Marbella's old quarter maintains the origins of this municipality on the Costa del Sol, it's where we'll find the walls of the citadel that one day held in its interior Marbella's most primitive city, the same city that wouldn't take too long in extending, forming the streets of the old quarter that we see today.
The Arabic style remains in the narrow and meandering streets, pleasant streets through which one can wonder around in summer as its very narrowness will protect us from the sun while we explore the old quarter.
We can discover the limits of the old quarter by foot, if we head towards the beach we'll come across the Alameda park; towards Fuengirola and Malaga, we'll find the Bonsai museum, considered the best museum in the world for Bonsai trees; if we decide to walk towards Estepona direction, the limit of the old quarter reaches the street Huerta Chica.
The layout of the streets is practically intact to the Arab kingdom, although it suffered modifications after the Christian armies' conquest in 1485:
The first thing they did was demolish all the houses and streets for the construction of the 'Plaza de los Naranjos' (the square of the orange trees) that was built in the old quarter...and this square hosts a street market where we’ll also be able to sit down and enjoy some delicious tapas or a drink. The Plaza de los Naranjos is also surrounded by some of the most notable buildings from the Renaissance in Marbella: the consistorial house (currently Marbella’s town hall), the house of the judge (built in 1552) and the Santiago chapel (built during the 15th century), which is the city’s oldest religious temple, even before the very square, reason why it doesn’t seem to match.
The ‘Barrio Alto’, also known as ‘Barrio de San Francisco’ (due to old Franciscan convent now disappeared), is situated in the area, as well the ‘Barrio Nuevo’, that lacks monumental buildings, but preserves the typical houses with vegetable farms and a small chicken pen. These streets of the northern part of the old quarter were demolished after the construction of the Plaza de los Naranjos, following a linear structure instead of the meandering streets that the Muslims liked so much.
The third great construction after the conquest was the House of the Judge in 1552, situated to the left of the town hall.
Opposite the town hall we'll find the first fountain built by a Christian mayor in 1504. If we leave the square towards the east, we'll reach the street by the side of the wall, and following it we'll come to the 'Encarnacion church', that began to be built in 1618. If we continue our route, we'll pass by in front of the 'Hospitalillo', ordered by the catholic kings to be built, who personally inaugurated it themselves when it was finished.
Many of the streets of Marbella's old quarter have names of military campaigns of the 19th century, demonstrating that Marbella, today a tourist city, was formerly a city with a noble and loyal to the crown population.