Málaga and surroundings
The municipality of Málaga is situated between the Moun-tains of Málaga and the Guadalorce Valley. The city centre is located at the centre of a bay, surrounded by mountains. The rivers Guadalmedina and Guadalhorce run through this area and out into the Mediterranean sea.
Málaga is the sixth largest province in Spain and, with a population of almost 6,000, the second largest in the region of Andalusia. It is also the most densely populated area of the zone along with the surrounding villages. The province of Málaga includes many towns and villages spread out along its 160 kilometre coastline, known as the `Costa del Sol´. The city of Málaga is the centre of a metropolitan area, which includes 12 municipalities with an estimated 850,000 inhabitants in total. Some sources, however, estimate that over a million people live in the city of Málaga and its metropolitan area.
Phoenician and Punic archeological sites from the VII cen-tury have been found in Málaga. It was a Roman municipality and during the Moorish era became the capital of a small independent kingdom. After a period of economic difficulties, in the XVIII century Málaga became a prosperous city due to its foundry works. At one time it was the second largest producer of iron at a national level, whilst the port was the departure point for enormous amounts of raisins and wine, both produced in the province. However, following a further recession at the end of the XIX century, (caused by loss of industrial competitiveness and the collapse of the wine industry), Málaga turned its sights on the tourism industry. Since the 1960s, it has been an international tourist destination and the centre of one of the most thriving regions in southern Spain.