The Centre Pompidou and the Russian Museum Land in Málaga, Spain
The coastal city of Málaga used to be famed for anything but its cultural offerings. Boasting soft sands, a sunny climate practically all year round and a lively party atmosphere, it once looked seaward when it came to tourism and the economy, a tendency which has changed markedly over the past decade. First came the opening of two museums which are now iconic: the Contemporary Art Centre of Málaga (which has hosted exhibitions by artists the caliber of Marina Abramovic and Louise Bourgeois) and the Picasso Museum of Málaga (housing a collection of paintings, sketches and sculptures lent to the museum by members of the Picasso family). More recently, two additional museums raised artistic standards in Málaga’s Old Town: the Glass and Crystal Museum (voted the Number One thing to do in Málaga on TripAdvisor), housed in a 18th century mansion and containing the impressive private collection of historiographer and art restorer, Gonzalo Fernández Prieto (who gives visitors a magnificent guided tour of the collection) and the Carmen Thyssen Museum, focusing almost exclusively on Spanish art from the 19th century.
Even more recently, two additional museums were launched almost at the same time: the Centre Pompidou, located on the chic port of Muelle Uno, is the very first of its kind built outside France. Housed in a colourful glass cube, the museum holds works by some of the most influential modern artists ever, including Pablo Picasso, Rineke Dijkstra, Tony Oursler, Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Chirico, Alberto Guacometti and Sophie Calle, to name a few. Also new to the Costa del Sol is the Russian Museum, a reflection of the many Russians who now call Málaga home. The museum is housed in a beautiful old tobacco factory near the historic center, and contains over four hundred thousand works created between the 15th and 20th centuries.
One of the most special parts of visiting Málaga for a cultural visit is the proximity of all major museums and the ease with which they can be accessed on foot and by bike. Málaga has various bike lanes and public bike rentals, though if you wouldn’t leave home without your own transport, bike insurance is a good idea, as it is when you visit any major city. Most streets in the Old Town cannot be accessed by car, so you can feel much more confident when cycling in this area than in the busy business area. Most museums are within a short walking distance from each other (the Glass and Crystal Museum, the Carmen Thyssen Museum and the Picasso Museum are all in the historic quarters), while the Contemporary Art Centre is a five-minute bike ride away. The Pompidou Centre is almost directly in front of the Old Town (around ten minutes on a bike), while the Russian Museum is a little further (around 20 minutes by bike).
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