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Atarazanas market.

Diputación de Málaga

Atarazanas market.

PERIOD 19th century


The name by which the Central Market is known today is due to the fact that it stands on what was once the site of the Atarazanas (which means workshop or place of manufacture).

The architect, Joaquîn de Rucoba, built the present building in the 19th century, leaving only the marble door of the structure that had originally stood there.


Malaga's maritime and commercial activity generated some curious monuments in the city, one of these being 'Las Atarazanas', which was a naval workshop covering both maritime and landside functions. The maritime function allowed boats to dock for repairs, whilst on the landside there were administrative facilities. On the faèade that overlooked the sea, there were seven arches and the largest of them all, located to the far left, has been integrated into the new market building. The coats of arms that were situated on the spandrels of this arch date it back to the Nasari period, specifically to the reign of Mohamed V (1354-1391).

In the 19th century, after being used for different purposes, such as barracks and a military hospital, the building was practically in ruins. In 1822 petitions began to be heard to demolish part of the building (the towers) because they hampered traffic in the area. On 31 October 1840 the Provincial Council dictated a resolution authorising the Town Hall to demolish the towers. In 1868 the Revolutionary Council ordered the rest of the walls to be pulled down, in order to provide the lower classes with work, and the construction of a market, as the city had several sales outlets, but none were outdoors and this was considered not very hygienic.

The remains of the original building were demolished a short time after, conserving only the white marble portico, thanks to Messrs. Rucaba and Riva, and San Fernando Academy, owner of the same, who ceded it to San Telmo Academy, and this institution to the Town Hall on the condition that it be integrated in the new market. The Town Hall later became the owner and decided to build the city's Central Market, to be called Alfonso XII market, though it is generally known as Atarazanas Market, after the Muslim building that originally occupied the site.

As can be seen the market has a slightly trapezoidal floor plan and is structured around three aisles. It is basically a metal skeleton that has been closed in with stone and masonry. In its main faèade the access gate is centred in a large Nazari style arch, which was moved 25 metres east from its original position when it was restored.

The arch is a slightly pointed horseshoe arch, comprising well-formed blocks of white jaspon marble that required no kind of mortar (each stone was taken down numbered and reassembled). It is has a frame around the exterior and in the two spandrels a coat of arms of typical Castilian style with a diagonal band and the inscription 'Only God is the victor, glory be to Him'. To facilitate its integration with the rest of the building a sandstone upper piece and two sandstone sidepieces of a lesser height were added, these latter containing horseshoe arch windows.

At the back of the building, the main portal is replicated with another metal one with a triangular pediment and a glazed round arch. The spandrels are decorated with tondo paintings, some of which show fish and cornucopia, others human faces. The rest of the surface is covered with stylised plant motifs, finely wrought in iron. From an artistic perspective, this market makes a number of contributions. First of all the appropriateness of its design that has skilfully incorporated the historical remains, as well as its functionality and the way it so ideally ensures the natural light and ventilation so necessary for a building of these characteristics. Secondly, the clearly innovative choice of iron is but another demonstration of the functional objective pursued for this public building.


Address: CL ATARAZANAS 10,  29005  Málaga


Monuments and Art > Remarkable Building
Atarazanas, 10, Zip Code 29005