Plaza de la Merced
Also known by other names such as Plaza del Mercado (Market Square) or Plaza de Riego (Riego Square), it is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. At its centre is the Monument to Torrijos, a large obelisk that dominates the square.
It is also known for being the place where Picasso took his first steps, as the Fundación Picasso Museo Casa Natal is in the apartments, known as Casas de Campo, on one side of the square. Politicians such as General Riego, sculptors like Fernando Ortiz, writers such as Juan José Relosillas, architects such as Gerónimo Cuervo and painters such as Bernardo Ferrándiz have all lived in the square.
The square was a public market in the 15th century and it was a place of leisure and recreation for citizens in the late 19thcentury. The sound of the bells of the church of La Merced, near Picasso’s birthplace, was witnessed by a mosaic of popular figures that the great artist portrayed throughout his life.
Turkey keepers, milk vendors with their herds of goats, candy, biznaga (floral adornment that is typical to Málaga) and jam sellers, guitar makers, servants and soldiers all wandered around the monolith which, since 1842, stands in the centre of the wooded square in tribute to General Torrijos, whose slogans of freedom and justice were a reference point for the boy named Pablo Ruiz Picasso.
And we shouldn’t forget that in this environment, even today, as then, flying doves symbolise the paradigms announced at the cenotaph of the fallen soldier. These are Picasso’s doves, from his childhood until his death, he painted them –from the hands of his father– as the perennial emblem of his long and legendary work.