Collage of Velez-Malaga. Top left:San Juan Bautista Church, Top middle:View of Vélez-Málaga Fortress, from Remedios Hill, Top right:View of Los Remedios Hermitage、from San Cristbal Hills, Bottom left:View of downtown Vélez-Málaga, from Ermita Remedious Hill, Bottom middle:Vélez-Málaga tramway, near Torre del Mar Beach, Bottom right:View of Vivar Tellez Avenue from San Cristbal Hills
|• Mayor||María Salomé Arroyo|
|• Total||157.88 km2 (60.96 sq mi)|
|Elevation||60 m (200 ft)|
|• Density||470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Vélez-Málaga is a municipality and the capital of the Axarquía comarca in the province of Málaga, in the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia. It is the most important city in the comarca. Locally it is referred to as Vélez. Vélez-Málaga is the headquarters of the Commonwealth of Municipalities of Costa del Sol-Axarquía. The municipality forms part of the Costa del Sol region.
Vélez-Málaga itself is a market city and "bustling market town and supply centre for the regions farmers", 4 km inland from Torre del Mar but unlike the coastal resort not dominated by the tourist industry.
Despite traces of human presence dating to pre-historic times, the first historical mention of a settlement in the area is linked to a Phoenician colony (8th century BC) - remains have been found at Los Toscanos. Also the Romans had settlements in the area, and produced garum.
Vélez-Málaga was founded by the Moors after their conquest of Spain. In the 13th-14th century, it was one of the main cities of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. The population growth spurred the population to build outside the walls.
Vélez-Málaga surrendered to the Christian army of Ferdinand II of Aragon on 27 April 1487. In the occasion, most the Muslim inhabitants fled, or where forced to leave, being replaced by Christian colonists from Castile.
During the War of Spanish Succession, the sea facing the town was the seat of the battle of Vélez-Málaga (23 August 1704) between the Franco-Spanish and the Anglo-Dutch fleets. 60% of the population was killed by Yellow fever in the 19th century. In the early 20th century the city was reached by a railroad connecting it to Torre del Mar.
Starting from 1960s, Vélez-Málaga experienced a boom in tourism.
Notable sites include:
- Remains of a castle on the hill above the town
- Church of Santa María la Mayor (1487), in Gothic–Mudéjar style, built over a previous mosque (whose minaret is the current bell tower)
- Church of St. Francis (15th-16th centuries)
- Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación
- Iglesia de San Juan Bautista church
- Childhood home of Don Miguel de Cervantes
- Palacio del Marqués de Beniel (1610–1616). It was designed by Miguel Delgado, also architect of the Málaga Cathedral.
- Convent of the Carmelites (1699), in Baroque style. It has a Renaissance portal.
- Remains of the walls, including the Royal Gate and the Antequera Gate
- Castle of the Marquis (18th century)
- Coastal watch towers.
The transportation infrastructure is currently being expanded to deal with the extensive growth. A tram service used to run from Vélez to Torre del Mar, which has many shops and restaurants lacking in Vélez. However, due to funding problems the service ceased in April 2012. Along the tramline are the state-of-the-art Torre del Mar hospital and a major shopping mall, El Ingenio whose main store is Eroski. The bus terminal is also being expanded, with service through Torre, through María Zambrano all the way to the Málaga Airport. Buses and trains to the larger cities of Spain are also available from Vélez through the transportation infrastructure.
Vélez-Málaga has an airport (Axarquía airport), and a fishing port. The Autovía del Mediterráneo crosses through the middle of its territory, with a junction to the carretera nacional (national highway) 340.
The municipality's boundaries include some 25 km of coastline. The Vélez River is the significant watercourse.
Location and communication
Neighbouring municipalities are:
- to the north La Viñuela and Canillas de Aceituno
- to the northeast, Sedella and Arenas
- to the east, Algarrobo
- to the south, the Mediterranean
- to the west, Rincón de la Victoria and Macharaviaya, Benamocarra and Iznate
- to the northwest, Almáchar and Benamargosa.
Barrio del Pilar, La Villa, Pueblo Nuevo de la Axarquía "Carabanchel", La Gloria, Capuchinos, Barrio Barcelona, Carretera de Arenas, Camino de Algarrobo, Camino viejo de Málaga, San Francisco.
The most important event of the year is the Royal San Miguel festival, held at the end of September and the beginning of October each year. Other festivals celebrated include the Veladilla el Carmen, Santiago (St James) and Santa Ana. There is also a Holy Week procession, one of the most notable in Andalusia.
Vélez-Málaga is one of the last places in Europe where public cockfighting is conducted.
The town came under the Spanish crown, after Moorish rule, in 1487.
Vélez is currently growing rapidly, with expatriates and immigrants from other parts of Spain appearing in every part of the municipality. Ethnic minority groups include Gypsies, a small Chinese community, Islamic groups especially Moroccans, sub-Saharan Africans, and expatriates from other European Union countries especially Germany and the United Kingdom. In 2003 there were 2,743 residents who did not have Spanish nationality.
Since 1990 there has been a movement, with its own political party, to separate Torre del Mar from Vélez.
Notable people from Vélez-Málaga
- María Zambrano, philosopher
- Fernando Hierro, footballer
- Federico Vahey, minister of justice under Queen Isabella II
- Amparo Muñoz, Miss Spain 1973, Miss Universe 1974 and actress
-  The Rough Guide to Andalucia By Geoff Garvey, Mark Ellingham - Penguin, Jul 12, 2012