Torremolinos History

Visiting this municipality and wondering about its history and origin? Let's find out some interesting facts about Torremolinos and the different periods over history.

The history of Torremolinos is divided into various periods:

Prehistoric period

Torremolinos’ history dates back to prehistoric times, in which the hominids entered into Europe, colonising a colder continent due to reasons yet unknown by the anthropologists. The arrival at the coast of Malaga via the north of Africa is not completely clear and it is thought that they may have come down from the north.

The most important prehistoric remains preserved were found in the different caves around the province, such as the Pileta Cave (near Ronda), where they found tools from back then like flint arrowheads and simple paintings from this first colonisation.

In other archaeological excavations they found remains of approximately 600.000 year-old tribes (lower Palaeolithic),although the documented arrival at Torremolinos is of about 100.000 years ago, onwards.

Amongst the most important prehistoric spots in Torremolinos we can highlight the caves that were used day by day: Cave of the Charm, Cave of the Treasure, Cave of the Guadalupe Hostal, Cave of Bajondillo....amongst other that have now disappeared. Sadly, the town hall of Torremolinos has decided to close off the access instead of offering the opportunity to visit the caves.

Roman period

Despite the settlement in the surroundings of Torremolinos of other cultures like the Phoenicians and the Tartessians, it wasn’t until the Roman period that this place was even considered. It was during the battle between the empire of Rome and the empire of Carthage in the year 206 before our era when the Romans entirely entered into the Iberian peninsula.

Malaga in general, and Torremolinoa, due to their proximity to the sea, became part of a key point for the fish-salting and the creation of “Garum”, which was very demanded amongst the high class in Rome.

The different ruins are completely abandoned by the town hall and one can freely visit the remains of villas, roman factories and ancient ovens, and those that haven’t been abandoned have been hidden after the construction of buildings on top.

Arab period

There are plenty of Arab descriptions of the Torremolinos area during their reign, and there is even certainty of the burial of a sultan. It is known that during the Arab past of Torremolinos, the mill were an important part of its economy, they were situated near the ‘Torre Molinos’ (the Mills Tower).

The Muslim past of Al-Andalus has not left us a great patrimony in Torremolinos, except for the ‘Torre Molinos’, a symbol of the city and used as a watchtower by the Arabs, although now abandoned by the town hall.

Medieval period

After the conquest of the Christian armies, the ‘Torre Molinos’, built by the Arabs, continued to be used as front line of defence against the pirate and Moorish incursions along the coasts. It was in 1501 when they established that 3 soldiers, who earned 25 maravedies each, had to light fires when spotting enemies on the coasts. Subsequently, these were the first neighbours of Torremolinos.

Due to the constant incursions of Moors and pirates, the Arab mills that were being used by the new Christian settlers, were abandoned due to the constant danger...and decided to transfer them further inland.

From this period, there are a few mills that can be visited today, while others have now disappeared.

  • Mill of Inca: Currently a botanical area preserving the old structure.
  • Mill of Batán: Restored and situated opposite the Mill of Inca and is used for meetings and other social celebrations.
  • Mill of Zea: Today it’s completely abandoned and located next to the Mill of Batan. -Mill of the Moor: It has disappeared.
  • Molinillo (small mill): A mill that disappeared due to the construction of the ‘Avenida de los manantiales’. -Mill of Manojas: Situated at the end of the Costa del Sol square. Today used by companies that use the old edification.
  • Mill of the Castle: Situated in San Miguel street. Today it is no longer there. -Mill of the Malleo: A disappeared mill situated opposite the San Miguel church.
  • Mill of the Rosary: It disappeared and in its place there are now apartments. -Mill of the Tower: Transformed into a restaurant. There is nothing left of the original structure.
  • Mill of the Vault: Also currently a restaurant. The only thing left is the rock to grind. -Mill of the Roundabout: It has disappeared.
  • Mill ‘El Nuevo’ (The New): Converted into apartments.
  • Mill of Hope: Used to grined minerals. There is currently nothing left of it.
  • Mill of the Duck: It has disappeared. -Mill of the Snail: Disappeared. -Mill of the Cross: Used to grind rocks. There is currently nothing left of it.
  • Mill of the Danger: The only thing left is the name which was used to name the street where it was located. The name of ‘Peligros’ (Dangers) was due to its proximity to the sea.

Equally, due to the danger of incursions too, they decided to build the Santa Clara castle, planned in 1755, situated upon the cliff that joins La Crihuela and El Bajondillo. A castle that was finally abandoned and was sold to George Langworthy in the early 20th century.

Torremolinos park

Tourism in Torremolinos

After the disappearance of the mills, Torremolinos became a small fishing village until as from the 20th century, in 1950 and specially during the sixties, there was a massive tourism boom on the Costa del Sol, and since then onwards this municipality began to grow exponentially.

A huge amount of hotels and apartments were built between 1950 and 1975, Torremolinos passed on to be a cosmopolitan place, where many famous people gathered and even where movies were filmed. The increase of pubs and discos was unstoppable, and the municipality became an island of tolerance inside the dictatorship of Franco’s regime.

Today, Torremolinos is the chosen destination by a great amount of tourists each year to spend their summer holidays or even as a second home.

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