Plaza de la Merced
This beautiful square is a must-see for so many different reasons.
Firstly, it is the birthplace of none other than Pablo Picasso. Málaga’s most famous son was born in the house on the most north-westerly corner, which has now been converted into Casa Natal (birth house) where you can visit more of the city’s Picasso offering.
Secondly, no night out can begin without a visit to one of the several bars. By day, Plaza de la Merced is a tranquil ornate square, but by night, this is where the party begins!
Thirdly, in the centre of the square, you will find the obelisk in tribute to General Torrijos who was put to death after leading an ill-fated expedition to overthrow Ferdinand VII. In 1831, Ferdinand VII had been restored to the Spanish throne by the British, but he had rejected the liberal constitution of 1812. His repression of any opponents to his autocratic rule drove many into exile, including Torrijos, who sought refuge in London and became the leader of a group determined to defend the cause of liberty in Spain.
They set sail (financed largely by Robert Boyd, a former British Army officer in India from Northern Ireland, who also accompanied the expedition) and eventually landed, expecting to lead an uprising, on the ‘El Charcón’ beach near Fuengirola. However, they had been betrayed by the governor of Málaga, Salvador González Moreno, who sent a message to Madrid asking what he should do with the rebels. King Ferdinand VII wrote back: “Shoot them all”. They were shot by firing squad on the beach of San Andrés in Malaga, on December 11th 1831.
The obelisk in the Plaza de la Merced was put up by popular subscription as a monument to Torrijos and all the men who died with him. They now lie buried beneath it, with the exception of Boyd, who was buried in the English Cemetery.