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History of Torremolinos

Diputación de Málaga
Casa de los Navajas, Torremolinos

History of Torremolinos

Torremolinos does not feature as a population centre on the famous map drawn by the Marquis de la Ensenada until 1748, though it is known to have been founded long before. In fact, it was home to Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs alike. The name “Torremolinos” would appear to be a reference to the nineteen molinos or mills that once stood here, which led to the area becoming known as "Los Molinos de la Torre" or “The Mills of the Tower”.

Torremolinos’s long and eventful history, from the dawn of humanity through to the tourist boom, has seen a wealth of changes. Previously a separate town, it was absorbed into the city of Málaga in 1924 before becoming independent once again on the 27th of September 1988. Over the years, the town has undergone numerous physical changes which, though not always for the better, have given Torremolinos its own distinctive personality.

Torremolinos, the classic exponent of what has become known as sun and sand tourism, is a town crammed with hidden corners, houses and other buildings that are the fruit of the lively imaginations of the artists and creators drawn here over the years.

Naturally, the main source of Torremolinos’ wealth is tourism, the town lives for its tourists day and night. Its streets are a huge shopping centre filled with foreign visitors, especially from Britain, Germany and Scandinavia. Though the pedestrian Calle San Miguel, which is lined with shops, is the main attraction, there are also a wealth of more traditional streets to be found in areas such as El Calvario, in the upper part of the town, or La Carihuela, where maritime customs are still strong.

The town boasts seven kilometres of coastline which are home to most of its hotels, restaurants and beach bars. The most popular beaches are El Lido, El Bajondillo, El Saltillo and, by virtue of its deserved reputation for excellent fried fish, La Carihuela.

However, there is still room for legend, such as the story of Sir George Lagworthy, known as Don Jorge by the locals. Like countless others, he holidayed here in the late 19th century and decided to stay. He and his wife purchased the Santa Clara estate, where they frequently played host to their fellow countrymen. Following the death of his wife and the First World War, he converted his home into a refuge for the needy, immersing himself in this project to such an extent that he ended up bankrupt. He was well loved and looked after by the people of Torremolinos and is often said to have been responsible for sowing the first seeds of its modern-day tourism.

The best way of enjoying the popular face of Torremolinos is by witnessing its festivals. Mid July sees the town pay homage to one of its patron saints, the Virgen del Carmen, when La Carihuela in particular is richly decked out for the occasion, while in late September, its other patron, San Miguel, is honoured by a Fair which features entertainment in tents or casteas, flamenco and a popular pilgrimage to the pine grove of Los Manantiales. The visitor is more than welcome at these celebrations, though the hosts have also designated two special days for their benefit, the "Dîa del Turista" or “Tourists’ Day”, which falls on the first Thursday in September and the "Dîa del Pecaîto" (“Fish Day”) which is held in the first fortnight of October. These are the town’s way of paying homage to its guests.