Visitors who arrive to the Old Town of Marbella for the first time, might be really surprised when they see a the square and the quarters around. Not often is it possible to see a modern and viral city like Marbella making such a gentle combination with the old part of town. Turn the corner from Avenida Ramón y Cajal and walk up towards the old quarters and see that the street plan changes, to a irregular layout, characteristic for the Arabic era with very narrow streets covered with cobblestones, seashells and pebbles from the Mediterranean Sea.
On Los Naranjos Plaza (Plaza of the Orange Trees) you’ll find the famous Ayuntamiento (City Hall) of Marbella, which was build in the sixteenth century and expanded in the eighteenth century. Side by side you’ll see amazing old buildings with beautiful hand-painted tiles and wooden carved doors, but the Orange Square is famous for many things.
The square also consist of a numerous of establishments, mostly restaurants which is a tranquility of shade in the summer but always, despite the season have a buzz of tourists who often choose to sit here to streech legs and enjoy the sun. Plaza de los Naranjos have for thousand of years been the place to go, to meet and to be seen. First by the people of Marbella, but as the city got more famous for the clima and the spotless clean beaches around the world, also for the hundred of thousands of tourists who visit Marbella each year.
It is also here on the Orange Square that you’ll find one of the 2 Tourist Offices in Marbella, it is located right next to the City Hall
The Story about the Sevilla Orange Trees in Marbella
The Square is also famous for the many Sevilla Orange trees which blossom in Spring with a delicate scent defiantly worth a whiff. The trees bear fruit in March/April/May and the oranges are for everybody to pick and use, however sort (Sevilla) is known to be sour and bitter and not used for eating. Mostly they are picked and used for homemade marmalade, tea or to add into cake or chocolate and even cosmetics.
One of my friends, Francisco who are from Marbella, home to the most warmblooded Spanish people, told me a story about a group of football fans from Russia, back then called the Soviet Union. The fans went to Sevilla to watch the World Cup in 1982, but before returning home to Soviet Union (by car!) they visited Marbella.
On the Orange Square they discovered the Sevilla Orange trees full of mature Oranges, which anyone can pick – back then, in the Soviet Union oranges were very very rare. The Soviet football fans went ballistic when they saw all the oranges and found out they were free – so they picked some and started to eat them! The taste must have been awful as they are really sour, but the Soviet Fans happy eat their oranges while they squeezed their eyes and got chills all over due to the sour taste.
The locals, who had never seen anybody eat a whole bitter Sevilla orange before, told the Soviet Fans not to eat them, and that they were meant for cooking, but the Soviet Fans who had never seen so many free oranges anywhere insisted that the oranges were delicious. The locals then went to the nearby municipal market and bought hundreds of sweet oranges (Naranjos de Zumo) and gave them to the Soviet Fans – the story goes that the Soviet Fans filled up their car with oranges from the local before they left and quickly learned the difference between the sour ones and the sweet ones!
The Orange Square is the most photographed spot in Marbella
Google have recently created a heatmap overlay showing which shows the places people like, based on the number of panoramio photos at each place in the world. The dark areas have few photos, the red areas have more and the yellow areas have a large number of photos geotagged. On this map The Orange Square turns out to be the most photographed spot in Marbella and for a reason!
Check out the map below and click it if you want to see some of the pictures taken by your fellow visitors.