It has always been known Estepona town hall was in the Plaza de Las Flores, in the town centre, in the 19th century. But nobody knew exactly which building it was. Now, however, the discovery of a painting on the front of one of the buildings means that its exact location has finally come to light.
The councillor for Heritage, José María Guerrero, says documents in the municipal archive refer to a property with a large balcony, but that also applies to many other houses in the square. The mural which has just been found shows scrolls and ornamental features around a marble plaque saying 'Plaza de la Constitución' (in honour of the Constitution of Cadiz of 1812). This information appears in some of the minutes of council meetings in the past, and it confirms that this building, which now has two bar-restaurants on the ground floor and apartments above, was the town hall during the liberal triennium (1820-1823). José María Guerrero says that when King Fernando VII returned to power he ordered the plaque to be covered up, and that is what has made it so difficult to identify the location of the town hall building.
The mural is now being restored by the council's heritage conservation department and it is similar to other late Baroque paintings in Malaga city. There are some good examples in Plaza Manuel Alcántara and Calle Mondéjar.
The restoration works have not only led to this mural being discovered, but also another interesting finding in the interior: a courtyard with arches. “During the works to change the layout of the rooms inside the building, a patio with arches and columns was discovered,” says Guerrero. The patio will be preserved but not restored, because the plans for the building have already been finalised.
This is the first time Estepona council has taken action of this type to recover a mural on a historic buildings, and it says it is prepared to collaborate with owners of other old houses if murals are found on their properties.
The works to remodel the historic town centre, and the restoration of buildings by private owners, have provided some interesting information about Estepona's past. The most outstanding find so far was a medieval tannery, the best-preserved on the Iberian peninsula, in the same square.