the hotels in this area are considered as of today some of the very best in the world. The King of Saudi Arabia moors here along with the most powerful magnates and moguls in the world. Tourists are mostly from Northern Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, or Gulf Arabs, especially Saudis and Kuwaitis. Wealthy Spaniards also vacation here. Of note in Puerto Banús is the renowned Rinoceronte vestido con puntillas (rhinocerous dressed in lace), a surrealist statue created by Salvador Dalí in 1956 in homage to his film La aventura prodigiosa de la encajera y el rinoceronte, released a couple of years before. The Puerto Banús branch of El Corte Inglés (Spain's largest department store franchise) is one of those with the highest returns. Apartments around here can reach prices as high as 30 million euros.

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