the walking tour in Malaga — about the Cathedral

the walking tour in Malaga — about the Cathedral

[ Feb.2018 ] I continue talking about the walking tour we had in Malaga in the south of Spain.

We came out to the Plaza del Obispo where the cathedral and the bishop’s palace are in front of us.

Our smooth talking guide, Xavier told us that they started building this cathedral in the 16th century when Spain was rich with the treasures from South America.

The design was gorgeous, but it was never completed even after 200 years.

In the 1700s Spain was not so rich and the city asked the bishop to use the money intended for the cathedral for more economically useful things such as  reconstruction of the port and the bishop accepted, so the building work of the cathedral was paused.

They were planning to raise two towers, but because of this, only one was built and it looks unbalanced.

But the people in Malaga got used to it and loved it, so when the time came to restart the building work, they said ‘Please leave it as it is’.

This cathedral is popular even now with the nickname “one handed lady”.

Then Xavier said “People in Malaga love giving nicknames” and asked us a question, “There is a building which used to be black, but repainted in white. What do you think we call that building?”.

After a while, a member of the tour, probably an Irish called out “Michael Jackson!” and that was a correct answer.

Being impressed, Xavier gave him some sweets as the prize.  

After that, we moved to the side of the cathedral.

Here there was Muslim architecture left as a part of the cathedral.

According to Xavier, the cathedral was built on the Mosque, but they left some parts of Mosque so that people can see how big the cathedral is in comparison to the Mosque.

On the other hand, the church decided to take the idea of Muslims of having a garden around the church and planted some orange trees.

There are many orange trees in the south of Spain, and those oranges are to be exported or to make marmalade.

Now the topic moved on to the origin of the word, ‘marmalade’.

Xavier told us that during the Age of Discovery, French people noticed that the Portuguese and Spanish sailors did not suffer from sea sickness and investigated what they were eating.

And they discovered that those sailors were eating oranges preserved in sugar to get vitamins.

So the French word ‘mer malade (sea sick)’ became the name of orange jam.

And Xavier asked “Do you know the origin of the word Kangaroo, by the way?”

According to him, when the Westerners arrived in Australia all those years ago, they pointed out those animals and asked the native people “What’s the name of that animal?” and they replied “Kangaroo”, so Westerners started calling them Kangaroo.

But in the language of the native people, it means “I don’t know what you are talking about”.

So we laughed a lot, but I wonder if it is true…

We went into the cathedral only briefly because they were in the middle of the service.

I could see it was really grand and gorgeous.

At the back of the cathedral which is facing towards the sea, Xavier pointed out that there are gutters in the shape of cannons instead of gargoyles.

That is because when the British pirates were a big problem, they tried to look as if they have many cannons so that the pirates would not come nearer and apparently it worked.

This time a Dutch tourist said “And that is why the British surged in to Torremolinos (nearby popular tourist destination) instead” and made us laugh.

So we had a lot of laughter during this walking tour and I never got tired.

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