—Malaga's Gardens

 
Not even the hot sun that shines upon the city of Malaga is able to convince nature to restrain from taking root in this land. On the contrary, the environmental intelligence combined with the skills of the gardener's experienced hands have created green areas in the very heart of the urban centre. After working more than a century, the resuit has been a great success in the case of the Paseo del Parque in Malaga 's capital. An immense botanical garden divided into two parts by the road. It begins at the end of the main street Ca//e Larios, and finishes in the square Plaza del General Torrijos which counts in its vertex with the fountain Fuente de las Tres Gracias, a French monument of the 19th century. The park was created in 1897 on a piece of land gained from the sea. A path leads through the vegetation decorated alongside with monuments to Malaga's greatest celebrities. In the surroundings we can find buildings of great historical and esthetica! value. For example the former Caste del Jardinero that shelters now the Tourism Office. Or the former main post office, a building of neomudejar style (Muslim art), that has been converted into the vice- chancellor's office of the University of Malaga. At some distance from the city centre we can enjoy another beautiful and rich botanical scenery: Finca de la Conception. An overwhelming place, full of magic. It is perfectly maintained since 1850, the year it was constructed at request of Jorge Loring and Maria Amaiia Heredia Liuermoore. This refined and erudite couple, who was part of Malaga's dominant 19th century oligarchy, followed their collector spirit for the construction of the property. The garden was created under the influence of the English gardening style. Between the palms and bamboos you will find everywhere water fountains that give this place an idyllic atmosphere. The smail neo-classical temple shelters the valuable archaeological collection of its first owners. It is one of those places where you wil! experience the feeling of being part of the bourgeoisie of that time. During a walk, a bird of paradise might cross your way or you can be surprised by an endless araucaria. With its proudful 45 metres height, it is the province's highest tree. In the village of Churriana, in the Finca de Is Consuls, we can imagine the way of life of former distinguished personalities. Those who iived in this country when Prussia's consui in Malaga ordered to build the property, around the year 1806, taking advantage of the excellent climatic and geographical conditions of the Valle del Guadalhorce. Probably the most famous and interesting guest that lodged these rooms was Ernest Hemingway, who visited the country during the first decades of the 20th century. The house's porch counts with columns inspired in the neo- classical architecture, though adapted to the living standard. Currently, the School of Hotel Management that runs a marvellous restaurant occupies the buiiding. The property stil! preserves the rich vegetation that since approximately two centuries surrounds the house. Another botanical garden of a rich variety is allocated in the property El Retiro. It is one of the province' s first country house and its history goes back to the Middle Age, when it allocated a fortress-palace of a Muslim prince. Nowadays, the historical garden preserves sculptural ornaments and fountains of the 17th and 18th century that keep alive the memory of former days and former dwellers. In the 17th century, Fray Aionso de Santo Tomas, prior of the Dominican group and Malaga's bishop, chose this ground to bui!d its country property and a first garden that was used at the same time as vegetabie garden. But its final aesthetics was reached after the stay of different counts. The counts of Buenavista enlarged the property, and at the same time the so-called Jardin-patio (garden-patio), whereas the count of Villalcazar de Sirga remodelled it. In some other parts of Malaga province water flows squirming between the rich vegetation and moves easily snd agile through the colourful scenery designed by Mother Nature. One of the most spectacular water-shows eKists in Torremolinos, in the so-called Molino delnca. An artificial creek, that takes advantage of the natural birth of river Inca, flows between a bucolic landscape until it ends in three pools full of water plants and different fish and bird species. Following the watercourse our eyes will enjoy the sight of more than 500 examples of different trees. Among others an acebuche, a wild olive tree, about 1 000 years old and some hundred- year-old eucalyptus. In the very middle of the precinct we will find the natural labyrinth of Aligustre that invites us to enter its 50 metres of confusing undergrowth. In the air resounds the song of the exotic birds that are held in aviaries. This sound gets mixed with the one Ehat proceeds from the o!d wheel of the flour's mill that has now been converted into a museum. Without realizing it you are carried away to another piace, far away, and to another epoch. Also from other epoch are the gardens that surround the Casa del Rey Moro. It is located in Ronda, ,at the border of the impressive gorge through which flows river Guada!evin. The origins of this house - palace are in the 18th century. Its irregular baseline is full of stairs and corridors in order to even out the different levels. The still preserved water mill is probably of a former time. An Islamic construction that takes advantage of the mentioned natural gorge. A stair of more than two hundred steps is still carved in the rock. The Parque de Is Paloma, in the village of Benaimadena, is a more recent construction and therefore with less history. But this does not mean that the park is less beautiful. The proudful 200 000 square metres make of it the province's biggest green area built in an urban zone. You can find authentic flocks of ducks, gooses, black and white swans swimming in the water. Further more you can find also carps and turtles that dive confusedly and try to escape from the birds of prey. Alongside the border you can observe the graceless pelicans walking up and down and how they scare some absentminded stroller. Because in this park you need to look out very carefully if you want to see in the dense vegetation, either in the cactus garden or between the bamboos or palms, a lost rabbit or a proud peacock. The curious fallow deers, ostriches and pygmy goats welcome you from behind a fenced area. They push out their snout through the fence looking for a friendiy hand that wants to share some seconds with them or, who knows, perhaps is someone willing to share its picnic, A haven of peace between all this wildness.
 
 


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