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The building

The Palacio de Buenavista houses the Collection of Museo Picasso Málaga. It is located in the heart of the old city, and the building is a magnificent example of 16th-century Andalusian architecture with its characteristic mixture of Renaissance and Mudéjar elements.

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The Palacio de Buenavista was built for Diego de Cazalla, paymaster of the royal army and navy, who took part in the conquest of the city in 1487. It is believed that the building was erected over the remains of a Nasrid palace of which some elements still survive, such as the tower to the east of the main courtyard.

Diego de Cazalla made every effort in the construction of the building. Italian and Mudejar elements join together in this sober and elegant building. By the 19th century the palace had became less of a family residence and instead began to assume other roles.

Declared a national monument in 1939, the palace was rented to the State in 1946 to house the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes, which opened in 1961. The museum remained there until 1997 when the building was acquired to display the collection of the future Museo Picasso Málaga. This choice reflected the express desire of the principal donor, Christine Ruiz-Picasso, who envisioned the collection to be exhibited in a typically Andalusian building.

In order to accomodate the temporary exhibition galleries, the MPM Library and Documentation Centre, the Education Department and the Auditorium, various adjoining buildings were adapted and built, all of which were harmoniously integrated into the site of the palace and its surrounding urban context.

The remodelling and expansion project of the Palacio de Buenavista was led by Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Mayner Architects with Isabel Cámara and Rafael Martín Delgado of Cámara/Martín Delgado Arquitectos, working with the engineers ARUP. The landscape was conceived by María Medina.

In 2006 the American Institute of Architects awarded the MPM the Institute’s Honor Award for Architecture. The jury commented: “This is a beautiful job of restoration architecture… It is appropriately modest, weaving a museum into the fabric of this Mediterranean city… New portions were simply and elegantly inserted in and around the 16th century castle, the outdoor courtyards and the city streets.”

More information: The Architecture of the Museo Picasso Málaga : From the Sixth Century BC to the Twenty-First Century (Museo Picasso Málaga, 2004)

Archaeological site

The ground beneath Museo Picasso Málaga preserves important evidence of the city's roots in the past. The exceptional Phoenician, Roman and Moorish remains, as well as those of the Renaissance palace, show the visitor fragments of Malaga's history, dating back to the seventh century B.C.

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Below the ground at the Palacio de Buenavista, important evidence has been found of the first beginnings of Malaga, one of the most ancient cities in the Western world, with almost 3,000 years of uninterrupted occupation. The excavations have revealed exceptional archaeological remains, which show the presence of life in Phoenician, Roman, Arab and Renaissance times.

Malaka was founded by the Phoenicians around the 8th Century B.C. on the lower slopes of the Mount of the Alcazaba. From the beginning the population developed an intense metallurgical activity, and produced Tyrian purple, as well as salted meat and fish.

From the 6th century B.C., the Punics dominated the city until the Romans conquered it after the Second Punic War (end of the 3rd century B.C.), when it was named Malaca. It was integrated into one of the Roman provinces and kept its privileges as federal city. The significant development of the fishing industry consolidated its commercial character. When the Roman Empire dissolved, the Visigoths came to dominate these territories. The city fell into decline, with the only exception of the Byzantine period, when it played a crucial role, probably as Imperial capital.

In 711, the city fell into the hands of the Arabs and came to be part of the Cordoba Emirate. Some time later, from the 10th Century onwards, it became prominent again amid the Southern peninsula towns as first harbour of the Moorish kingdom of Granada, from where major merchandises were shipped. The Catholic Monarchs conquered Malaga in 1487.

An archaeological site can be visited underneath the Palace where the following remains are of particular note:

• Constructions dating from the late 7th century – early 6th century B.C.
These are part of a Phoenician dwelling.

• The Phoenician city wall built at the start of the 6th century B.C. This would have protected the city at the north side, where one of the entry gates was probably located.

• A Phoenician tower that was part of the inner city wall: it was built towards the end of the 6th century B.C.

• Inner rooms from one of the Phoenician towers from the inner city wall built towards the end of the 6th century B.C. This tower would have been next to one of the city gates.

• 4th century Greco-Italian amphora. Late 3rd century – early 2nd century B.C.

• Remains of sinks from a Roman fish salting factory. This factory was active from the 3rd – 5th centuries A.D. Fish-derived products such as the famousgarum fermented fish sauce were prepared here and then exported to Rome.

• A paved street used by carriages coming into the Palacio de los Condes de Buenavista from thge 16th century.

• Remains of the original floor of the Palacio de los Condes de Buenavista cellar, with earthenware jars set into it, used to store food supplies from the 16th century.