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) is a city and municipality in southern Spain, belonging to the province of Málaga in the autonomous community of Andalusia.
The existence of a Roman population centre in what is now the El Casco Antiguo (Old Town) is suggested by three Ionic capitals embedded in one section of the Murallas del Castillo (Moorish castle walls), the reused materials of a building from earlier times.
Recent discoveries in La Calle Escuelas (School Street) and other remains scattered throughout the old town testify to a Roman occupation as well.
The fauna is represented by golden eagles, Bonelli's eagles, short-toed eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, genets or musk cats, badgers, wild goats, deer, martens, foxes and rabbits.
The coast has the Natural Monument site of the Dunas de Artola, one of the few protected natural beaches of the Costa del Sol, which contains marram grass, sea holly, sea daffodils and shrubs such as large-fruited juniper.
Due to the proximity of the mountains to the coast, the city has a large gap between its north and south sides, thus providing views of the sea and mountain vistas from almost every part of the city.
From the estimated volume of municipal waste in 2010, the City calculates the population during the summer months at around 400,000 people, while official police sources estimated it at about 500,000, with a peak of up to 700,000 people.The municipality covers an area of 117 square kilometres (45 sq mi) crossed by highways on the coast, which are its main entrances.In 2012 the population of the city was 140,473 inhabitants, making it the second most populous municipality in the province of Málaga and the eighth in Andalusia.After the plain lies an area of higher elevations of between 100 and 400 m, occupied by low hills, behind which rise the foothills and steeper slopes of the mountains.The coast is generally low and sandy beaches that are more extensive further east, between the fishing port and the Cabopino.