The palace/castle at the heart of the old city of Málaga was built, perhaps over the ruins of early military structures, in the eleventh century. The site, whose name derives from the Arabic al-qasabah, or fortress, and indeed, the site is principally made up of a double ring of curtain walls protecting a palace which sits at the heart of the complex.
The palace itself is not particularly well-preserved, certainly not when compared to the Alhambra. One suspects that at in its day, the palace was intended to appear as a miniature copy of its larger, more famous Granadan counterpart.
What stands today is largely the work of the Zirid dynasty, which ruled Málaga and Granada in the eleventh century. They came to the Maghreb originally in the service of the Fatimid Caliphs, but one of the junior members of the dynasty came into the service of Hisham II, Caliph of Cordoba right at the end of the tenth century. They were key players in the chaos that followed, and ended up in control of a substantial Taifa state in the south of al-Andalus. In the mid-fourteenth century, under the reign of Yusuf I of the Nasrid dynasty, the additional fortifications of the Gibralfaro were added, which I will cover in my next post.