Set between the Alameda Principal and the Paseo de España, which runs parallel to Guadiaro Quay, the park extends from the Plaza de General Torrijos to Plaza de la Marina.
It is made up of three walkways, each 800 metres long and ten metres wide, of which one is on the north side and the other two are located south of the 25-metre wide central vehicle thoroughfare, continuation of the Alameda Principal.
It has a total area of 30,000 square metres, taking into account the rose garden surrounded by orange and cypress trees next to the Town Hall, and the gardens called Jardines de Puerta Oscura (Dark Entrance Gardens).
The Park's design and configuration are characterised by a series of peculiarities:
More than a park, it is a garden bordered by walkways and thoroughfares.
Its basic design follows that of a Mediterranean garden, moderately of Renaissance style with and Baroque lines and well thought out landscaping.
It is an open park, which is radically different to most parks. It is easily accessible. The local climate has been acknowledged as optimum the whole year round. Functional layouts alternate depending on the time of the year, allowing the sun to shine through in the winter, and providing shade during the rest of the year. A myriad of colours and seasonal changes.
Its vegetation cover is designed to give shade and coolness, which is demonstrated the by choice of shady Banana trees to which other leafy varieties were later added.
Amongst the variety of species to be found in the park the most outstanding is an Encephalartos Laurentianus, donated by the Marquis of Larios himself and located opposite the corner of the Customs building. There are also many Sago Palms (Cycas Revoluta), on their own or in small groups, as well as three or four Canary Island Dragon Trees (Draecena Draco), which have rigid, pointed leaves and reddish fruits that hang in bunches. Other species include the Canary Island Pine (Pinus Canariensis) and the Silky Oak (Grevillea Robusta), the latter a southern hemisphere plant, specifically from Australia, where it is commonly called the Fire Tree.
There are also some magnificent examples of Tropical Pandan Trees (Pandanus Candelabrum), which grow in the swamps of southwest Africa and have powerful stilt-like roots. These have been placed around the huge fountain that was carved in Genoa and brought to Malaga by order of the Emperor Charles V, after he escaped from the clutches of Moorish pirates. This area is surrounded by Mexican or Virginian Cypress trees, known as the 'Tree of the Sad Night' as it was against this species that Hernán Cortês and a group of his followers rested their backs after escaping massacre during the conquest of Mexico.
Other notable species to be found in the Park are, Barbary Trees (Callitris quadrivalvis), exclusive to the North of Africa and Silk-Floss Trees (Chorisias), native to south Brazil and north Uruguay and in some places called 'drunken stick' because of their ability to swell up. Thanks to the Larios family and many other renowned Malaga families, the Park has accumulated an enormous collection and selection of plants, most of these native to tropical or subtropical zones.
Finally, there is the huge Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Pandurata); the Hemp Palm, from China or the Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis), unique to Europe; Asia and tropical Oceania is represented by a group of Piccabean Palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana), their slim trunks ringed with the scars left by lost leaves. These are joined by Cedars from Lebanon, Araucarias from South America, Yuccas, Cycads, and Elodeas that alternate with Junipers and Japanese Oriental Arborvitae, whilst groups of Californian Palms merge with others such as Bird of Paradise trees... In fact, not one continent has been forgotten in Malaga Park.
Origins of Malaga Park
The history of Malaga Park is linked to the history of the city throughout the 19th century. Its origins date back to a law passed in 1896, inspired by Cánovas del Castillo, in which it was provided that the limits of the service area of Marquis de Guadiaro Quay should be defined in order to landscape a significant part of the land reclaimed from the sea and leave as a legacy for 20th century Malaga one of the most important public parks in Europe, in terms of exotic flora. This park was to become a prolongation of the Alameda Principal and stretched as far as Paseo de la Farola.
The preliminary plans were drafted by the Marquis of Larios and were approved by the Town Hall. The architects Rivera, Guerrero Strachan, Rucoba and Crooke were amongst those that took part in the long design and development phase, however it was Rucoba who would really begin the task, with the scarce and deficient means of over century ago. Until the project was approved in 1987, the space the Park now occupies today was not made available and it took over 30 years to convert it into what it is today, an authentic and luxuriously verdant botanical garden.