Ibn Battútta - on the perilous coast

The location of Fuengirola has always been vulnerable to attacks from boats. One such attack happened when a famous traveller visited around 1345

PATRICK H. MEEHAN

The location of Fuengirola has always been vulnerable to attacks from boats. One such attack happened when a famous traveller visited around 1345. Ibn Battútta was born in Tangier in 1304; he explored and wrote about the ancient world as far as China. The following is his first-hand account of the horrifying danger on the road to Suhayl.

"Marbala is a pretty little town in a fertile valley. I found there a company of horsemen setting out for Malaqa, and intended to go in their company, but God by His grace preserved me, for they went on ahead of me and were captured on the way. When I had traversed the area of Marbala, and entered the area of Suhayl, I passed a dead horse lying in the ditch, and a little farther on a pannier of fish thrown on the ground.

"This aroused my suspicions. In front of me there was a watchtower, and I said to myself, 'If an enemy were to appear here, the man on the tower would give the alarm.' So I went on to a house thereabouts, and at it I found a horse killed. While I was there I heard a shout but vision denied me (for I had gone ahead of my part) and turning back to them, found the commander of the fort of Suhayl with them. He told me that four galleys belonging to the enemy had appeared there, and a number of the men on board had landed when the watchman was not in the tower. The horsemen who had just left Marbala, twelve in number, had encountered this raiding force. The Christians had killed one of them, one had escaped, and ten were taken as prisoners. A fisherman was killed along with them, and it was he whose basket I had found along the road.

"I passed the night in the Castle of the regiment of mounted frontiersmen called the town regiment. All this time the bodies of which were spoken were lying close by. On the morrow he rode with me and we reached Malaqi, which is one of the largest and most beautiful towns of Andilusii."

Ibn Battútta died in 1369; a respected geographer, his works were famous in Arabic and translated to English in 1922.

These attacks continued for another century until 7 August 1468, when the amazing story of "Fuengirola" begins.

  • Patrick H. Meehan is a 20-year resident of Fuengirola and author of Fuengirola Revisited, a unique book that tells the story of the location through the ages. Feedback can be sent to info@fuengirolarevisited.com For more information visit www.fuengirolarevisited.com or follow @fuengirolarevisited on Facebook.