Another beauty from Costa del Sol is the little Andalusian town Benalmádena placed at only 12 km west of Málaga. The old center is absolutely enchanting: traditional iconic white houses decorated with colored pots of Geraniums and the narrow streets are an open invite to walk through them, in a permanent game of hide-and-seek with sun and shady shadows. When you reach the top of the hill, the panorama over the town and the sea view are breath taking and I have to admit that I could spend hours there, just looking around, taking photos and breathing the salted sea breeze near old pine trees.
Looking down over the town, a fairy tale castle building silhouette caught my attention, seemed like an enormous sand castle but from bricks, with lots of arches and a real statue lacing. It was Castillo de Colomares, a monument in form of a castle, dedicated to the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus. It was built between 1987 and 1994 on a total covering an area of 1,500 meters, being the largest monument in the world honoring the explorer that also contains the smallest church in the world.
The castle was made by Esteban Martín, a medical practitioner from the United States and looking at this exquisite fairy-tale castle you could never guess it was designed by a doctor, then built by local builders. The impressive architectural design unifies various styles which had a striking effect on Spanish culture: Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar (style of Spanish architecture from the 13th to 16th centuries, a fusion of Romanesque and Gothic with Arabic).
The whole structure is meticulously carved with symbolic representations of the intrepid discoveries along with the coats of arms of the Catholic monarchs and other gentry that accompanied the expeditions. Inside the castle there is a large book relating the details of the voyages of Columbus along with more carved references to the three main cultures of the period: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The garden surrounding the castle is beautiful and filled with vivid colored flowers, alternating large surfaces with grass, offering an amazing, relaxed and extremely peaceful view of the navy sea blue meeting the blue sky.
Photo credits: personal archive Ruxandra Chiurtu