Have you met Malaga’s sensational Phoenician Goddess?

Phoenician goddess, Malac

Allow me to introduce you …..

This is Malac, also known as Noctiluca, Goddess of the Moon, the night and of fertility.   This beautiful lady cuts a lonely figure as she stands on the promenade in Rincón de la Victoria, gazing longingly at the sea.

Phoenician goddess, Malac, looks out to sea

Her people, the Phoenicians, who were experienced sailors, navigators and traders, founded the settlement of Malaka (which later developed into the city of Málaga) at the mouth of the Guadalhorce River, around 770BC.  

Yes, Málaga’s history can be traced back more than 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.

Phoenician goddess, Malac in Malaga province, Spain

Málaga’s early inhabitants were mainly engaged in fishing.  They revered their great Goddess, Noctiluca, and worshipped her with offerings and sacrifices at her sanctuary in the present day Cueva del Tesoro (one of only three such marine caves in the world)in Rincón de la Victoria.  

Each year, an image of the deity would be carried in procession and immersed into the sea to provide good fishing for the fishermen.  The Phoenician influence was considerable and many traditions and customs have been bequeathed and continue thousands of years later.  

Phoenician goddess, Malac

To this day, on 16th July each year, sailors and fishermen from villages along the Spanish coast,  parade their statues of the Virgen del Carmen though the streets and introduce her to the sea to bless the waters.

Phoenician goddess, Malac in Malaga province, Spain

The statue of the Phoenician goddess, Malac (Noctiluca) is by well-known Málaga sculptor, Jaime Pimentel.

The divinities may change, but the customs continue.


23 thoughts on “Have you met Malaga’s sensational Phoenician Goddess?

  1. I forgot to mention I visited the treasure cave without a guide .I love it I was impressed by the fact that a Roman fugitive of importance needed to hide in such a place,so far from RomeThe lighting is not good,though my eyes love light so I took a a small torch .In some places the handrail had come adrift. So do be careful if you are also a lone septuagenarian…or older

  2. I fst caught a glimpse o his lovely statue from the bus as I arrived,late at night at the airport I went back to Rincon at the earliest opportunity to see her.I went straight to the tourist Office and asked for the beautiful Green Statue in my enthusiastic approximation of Spanish .The ladies gave me the information and I took dozens of inadequate photos.The buildings are too near to her ! She deserves more space ! To me she has an enigmatic gaze but calm .She looks as if she is looking at all the fishermen and at the sea .She cannot protect all from this death,but she will always be there .I like the benignity of the smile .Those Phoenician Deities suffered as much from the ignorant cruelties of their worshippers as many others,more familiar to us

  3. I haven’t seen that statue (or if I have I didn’t pay much attention haha). I personally prefer the Cueva del Tesoro, maybe because no one ever goes there (usually!) so the atmosphere in the group is usually very intimate. I found the Caves of Nerja crowded and noisy with lots of visitors jostling each other. Also in the Cueva del Tesoro you could put your hands in the basins and touch the water. We also love looking at the underground lakes in the Cueva del Tesoro.

    • I went to the Cueva del Tesoro a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Been meaning to go for years. Unfortunately for us, our group consisted mainly of a coach load of very noisy Spanish students, so it was difficult to hear the guide even when she was speaking in Spanish. Sadly for the English speakers not only was the translation kept VERY brief but the noise level increased even more! I felt sorry for an English family who really had no idea what the guide was saying.

      I agree about the underground pools though … lovely. 🙂

    • Cadiz, on the Atlantic coast is a little older, but YES, Malaga is up there on the ancient list!

      We visited the Treasure cave earlier this week. It’s nowhere near as big or impressive as the Nerja caves – and you are only allowed in with a guide (tours every 45 minutes). There were only a few in our group until at the last minute a coach-load of teenagers arrived! The guide spoke mostly in Spanish and when she did offer a few words in English to several members of the group her language skills weren’t good and it was difficult to hear because of the noisy teenagers!! Frankly I was disappointed, Bob – still, we’ve been meaning to go for ten years and finally got there 🙂

    • Yes, I love the colour too, Sue. Somehow I felt sorry for her though, the way she is gazing out to sea – almost waiting for her people to come and take her home …..

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