The most singular Málaga: anecdotes, symbols and curiosities
Málaga has it all: sun, beach, culture, nature and a wealth of history that contains anecdotes, symbols and curiosities unknown to visitors and even to many locals. We'll tell you all about them!
Types of coffee
Anyone visiting Málaga for the first time will be surprised by the way the different types of coffee are ordered. There are up to nine denominations depending on the amount of milk and coffee in the glass or cup. From "nube" to the "mitad," passing through the "sombra" or the "largo," among others. It was in Café Central where this peculiar way of ordering coffee was born.
In the post-war period, obtaining certain products, such as coffee, was difficult and expensive. José Prado, the owner of this emblematic coffee shop, now closed, found that to adapt to customers' tastes, he had to throw away some of the coffee or make it again. In 1954, he came up with a practical way of putting customers' requests in order through a sign on which he included nine denominations, from the solo to the cloud. As the design did not fit in two rows, he decided to include one more coffee. It was an employee who gave him the clue when he said "Don José, less than a cloud?... well, don't put it on for that," and so a mosaic was completed that became an icon of the city.
There are many lighthouses in Spain, but with a female name, there is only one on the Peninsula, La Farola of Málaga, recently declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) this year.
Erected in 1817, La Farola has undergone several alterations during its history. The first was due to the damage caused by the earthquake of 1884. During the Civil War, although the order was given to turn off the lighthouse and paint it to make it difficult to see and prevent it from being used as a reference for the bombardment of Málaga, it was affected by the events and had to be repaired.
Calle Cinco Bolas has its own peculiar history, as it has five coloured balls arranged in the shape of a cross on one of the façades at the entrance to the street. Not many locals know what they mean, but there are several hypotheses. One of them involves the Catholic Monarchs and is related to the capture of the city to incorporate it into the Kingdom of Castile. In that battle, 155 mm cannon shells were used, which were decisive in the victory. In memory of them, five projectiles were stamped on the façade of the street.
The third theory is related to the memory of the Easter Candle, whose colours coincide with the balls on the façade. The blue represents the sky, the green, hope; the red is fire, love and sacrifice; the purple, penitence; and the yellow, the Easter and Resurrection of Christ.
Barrio de Huelin
Created around 1870, it was the first working-class neighbourhood in the city and its name is related to Eduardo Huelin Reissig, an English industrialist dedicated to the sugar cane business. Huelin promoted a model of a working-class neighbourhood that had not been known in Malaga until then. Before its construction, the factory workers lived in the stockyards in the area of El Perchel and La Trinidad in very poor conditions, practically overcrowded. Eduardo Huelin's idea of building independent houses for his employees in an area close to the factory was a revolution at the time.
El Puente de los Alemanes
The Santo Domingo Bridge, also known as the "Bridge of the Germans," is another of the symbols of Málaga. It was built by the German government in gratitude to the city. In 1900, the frigate SMS Gneisenau was shipwrecked in Málaga waters due to a storm. Many residents did not hesitate to come to the aid of the sailors in their boats, saving the lives of many of them. With this gesture, the city earned the title of "Very Hospitable," which is displayed on its coat of arms. Years later, when the Guadalmedina River overflowed and destroyed the bridges, the German government financed the construction of one of them as a form of gratitude.
The Cenachero is one of the symbols of the city and refers to the old fish sellers who used to sell their merchandise, consisting mainly of anchovies from Vitoria, horse mackerel, sardines or "chanquete," in the streets with esparto grass baskets hanging from their shoulders. In honour of the Cenachero, the Málaga artist Jaime Fernández Pimentel made a bronze sculpture in 1968 representing this popular character, which is currently located in the Plaza de la Marina.
It is the flower of Málaga. But it is not a flower per se, it is a handmade confection made with jasmines that are inserted in a kind of thistle, specifically in a thistle stalk, providing a pleasant and characteristic smell.
The biznaga seller is known as a "biznaguero" and usually carries these peculiar flowers stuck on a stalk. Such is their popularity in the history of Málaga, that in the Pedro Luis Alonso Gardens there is a statue in homage to these peddlers.