The historic development of Marbella

Marbella was first mining, then agricultural and finally tourist. It is an ancient and noble city. But few know that the first settlements date from the Paleolithic; that the deep Roman footprint bequeathed the thermal baths of Las Bóvedas (only with aerial structure) or the town of Río Verde (whose culinary mosaics are exceptional); which has one of the most accredited Visigoth monuments in the country, the Paleo-Christian basilica of Vega del Mar; that the Muslims already called it the “well inhabited” and built a fortress that has stood the test of time; and that it became a royal city, dotted with viewpoints, with aristocratic buildings, such as the Bazán Hospital, and convents that mediated in the rescue of the captives of the Barbary (among them Cervantes).

It is the Basilica of Vega de Mar that proves the settlements that took place in this area and in which historians place the old Cilciniana. In the environment they have been found along different excavations, tombs and ceramic and metal objects. Near this place you can also find one of the best luxury car rental agencies in the area, Apex in Marbella.

When the Muslim Marbella is taken by the Catholic Monarchs, the handing over of the keys was done before a cross that is currently kept in a small temple that is in Malaga: it is the Cruz del Humilladero. As of that moment the town left the walled enclosure of the castle to extend by all the zone.

In the nineteenth century, Marbella became the national capital of the steel industry with the first blast furnaces in Spain: three on the La Concepción estate and three in El Ángel, of the Heredia and Ejiró families. Here it was possible to manufacture 75 percent of the iron that was melted in Spain from the El Peñoncillo farm, which was exploited until 1931. Finally, the steel industry collapsed due to competition from the north (Vizcaya), which already used coal from coke, more profitable than the expensive charcoal that was used in malagueñas.

At the same time, Marbella became an agricultural pioneer with the colonies of the Marqués del Duero and, to a lesser extent, of El Ángel. At the end of the nineteenth century General Manuel Gutiérrez de la Concha, Marqués del Duero, designed San Pedro Alcántara, the largest agricultural colonization work carried out in our country by an individual on 10,000 hectares of land located between the rivers Guadaiza and Guadalmansa. It was a colony dedicated to the cultivation of sugarcane and beet, with its own sugar mill, a building that is still preserved although intended for the celebration of cultural events.

Marbella lived before and after the civil war the collapse of its economy, which regained its pulse thanks to a phenomenon only sniffed by visionaries: tourism. The spectacular transformation dates from 1940, although the great takeoff began in 1943 with the arrival of Ricardo Soriano, the Marquis of Ivanrey, who founded the Venta and Albergues del Rodeo. It was a residential complex, with surrounding urbanization, which would mark the style and touristic direction of the city. Ivanrey copied the bungalow from the United States, although it was much more rustic, similar to the peasant huts. Imagine artists of the time, such as Edgar Neville, Conchita Montes and Antonio “El Bailarín”, who opt for an idyllic Marbella, with beaches of dunes and with La Concha as an eternal profile, guarantor of its climatic goodness.

The city was transformed to house the visitors, the houses were remodeled and the value of the land changed. In most cases the owners sold to other promoters who did great business. Perhaps, as an anecdote, note that the land sold in the Nagüeles area for 13 million pesetas (just over 78,000 Euros) today is the area known as the “Golden Mile”. New hotels are created, such as El Fuerte, San Nicolás, Guadalmina or Salduba, and the emblematic Los Monteros and Don Pepe. If you want to hire a luxury vehicle in Barcelona or anywhere in Spain, you can get it from here:

While all these operations were being carried out, the first builders of the “mecca of tourism” arrived in Marbella: Don Alfonso de Holenlohe and Don José Banús. The latter undertakes a titanic development with the largest urbanization hitherto known in the country. A macroproject named Puerto Banús that included several hotels (Hotel del Golf and Andalucía Plaza), golf courses, a bullring, nightclubs and a marina that, since its inauguration (attended by Grace Kelly and Rainier de Mónaco) , it became the largest in Europe.