Why is the cathedral of Málaga unfinished?

It’s a summer day and you are wandering around the beautiful streets of Málaga. You are struggling with your body and your mind as you can perceive how the nearly 40 degrees at 12 a.m. make you feel totally exhausted. As you are a cautious traveller, you have been planning your trip for some days or weeks before arriving to the capital city of the sun coast in the south of Spain deciding what you are going to do and the landmarks you are going to visit.

As you have been searching information on the Internet, you have probably found out that Málaga is a city you can go all over in only one day or maybe two and that it’s the place where the famous painter Picasso or the well-known actor Antonio Banderas were born. You’ve also read about the great number of important museums that have opened its doors during the last years (Picasso Museum, Carmen Thyssen Museum or the most recent one: Centre Pompidou Málaga, a branch of the homonymous museum in Paris). Also, as you love tasting the typical food from the places you usually visit, I’m quite sure that you are waiting anxiously for the moment you can try the famous pescaito frito (fried fish) or the delicious Spanish tapas in any of the bars and restaurants that can be found in the city centre.

So up until now everything is going as you expected as you feel relaxed and delighted in the cheerful and stress-free city of Málaga . After walking around some of the most tourist streets of the city centre, you decide it’s time to visit the cathedral.

Moreno Monroy street in Málaga. The cathedral stands in the background

Moreno Monroy street in Málaga. The cathedral stands in the background

You can observe its great elegance as you are approaching this wonderful building built during the 16th and 18th centrury. But in the moment your visual perspective of the building changes, you realize something is not as usual as it should be when referring to cathedrals. Dear friend, stop rubbing your eyes and pay attention because you are about to discover one of the most beautiful and special characteristics of this city: In front of you stands La Manquita (The Little One-armed) as people from Málaga commonly names its most popular building. It receives this name due to the fact that one of the two towers is unfinished.

View of Málaga's cathedral and its unfinished tower

View of Málaga’s cathedral and its unfinished tower

The reason why the construction of the cathedral was not concluded is still uncertain nowadays. If you ask the local people, you will hear different versions or tales. The most famous one is that the local authorities of that period run out money as they had to loan a great amount to the Americans during their Independence War. Other versions simply states that a great part of that money was spent on improvement works in the villages of Antequera and Vélez-Málaga. This improvements were related to the paths and roads that connected this cities to Málaga under that period.

The cathedral of Málaga

The cathedral of Málaga

Anyhow, people from Málaga don’t worry about having an unfinished cathedral. They know and feel it’s something that make their city unique and totally charming and they are happy when they tell the unofficial versions to tourists and observe their expressions. The state of the cathedral has been even so important in the city that some years ago there was an attempt to take this subject to the local polls, but it didn’t succeed. Anyway, what it’s seem quite clear is that people from Málaga want La Manquita to stay this way, at least during the next three centuries.

Visit my gallery of Málaga for more pictures.

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