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El Bil-Bil Castle

Overview

El Bil-Bil castle is one of the most unique buildings in the municipality and has become the symbol of Benalmádena. This monument receives more than 20,000 tourists every year, and it is currently home to the tourist office of the city, do you know the history of this special castle?

It's history

Its beginnings date back to 1930, when the Hermann family, of French origin, commissioned the architect Enrique Atencia to build a summer house. At that time, the architecture of Islamic influence was very present in Europe, so Enrique Atencia carried out the project under the neo-Mudejar and neo-Arabic styles, with the collaboration of his great friend Antonio Santiesteban, a well-known restorer of the Alhambra in Granada, who was in charge of making the plaster moulds, the plasterwork and the epigraphic decoration. He also designed the grilles and assembled the tiles in the “alhambrista” style. This unusual house took on the appearance of a castle.

During the construction of the house, the Spanish Civil War broke out and the Hermann family had to sell the property and leave the country.

In 1937 an American family, the Schestroms, bought the property and used it as a private home for 30 years, during which time they made improvements to the exterior and gardens, as well as christening it with the name by which it is known today: Castillo el Bil-Bil. At the end of the 1970s it was sold to the Belgian Gerard Saintmoux, during which time the castle was practically abandoned and suffered a great deal of deterioration due to its proximity to the sea.

In the early 80’s the Benalmádena Town Hall bought the property, at which time it was refurbished and began its transformation into a Cultural Centre. The last refurbishment was financed by the Junta de Andalucía and the Benalmádena Town Hall.

Its name “Bil-Bil”, comes from the initials of its second owners, wife Elsa ‘EL’, husband William (family name, BIL) and their son, also called William.

In 1994, the castle’s surroundings were restored and the wall that enclosed the estate was demolished to open it up to the public. The final result is the current view we have of the building, where every passer-by can see the castle integrated into the Paseo Marítimo.

El Bil-Bil Castle gives the people of Benalmádena the opportunity to enjoy a cultural, protocol and institutional space. It currently has five rooms and a central courtyard where various activities are held. Over the years, all residents and visitors to the municipality have grown fond of the castle, a monument that has become the hallmark of Benalmádena. Every year, the Culture Department offers a large number of cultural activities, concerts, exhibitions and even conferences.


Without a doubt, it is an essential place to understand Benalmádena and a must for any visitor to Benalmádena.

 

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