The population of the city of Málaga proper was 558,285 as of 2005 estimates. The population of the urban area was 814,000 as of 2005 estimates. The population of the metropolitan area (urban area plus satellite towns) was 1,074,074 as of 2005 estimates, ranking as the fifth largest metropolitan area in Spain. Málaga is surrounded by mountains, lying in the southern base of the Axarquía hills, and two rivers, the Guadalmedina - the historic center is located on its left bank - and the Guadalhorce, which flows west of the city into the Mediterranean.
The inner city of Málaga is just behind the harbour. The quarters of El Perchel, La Trinidad and Lagunillas surround this centre. The city has much revenue from the agricultural sector and from tourism.
The Holy Week, and the Málaga Fair ("Feria de Málaga") are two well-known Málaga festivals. The Malaguenos choose the hottest month of the year, August, to celebrate the Feria de Malaga. The streets are transformed into symbols of Spanish culture and history, with sweet wine, tapas,and live flamenco shows filling the town. The day events consist of live music and dancing, while the night fair is moved to the Recinto Ferial, consisting of restaurants, clubs, and an entire fair ground with rides & games.
The Phoenicians from Tyre founded the city Malaka here, in about 1000 BC. The name Malaka is probably derived from the Phoenician word for salt because fish was salted near the harbour. Cf. "salt" in other Semitic languages, e.g. Hebrew מלח mélaḥ or Arabic ملح milḥ.
In the 8th century, Spain was conquered by the Moors, and the city became an important centre of trade. Málaga was first a possession of the Caliphate of Córdoba. After the fall of the Umayyad dynasty, it became the capital of a distinct kingdom, dependent on Granada. During this time, the city was called Mālaqah (Arabic مالقة). At a late stage of the reconquista, the medieval Christian Spanish struggle to drive the Islamic Moors out of Spain, Málaga became Christian again, in 1487.
Málaga did not undergo fierce bombing by Francoist or Nationalist insurgent air forces during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The well-known British journalist and writer Arthur Koestler was captured by the Nationalist forces on their entry into Málaga, which formed the material for his book Spanish Testament.
Tourism on the adjacent Costa del Sol boosted the city's economy from the 1960s onwards.
The magnum opus of Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, "Malagueña", is named for the music of the Gypsies of this region of Spain.
The earliest known bishop was Patricius. He was consecrated in 290 AD, and was present at the Council of Eliberis (in present Elvira). Under the Visigoths, Málaga was made an episcopal see. Hostegesis governed the see from 845 to 864. After the battle of Guadalete, the city passed into the hands of the Arabs, and the bishopric was suppressed under both Moorish states. In 1487, Isabel and Fernando besieged the city, which after a desperate resistance was compelled to surrender. The Christian religion and the episcopal see was restored. The first bishop after the restoration was Pedro Díaz. The see was vacant from 1835 to 1848. The Catholic diocese was, by the Concordat of 1851, made a suffragan diocese of the archdiocese of Granada.
Since the concordat of 1851, the Cathedral Chapter has had 20 canons and 11 beneficed clerics. There were in the diocese (1910) 520,000 Catholics and a few Protestants. The diocese of Málaga had 123 parishes, 481 priests, and 200 churches and chapels. The Augustinian Fathers had a college at Ronda while the Piarists were teaching at Archidona and the Brothers of St. John of God had schools at Antequera, where there is also a Capuchin monastery. In the town of Málaga were convents for women, including Bernardines, Cisterians, Augustinians, Poor Clares, Carmelites and Dominicans. The Little Sisters of the Poor maintain homes for the aged and infirm at Málaga, Antequera and Ronda.
There is a wide spectrum of religions in Málaga. Most citizens declare themselves to be Catholics. One of the most beautiful churches is the " Santuario de la Virgen de la Victoria". Islam is also represented with the construction of a new mosque. The Evangelicals also have a presence in Málaga. The Jewish Community in Málaga is represented by its synagogue and the Jewish Association. There is a Hindu temple and a Buddhist stupa in Benalmadena, only 12 miles from Málaga. This Buddhist stupa is the biggest in Europe.
The climate is mild, the mean annual temperature being about 19 °C (66 °F). For its broad sky and wide bay the city has been compared to Naples. The highest recorded temperature was +44.1 (18.7.1978) and the lowest recorded was -3.8 (4.2.1954).
| |- | |- | |- | |} The city is a tourist destination, due mainly to its proximity to the Costa del Sol. Tourists also visit here to see the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. From Málaga, other cities like Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada, and Jaén can be reached by train, bus or car.
A popular walk leads up the hill to the Gibralfaro castle (a Parador), offering views over the city. The castle is next to the Alcazaba, which in turn is next to the inner city of Málaga. A walk takes the Paseo del Parque (a promenade that runs alongside a park with many palm trees and statue) to the harbour, finishing in Calle Larios the main commercial street of the city.
The main rail station is Málaga María Zambrano which is connected with Madrid Atocha by Talgo 200. On December 23rd, 2007, the high-speed train AVE came into service, reducing travel time to Madrid to just two and a half hours. The city has two Cercanías (commuter train) lines and a metro system is under construction.
Buses are the main form of transport around the city. Málaga's bus station is connected with the city by the bus line number 4, although it is only ten minutes walk to the Alameda from there.