Living in Marbella
The Marbella municipality occupies a strip of land that extends along forty-four kilometres of coastline of the Penibético region, sheltered by the slopes of the coastal mountain range, which includes the Bermeja, Palmitera, Royal, White and Alpujata sub-ranges. Due to the proximity of the mountains to the coast, the city has a large gap between its north and south sides, thus providing views of the sea and mountain vistas from almost every part of the city. The coastline is heavily urbanised; most of the land not built up with golf courses has been developed with small residential areas. Map of Marbella. Marbella is bordered on the north by the municipalities of Istán and Ojén, on the northwest by Benahavís, on the west by Estepona and on the northeast by Mijas. The Mediterranean Sea lies to the south.
Marbella is protected on its northern side by the coastal mountains of the Cordillera Penibética and so enjoys a microclimate with an average annual temperature of 18 °C (64 °F). The highest peaks of the mountains are occasionally covered with snow, which usually melts in a day or two. Average rainfall is 628 l/m while hours of sunshine average 2,900 annually.
According to the census of the INE for 2011, Marbella had a population of 135,124 inhabitants,which ranked it as the second most populous city in the province of Málaga and eighth in Andalusia after supplanting Cádiz in 2008. Unlike other towns in the Costa del Sol, Marbella had a significant population before the population explosion caused by the tourist boom of the 1960s. The census counted about 10,000 people in 1950; population growth since has been as spectacular as that of neighboring towns. Between 1950 and 2001 the population grew by 897%, with the decade of the 1960s having the highest relative increase, at 141%. In 2001, only 26.2% of Marbella's population had been born there, 15.9% were foreign-born, and those born in other towns in Spain made up the difference. During the summer months the population of Marbella increases by 30% with the arrival of tourists and foreigners who have their second homes in the area.
The population is concentrated in two main centres: Marbella and San Pedro Alcántara; the rest is scattered in many developments in the districts of Nueva Andalucia and Las Chapas, located along the coast and on the mountain slopes. According to a study by the Association of Municipalities of the Costa del Sol, based on the production of solid waste in 2003, Marbella had a population of about 246,000 inhabitants, almost twice that of the population census of 2008. From the estimated volume of municipal waste in 2010, the City calculates the population during the summer months at around 400,000 people, while official police sources estimated it at about 500,000, with a peak of up to 700,000 people
Prehistory and antiquity
Archaeological excavations have been made in the mountains around Marbella which point to human habitation in Paleolithic and Neolithic times. Some historians believe that the first settlement on the present site of Marbella was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC, as they are known to have established several colonies on the coast of Málaga province. However, no remains have been found of any significant settlement, although some artefacts of Phoenician and later Carthaginian settlements have been unearthed in different parts of the municipality, as in the fields of Rio Real and Cerro Torrón.
The existence of a Roman population centre in what is now the El Casco Antiguo (Old Town) is suggested by three Ionic capitals embedded in one section of the Murallas del Castillo (Moorish castle walls), the reused materials of a building from earlier times. Recent discoveries in La Calle Escuelas (School Street) and other remains scattered throughout the old town testify to a Roman occupation as well. West of the city on the grounds of the Hotel Puente Romano is a small 1st-century Roman Bridge over a stream. This bridge was part of the ancient Via Augusta that linked Rome to Cadiz. There are ruins of other Roman settlements along the Verde and Guadalmina rivers: Villa Romana on the Rio Verde (Green River), the Roman baths at Guadalmina, and the ruins of a Roman villa and an early Byzantine basilica at Vega del Mar, built in the 3rd century and surrounded by a paleo-Christian necropolis, later used as a burial ground by the Visigoths. All of these further demonstrate a continued human presence in the area. In Roman times, the city was called Salduba (Salt City).
During the period of Islamic rule, after the Normans lay waste to the coast of Málaga in the 10th century, the Caliphate of Córdoba fortified the coastline and built a string of several lighthouse towers along it. In the Umayyad fashion they constructed a citadel, the Alcazaba, and a wall to protect the town, which was made up of narrow streets and small buildings with large patios, the most notable buildings being the citadel and the mosque. The village was surrounded by orchards; its most famous crops were figs and mulberry trees for silkworm cultivation. The current name may have developed from the name the Arabs gave it: Marbil-la (ماربيا), which may in turn derive, according to some linguistic investigations, from a previous Iberian place name. The traveller Ibn Battuta characterised it as "a pretty little town in a fertile district." During the time of the first kingdoms of Taifa, Marbil-la was disputed by the Taifas of Algeciras and of Málaga, eventually falling into the orbit of Málaga, which in turn later became part of the Nazarid Kingdom. In 1283 the sultan Marinid Abu Yusuf launched a campaign against the Kingdom of Granada. Peace between the Marinid dynasty and the Nasrid dynasty was achieved with the signing of the Treaty of Marbella on 6 May 1286, by which all the Marinid possessions in Al-Andalus were restored to the Nazarid sultan.
The 27 km of coastline within the limits of Marbella is divided into twenty-four beaches with different features; however, due to expansion of the municipality, they are all now semi-urban. They generally have moderate surf, golden or dark sand ranging through fine, medium or coarse in texture, and some gravel. The occupancy rate is usually high to midrange, especially during the summer months, when tourist arrivals are highest. Amongst the various notable beaches are Artola beach, situated in the protected area of the Dunas de Artola, and Cabopino, one of the few nudist beaches in Marbella, near the port of Cabopino. The beaches of Venus and La Fontanilla are centrally located and very popular, and those of Puerto Banús and San Pedro Alcántara have been awarded the blue flag of the Foundation for Environmental Education for compliance with its standards of water quality, safety, general services and environmental management.
Besides the typical Andalusian cultural events, a variety of annual festivals are held in Marbella, mainly between June and October; other events are held sporadically. Festivals dedicated to music include the Marbella International Opera Festival held in August since 2001, the Marbella Reggae Festival in July, and the Marbella International Film Festival in June at different locations around the city—amongst them the beach, aboard a boat or in Old Town. It also hosts the Marbella International Film Festival, the Spanish Film Festival and the Festival of Independent Theatre.
To provide venues for these and other events, the city has cultural facilities both publicly and privately managed, such as the Auditorium of Constitution Park, the Ingenio Cultural Center, the Teatro Ciudad de Marbella or Black Box Theatre, among others. In addition, there is a music conservatory, a cinema club, and several movie theatres showing foreign films dubbed into Castilian.
The International Contemporary Art Fair I, also known as MARB ART, was held in Marbella in 2005, exhibiting works of photography, painting, sculpture and graphic design by over 500 artists; it has been held annually since at the Palace of Congresses. The following year the 2006 extension of the Ateneo de Málaga Marbella (Atheneum of Málaga Marbella) opened, dedicated to the development of artistic and cultural activities.
Amongst local cultural associations is the Cilniana Association, an organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the heritage of Marbella and neighboring towns, which publishes its own magazine. Since 2009 the city has been home to Marbella University, the first private university in the province of Málaga and the only one in Andalusia where classes are taught in English.
- Contemporary Spanish Engraving Museum: created in 1992, contains a collection of prints by twentieth-century artists such as Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Tapies, Chillida and the El Paso Group (Rafael Canogar, Manolo Millares, Antonio Saura, Pablo Serrano, et al.) amongst others, as well as an exhibition hall dedicated to teaching engraving techniques.
- Museum Cortijo de Miraflores: in addition to the museum, the farm houses an exhibition hall and other cultural classrooms, amongst them the olive oil mill.
- Bonsai Museum: opened in 1992, it has a collection of specimens on permanent display and others for sale, with an emphasis on its extensive collection of olive trees and examples of species such as Ginkgo, Oxicedro, Pentafila Pino, and zelcoba, also pines, oaks, and other species.
- Ralli Museum, dedicated primarily to art in Latin America, it has sculptures by Dalí and Aristide Maillol and paintings by Dalí, Miró, Chagall, Henry Moore, amongst others.
- Municipal Archaeological Collection: its collection consists of archaeological artefacts found in the municipality.
- MechanicalArt Museum: a cultural center located in the 19th-century Barriada del Ingenio, it contains sculptures made from second-hand car parts by Antonio Alonso.
- George Clooney-actor
- Ousted Cuban president Fulgencio Batista died in Guadalmina, near Marbella, in 1973.
- Rick Parfitt OBE, legendary British rock musician from Status Quo, lives in the mountains just outside of Marbella.
- Antonio Banderas, born in the nearby city of Málaga, has been a regular visitor to Marbella where he has a house in Los Monteros. Stella, his daughter with wife, US actress Melanie Griffith, was born in Marbella in 1999.
- In 1981 English actress Joan Collins accepted her career-making role in the hit prime time melodrama Dynasty while living in her Marbella vacation home.
- Sean Connery had a residence in Marbella from 1970 to 1998, where he was regularly seen playing golf when not filming.
- English writer Vincent Cronin had a home in Marbella for decades and passed away there in 2011.
- Arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar was a longtime resident until his imprisonment, and has been nicknamed "The Prince of Marbella".
- Mark Langford, the former, multi-millionaire boss of The Accident Group who notoriously sacked most of his 2,700 staff by text message, died after being involved in a car accident in Marbella on April 11, 2007
- Actor Dolph Lundgren resides in Marbella and London with his wife and two children.
- English songwriter Richard Daniel Roman
- Porn star Linsey Dawn McKenzie
- Mike Reid, English actor and comedian, was living in Marbella at the time of his death on 29 July 2007. He was born in Hackney, London, and retired to Marbella a few years before he died.
- Andy Gray, Scottish footballer
- Frank Harper, actor
- Jörg Wontorra, German sport journalist
- Santi Cazorla, footballer
- Ebi, Persian singer
- Joe Atlan, musician
- Svetlana Eismont,interior designer