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History, urban art and nature: a tour of La Victoria neighbourhood



History, urban art and nature: a tour of La Victoria neighbourhood

At the foot of the Mount Gibralfaro is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, an area whose origins date back to the reconquest of the Catholic Monarchs and whose name is after the patron saint of the city, that is, Santa María de la Victoria

Located in the city centre district and at the foot of Mount Gibralfaro we can find La Victoria, a historic neighbourhood full of life. Its streets host from one of the oldest temples in the city to graffiti and urban art. It also has a forest park, Monte Victoria, with a viewpoint that gives unique views of the capital.

Do you want to know more? Read on!

The birth of La Victoria neighbourhood

La Victoria is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Málaga. Although it belongs to the city centre district, people don’t usually visit it when going to the old town. In order to visit it, you have to go to the foot of Mount Gibralfaro. It borders the neighbourhoods of Conde Ureña and Cristo de la Epidemia (North), Lagunillas and La Merced (East) and Gibralfaro and Barcenillas (West).

Jardines Alfonso XIIThe birth of this area of the capital is due to the conquest by the Catholic Monarchs at the end of the 15th century. Known as Huerta del Acíbar, the land in this area became the base camp from which King Ferdinand planned the siege of the city.

After the reconquest of the city, the Catholic Monarchs left the image of a virgin, a symbol of triumph, and became the patron saint of the city: the Virgen de la Victoria.

It is in this settlement where the Basilica of Santa María de la Victoria was built, which was firstly a church and a convent at that time, until it became a sanctuary in the 17th century.

Over the years, this area became home to a small group of bourgeois people in the mid-19th century. Today it is still one of the most traditional neighbourhoods in Málaga and is the centre of many festivals and stories we will tell you about right away! Just keep reading.

Curiosities about the 'chupitira' neighbourhood

As we have already mentioned, La Victoria became home of a small group of bourgeois people in the 19th century. This bourgeoisie was made up of tailors, workshop owners, petty traders and civil servants. These workers always wanted to pretend they had a certain status, especially in their clothing. History thus records that they did so in exchange for eating less food of poorer quality.

It is at this point that the neighbourhood began to be known as the 'chupitira' neighbourhood, the name by which it is still called. Why? Because the diet was mainly based on dishes whose star ingredient was clams, a food considered for poor people. Suck and throw away the shell: “chupitira”, that is, a word creation that comes from the verbs chupar (suck) and tirar (throw away) in Spanish. So, they used to do the chupitira but they were always looking well-dressed and pretending to be of a higher class.

Special buildings in the neighbourhood of La Victoria

Iglesia de la VictoriaThe neighbourhood of La Victoria has a plaza with the same name, but people from Málaga call it Jardín de los Monos (Monkey Garden). Yes, and there were monkeys. More specifically, a cage with apes that was in this plaza until the middle of the 20th century.

Nevertheless, a neighbourhood with such a history is nothing without its impressive buildings that make it such a remarkable neighbourhood. One of the buildings is the San Lázaro Church, founded by the Catholic Monarchs around 1491. It was designed as the chapel for the hospital that was located in the area, that is, the San Lázaro Hospital (for lepers). Today the chapel is the only building that still stands, as the floods of 1628 damaged the other building. The church was restored in 1948 in Mudejar style, with a single nave. The main altar is in neo-baroque style.

The Capilla del Agua, Capilla de la Esquina or the Faro de la Victoria is another site of interest that was built at the end of the 19th century. The religious brotherhood Cristo de la Expiración remained in this chapel until 1878.

Málaga's patron saint festivities

Procesión Virgen de la VictoriaThe Santuario de Santa María de la Victoria (a sanctuary) is home to the patron saint of Málaga, the Virgen de la Victoria, who celebrates her big day on 8 September, a local holiday.

On the morning of the last Sunday of August, the Virgen de la Victoria is taken from the sanctuary to the cathedral, where a mass is held on the morning of 8 September. Afterwards, outside the church, a floral offering takes place, accompanied by groups singing and dancing malagueñas, a typical local dance.

In the afternoon, the procession (a ritual march) takes place and heads back to La Victoria neighbourhood, with the Virgin on a religious float, going down the main streets of the old town.


Mount Victoria, one of the best views of the city

Mirador Monte Victoria


The neighbourhood of La Victoria is surrounded by nature. One of the closest natural sceneries is the Monte Victoria forest park, whose name is due to its proximity to the sanctuary. It is also known as Cerro de San Cristóbal or Cerro de las Tres Letras.

Surrounded by the city centre, there is a viewpoint from which you can get a breathtaking view of Málaga, the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding mountains.



Lagunillas, urban art in all its glory

Lagunillas - Arte urbano


Lagunillas, located in the neighbourhood of La Victoria, is the birthplace of such important people as Victoria Kent and Francisco Palma Burgos.

In this area of the city, full of narrow corners and alleys, urban art has flourished like an everlasting spring. As you walk around its streets, a new world full of colour and art welcomes you.

Wandering around Lagunillas you will find paintings that pay homage to famous and beloved people from Málaga, such as Chiquito de la Calzada, Pepito Vargas or Pablo Ráez. In this part of the neighbourhood there are also bookshops, cultural spaces and great culinary options.