It will take two to three weeks to clean the massive pergola. / Pedro J. Quero

Calima clean-up begins of the famous award-winning pergola in Malaga's port

The emblematic 400-metre long structure was badly stained by muddy rain carrying Sahara desert sand dust back in March


In recent weeks many people in Malaga have been asking when the pergola in the Palmeral de las Sorpresas in the Port was going to be cleaned, after it was badly affected by the calima (airborne dust from the Sahara desert) back in March. Now, they need worry no more about the appearance of one of the most popular and emblematic parts of the city: after two months of waiting, work has begun to clean the brown stains off the concrete pergola.

The Junta de Andalucía is carrying out the works, which will take at least two to three weeks because of the size of the pergola, as each slat will need to be carefully cleaned in turn. Due to its height, a lifting platform is also having to be used.

The reason it has taken so long to start the clean-up operation is that there were two episodes of calima and further threats of muddy rain during the spring, so the authorities decided to wait until the risk of more was over.

Then, the contract for the works had to be put to tender because the maintenance contract for El Palmeral does not include this type of cleaning operation. The timing also had to be carefully organised, because an exhibition is due to take place in the same area later this month; in fact, the works had to stop for a while on Wednesday while a series of statues created by Belgian artist Arne Quinze were brought onto the site.

The pergola is the main feature of El Palmeral de las Sorpresas in Malaga port, and its award-winning design is by architect Jerónimo Junquera. It is 400 metres long, 11 metres high and 265 white reinforced concrete slabs hang from it. White? Well, they have been stained brown for the past two months but, thanks to these works, they will soon be back to their original immaculate appearance.