Marbella is a city in Andalusia, Spain, by the Mediterranean, situated in the province of Málaga, beneath La Concha. In 2000 the city had 98,823 inhabitants, in 2004, 116,234.
Marbella is an important beach resort of the Costa del Sol. The town is famous for being a playground for the super-famous and super-rich. Marbella is internationally recognised as a favourite destination for extremely wealthy tourists from Northern Europe, in particular the UK, Ireland and Germany. The area around Marbella is particularly popular with those who like Golf.
It is easy to reach other places, like Malaga and Algeciras, by bus. The area is also served by the A7 autovia, and the closest airport is at Malaga.
Archaeological excavations have been made in the mountains around Marbella, which point at human habitation in Paleolithic and Neolithic times. There are also remains of Phoenician and later Carthaginian settlements in the area of Rio Real. In Roman times, the city was called Salduba During Islamic rule, Muslims built a castle in this city, and they surrounded it by walls. The name Marbella, which is derived from Marbil-la, dates from this Islamic era. In 1485, the Spaniards reconquered the city, and during the centuries that followed, the city grew.
In the 1940s, Marbella was a small village with only 900 inhabitants but this changed when Prince Max Egon zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg and his heir Alfonso of Hohenlohe experienced a problem with their Rolls-Royce in the area. This first encounter with Marbella so impressed Alfonso that he decided to buy land commercially, marketing the area as a tourist destination. In 1954 he opened the Hotel Marbella Club; his son Alfonso had recently returned from California and the hotel was loosely based on the 'motel' style with lower pitched terracotta roofs among 23.000 trees. The Hotel was a hit with other noble European families and socialites who enjoyed the casual and discreet luxury. Jaime de Mora y Aragón, a Spanish socialite and brother to the queen Queen Fabiola was also a frequent vacationer. In 1974 the Prince Fahd arrived at the city after having broken the bank of the Casino of Montecarlo. Until his death in 2005 he was a frequent and profitable guest of Marbella, where his retinue of over thousand people spending petro-dollars was welcome, including the then-anonymous Osama bin Laden.
In the Eighties, Marbella continued to be a destination for the jet set, with the most recognizable face being that of Gunilla von Bismarck. However, problems arose in 1987 when Melodie Nakachian, daughter of Local Billionaire Philanthropist and the Korean princess and singer Kimera was kidnapped, putting the city in the focus of the media.
In 1991 the builder and president of Atlético Madrid, Jesús Gil y Gil was elected by wide majority for mayor of Marbella for his own party, the Independent Liberal Group (GIL in Spanish), promising to fight petty crime and the declining prestige associated with the region. Amongst other things, he used, as an international spokesman for the city, actor Sean Connery who later ended this relationship after his image was used for electoral purpose by Gil.
The city also experimented with extensive building activity under the administration of Gil, with critics stating that this construction was often performed without regard for the existing urban plan and thus new plans were stopped by the Andalusian government. Something of a maverick, Gil despised town-hall formalities instead ruling from his office at the Club Financiero. Criticism was levelled at Gil by the major parties of Spain (PSOE and People's Party) but this did not convince enough voters to oust him and Spanish celebrities continued to spend summers there.
Additional criticism becried the presence of alleged criminals from the Russian mafia in the city.
Gil's GIL extended to other Costa del Sol towns like Estepona and across the Strait of Gibraltar to the Spanish African cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
This period brought an appraisal of the city but also investigations of corruption began. Eventually, Jesús Gil was forced to resign in 2002 after being jailed for diverting public funds for Atlético. He was succeeded by Julián Muñoz, a former waiter then well-known for being romantically engaged with singer Isabel Pantoja with more than one hundred trials for corruption hanging on. Muñoz was overthrown by his own party which elected as new mayor Marisol Yagüe, a former secretary. Muñoz and Gil took part in a scandalous debate on television where both accused each other of having robbed public funds. The situation exploded in March 2006, when Yagüe was also jailed when the city council was near bankruptcy. According to unsubstantiated testimony, Muñoz and Yagüe were puppets in the hands of Antonio Roca, a councilman who got the job after failing in private business and gathering substantial wealth while working as a public servant. While Yagüe was in jail, the city council was run by Tomás Reñones, a former Atlético Madrid football player, who ended up in jail as well. On April 8, 2006, the Spanish government decided to suspend the council, the first time such a course of action was taken in Spanish democracy http://www.citymayors.com/politics/marbella_corruption.html.
Sights in and around Marbella
- Olivia Valere (Upscale restaurant, bar and disco)
- Arabian wall
- Bonsai museum
- Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo
- Old city centre
- Playa de la Bajadilla (beach)
- Playa de Fontanilla (beach)
- Bernadette exposed in public
- Puerto Banús, a marina built by José Banús where Rolls-Royces and Ferraris meet yachts.
- The Golden Mile featuring the Marbella Club Hotel and its beach club, as well as the late King Fahad's palace.
- Encarnation's Church (Iglesia de la Encarnación) Oldest church in the city placed in the old-town
Media referencesSantiago Segura's Torrente comedy film series took its second part Torrente 2: Misión en Marbella (2001, the highest grossing Spanish film ever) to Marbella, where the repulsive cop José Luis Torrente meets the kitsch inhabitants of the city in an intrigue of international politics.
Marbella was featured in the popular political thriller, "Syriana". It was used as the location for a private party which an Arabian Emir hosts. Marbella was portrayed as an extremely affluent city with most cars at the entrance of the palace being very expensive. In the same year it appeared in Steven Spielberg's "Munich" in a very similar context.
Sean Connery used to live in Marbella, near a golf course where he played daily when not filming. He left following disagreements with the local press, and now resides in the Bahamas where he plays golf much less frequently. He lent his image to the Marbella's townhall until Gil used it for political goals.
In 1981 English actress Joan Collins accepted her career making role in the hit prime time melodrama Dynasty while living in her Marbella vacation home.
English songwriter Richard Daniel Roman lives in Marbella.
Actor Dolph Lundgren also resides in Marbella with his wife and two children. They also have a home in London.
Antonio Banderas is a regular visitor to Marbella where he has a house in Los Monteros. He and Melanie Griffith have a daughter who was born in Marbella in 1999.
In 2006, it was revealed that there would be an international advertisement advertising Marbella as a tourist destination. The song on the advert is aptly called Marbella and is performed by singer Cristie.
Many other movies and TV programmes such as Nip/Tuck portray it as a playground for the rich.
ITV aired a TV programme in spring 2007 called 'Marbella Belles' which portrays a series of British woman who now live in Marbella with their rich partners.
Mark Langford – the former, multi-millionaire boss of The Accident Group who notoriously sacked most of his 2,700 staff by text message – died after being involved in a car accident in Marbella on April 11, 2007
salduba in Arabic: ماربيا
salduba in Bulgarian: Марбеля
salduba in German: Marbella
salduba in Estonian: Marbella
salduba in Spanish: Marbella
salduba in Esperanto: Marbella
salduba in Basque: Marbella
salduba in French: Marbella
salduba in Galician: Marbella
salduba in Indonesian: Marbella
salduba in Italian: Marbella
salduba in Kongo: Marbella
salduba in Haitian: Marbella (Málaga)
salduba in Lithuanian: Marbelja
salduba in Dutch: Marbella
salduba in Norwegian: Marbella
salduba in Polish: Marbella
salduba in Portuguese: Marbella
salduba in Romanian: Marbella
salduba in Russian: Марбелья
salduba in Serbian: Марбеља
salduba in Finnish: Marbella
salduba in Swedish: Marbella
salduba in Turkish: Marbella