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Benalmadena

Benalmadena
Benalmádena is a town and municipality in the province of Málaga, part of the autonomous community of Andalusia in southern Spain. The municipality is situated approximately 12 km to the west of the city of Málaga, on the southern coast between Torremolinos and Fuengirola, in the heart of the Costa del Sol and Alhaurín de la Torre in the North. It has a population of approximately 53,000 residents, but also caters for a large number of tourists. The town is also home to the Enlightenment Stupa, the largest stupa (a structure important in Buddhism) in the West, standing 108 feet (33 m) tall.

History

Historically the region has been occupied and settled by many cultures dating back to the Bronze Age, including the ancientPhoenicians and Romans, and has also been considerably influenced by the Moorish settlement of the southern Iberian peninsula. Two Almenara towers on the coastline date back to the 15th century, originally built to guard the coast and its population from the frequent incursions of Barbary pirates in the days following the reconquista of the region by Henry IV of Castile.

In contemporary times, along with the rest of the Costa del Sol area it has become an important tourist destination. The municipality has been subject to an unprecedented urban expansion in recent years with many new buildings and homes built, sometimes causing environmental degradation.

The name is derived from the Arabic "Bani al-Medina", or "Son of the Settlement".

Benalmadena has both a traditional Spanish village and a modern, coastal, tourist area.

Geography

The municipality has three main urban areas:

Benalmádena Pueblo, the original village, which lies about three kilometres inland at an elevation of approximately 200 m above mean sea level. Its core consists of a typical white-fronted Andalusian village, although much recent building in modern architectural styles has somewhat detracted from its character. The town of Benalmádena also has an archaeological museum with locally-derived artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age.
Benalmádena Costa, an urban agglomeration on the coast. Here there are discos, hotels, beaches, shopping centers and an extensively-equipped marina.[1] Tourist attractions include SeaLife aquarium and Selwo Marina, a theme park with dolphins, penguins and seals among other species. The Parque Paloma is a more recent addition to the attractions, a landscaped park containing a large lake and animals running wild.
Arroyo de la Miel, originally a separate village, is in the interior between the other two areas. It has become the main residential area, and is also the most commercially active. Buildings are tightly packed and tend to be apartment blocks. It also has several attractions such as the Tivoli World amusement park, and a teleferico (cable car running to the summit of the 769-metre Calamorro mountain, which provides panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada, Gibraltar and on clear days, the Moroccan coastline. Arroyo de la Miel translates as "Stream of Honey" in English.

Other attractions

The township of Benalmádena has the largest example of a Buddhist Enlightenment Stupa in the Western world, constructed in 2003.

In Arroyo de la Miel, (Avenida Garcia Lorca), is the Costa del Sol's only real ice skating rink together with an indoor swimming pool.