Malaga Cathedral, why is it called the Manquita?
Do you want to know why the cathedral of Malaga is called La Manquita? Do you want to know the most curious anecdotes about the cathedral? Don't miss our article.
History of Malaga Cathedral
The cathedral of Malaga was built between 1528 and 1782, after the reconquest, the catholic kings ordered to build a great Christian temple. The architects were Diego de Siloé and Andrés de Vandelvira and the cathedral of Malaga which was originally in Gothic style, was transformed into a Renaissance cathedral with Baroque details.
The cathedral is located inside the city walls. Remember that Malaga was one of the last cities of Al-Andalus when it was reconquered in 1487 by the Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand.
The Christian Kingdoms allowed the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada (Granada, Malaga, Jaen and Almeria) to remain in exchange for the payment of a high tribute, but with the union of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon through the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand, they decided to do away with Al-Andalus and reconquer the entire peninsula.
Ferdinand the Catholic personally went to Malaga with 80,000 men to conquer the city and despite the conviction that it was going to be a quick and easy conquest, it was not at all easy.
The city was perfectly walled and with a labyrinthine architecture (which was going to make a conquest by force difficult), besides, the Muslims knew gunpowder, so it was decided to rule out a conquest by force.
The strategy was to besiege and blockade the city in May to prevent any goods (including food and water) from entering the city.
Four months later, in August, Ferdinand came close to abandoning Malaga and postponing his conquest, but a few days later the Muslims surrendered.
The work is incomplete, as you can see in the photograph, both one of the towers (south tower) and the roof of the cathedral are missing. The north tower is finished and has a height of 84 meters. It is the second highest cathedral in Andalusia, only behind the Giralda in Seville.
Why is the Cathedral of Malaga called the Manquita?
The sense of humour and wit of the people of Malaga is well known and here we are going to see a perfect example. Although the full name of the Cathedral is Santa Iglesia Catedral de la Basílica de la Encarnación, we malagueños are much less complicated as we call it la Manquita.
As soon as you see the Cathedral of Malaga, you will understand why it is known as the manquita,the cathedral is incomplete and one of the missing details is the South tower, so it has only one of the two towers.
Another anecdote that praises the ingenuity of the people of Malaga and that I love has to do with a public building. It is called building of multiple services and in it are almost all the administrations. Formerly it was black so all the people from Malaga knew it as a black building, a few years ago they painted it white and since then all the people from Malaga know it as the Michael Jackson, without words.
Curiosities of the Cathedral, why wasn't it finished?
There are three versions of why the building was never completed:
The budget is over
The first version tells that a budget had been set for the Cathedral of Malaga. We have seen on occasion how the initial budget of a construction does not always coincide with the final one. And this is what is said to have happened. The problem is that that time was not exactly a time of economic boom so it could not be finished.
The money was earmarked for the construction of commercial roads.
The second version says that there were no commercial roads connecting Malaga with Antequera and Velez-Malaga, so the carriages were often attacked by bandits and a lot of money was lost and traders were afraid to make these routes. To solve this problem , it was decided to build these trade routes, presumably financed with funds from the Cathedral.
The money went to the War of Independence.
The last version tells that the money was destined to the war of Independence of the United States against England. A character called Fernando de Galvez, very close to the king of Spain, helped the Americans with his military intervention, the doubt is to know if in addition to militarily helped them economically, as there are historians who claim that the budget of the cathedral was used for this purpose.
What is clear is that there was an important help from Fernando de Galvez to the Americans, and in his honor, it was decided to call a city in Texas County called Galveston in his honor.
Now you will expect me to tell you which version is the real one but I am sorry to say that there is no certainty which of these versions about the history of the Cathedral of Malaga is the true one, so fortunately or unfortunately, we are going to be left with the intrigue. Although the version that most people agree with is the construction of the commercial road.
Will the Cathedral of Malaga be finished? This is one of the questions you ask me the most and the truth is that there are no plans to finish the tower and there is no desire on the part of the people of Malaga to finish the work as we are very proud of our little mansion.
What is expected is that the roof is finished, because in Malaga it doesn't rain a lot but when it rains, it rains for the whole year, so when this happens, the Cathedral of Malaga suffers floods. In the following image you can see the canalization system of the cathedral of Malaga.
Visit to the interior of the Cathedral, prices and visiting hours
The opening hours depend on the day of the week, these are the opening hours until March 31st, after that the opening hours are extended only from Monday to Friday until 20:00 hours, except from July 1st until September 30th which is until 21:00 hours.
- Monday to Friday: From 10:00 to 20:00.
- Saturdays: From 10:00 to 18:00.
- Sundays and holidays: From 14:00 to 18:00.
Prices: There are many options depending on your age or if you want to visit only the Cathedral, only the roofs or both. To make your search easier, check all the options on the official website.
Is it possible to visit the Cathedral of Malaga for free?
Most of the museums in Malaga have a schedule a week in which the visit is free. Unfortunately the Cathedral doesn't give us this option but we're going to tell you a trick so you can visit it for free. If you are lucky enough to be in the city on a Sunday, you can enter the interior for free through the main door during mass hours.
Is it worth entering the Cathedral of Malaga?
It is worth the visit inside, as one of the most repeated phrases by the people who visit it is that more than a cathedral, it looks like a museum. The choir is impressive and at the entrance they will give you an audio guide so you can learn all the history.
In addition, if you buy the "Cathedral + roofs" ticket, you can climb to the roof of the cathedral, from where you will enjoy spectacular views. However, we warn you that the climb is about 200 steps and that the last 100 or so are very narrow and spiral-shaped, so in our opinion if you are claustrophobic do not do this activity.
Malaga Cathedral night visit
The night visit to the Cathedral of Malaga is one of the most interesting activities that can be done, but it is important to know that this visit does not include the entrance to the interior, but it is a visit exclusively to the roofs of the Cathedral.
The price of the visit is 10€ per person and the activity usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.
For some people it is more interesting to go up to the decks during the day as you can see the city more easily but the night visit during the summer months is a unique experience, as when you get to the decks it is still daylight and you can see the city and also sometimes you can see the sunset which is truly spectacular.
If you don't have the option to make this visit, we recommend going to the terrace of the Chinitas Urban Hostel, as the views of the Cathedral are breathtaking, especially at sunset, in fact the cover photo of this article is taken from this place.