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Experts ponder fate of 11th-century remains blocking path of Malaga Metro works

Aerial image of the remains discovered opposite El Corte Inglés in Malaga city.
Aerial image of the remains discovered opposite El Corte Inglés in Malaga city. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ
  • Talk of a 'museum exhibit' in a future Malaga Metro station have arisen due to reluctance to remove well-preserved remains

Decisions will now be made following the publication of an advisory report on the discovered remains of the Moorish district of Al-Tabbanin, found during the construction of Malaga's metro line.

The report recommends the preservation of the greatest possible area of the archaeological remains, on the site of the Guadalmedina station, outside El Corte Inglés.

Al-Tabbanin's labyrinth of houses, paved streets, drains and wells dates back to the 11th century. During the Christian conquest, towards the end of the 14th century, the neighbourhood was razed to the ground, and was not occupied again until the 17th century.

The remains of a 60-square-metre home, which consists of a central patio, three rooms, flooring and a sanitation system, have been especially well-preserved. There is a general reluctance to touch these particular remains, and the archaeologists's report pushes for maximum preservation.

Nevertheless, the discovery of the Islamic remains sparked controversy from the outset, as sides clashed over the next step to make. On the one hand, it is argued that the Al-Tabbanin structures are not of architectural value enough to justify complete preservation, and should therefore be removed in order to prevent further interruption to the current metro works. 3D technology means that archaeologists have already been able to document the remains sufficiently.

Others have been calling for the remains of the 60m-square house to be protected as a museum exhibit within the future Guadalmedina station, in a way that echoes the metro's preservation of a water reservoir in Granada.

Questioned by SUR, Mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, was unwilling to pass judgement; he recognised that it should be the regional Culture ministry that makes the decision and determines the fate of the Al-Tabbanin remains. Authorities will be eager to come to a consensus ahead of the August holiday period, and so a decision is expected to be announced in the upcoming days.