Marbellas Spiritual Landscape - Religions of Marbella

Embracing diversity: A guide to Marbella’s spiritual landscape

Teba Siles | · 6 min. read

Marbella, known for its breathtaking beaches and luxurious lifestyle, is also a beacon of cultural diversity and religious pluralism. Its wide array of spiritual and religious offerings beautifully reflects this multicultural spirit. Understanding and respecting these diverse beliefs enriches our cultural experiences and promotes harmony within the community.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore Marbella’s vibrant religious landscape, from historic churches and modern places of worship to the variety of beliefs that thrive in this beautiful city. Discover how living in Marbella can offer a rich tapestry of cultural and spiritual experiences.

1. Old Town Churches

Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnación

The Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnación is a hallmark of traditional Catholicism in Marbella. As one of the oldest and most significant churches in the city, it stands as a historical treasure. Established in 1615, its grand white façade with yellow accents dominates one of the main squares in Marbella’s old town. Although largely reconstructed after the Spanish Civil War, the church retains its historic charm.

Visitors are greeted by a spectacular altar featuring Saint Barnabas, Marbella’s patron saint. The high vaulted ceilings and intricate arches adorned with sculptures of saints and religious figures add to the church’s magnificence. Open for guided tours and cultural events, it welcomes visitors from all backgrounds.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación - Church in Marbella

Insider Tip: Visit during Holy Week to witness the impressive processions, where enormous statues are carried out of the church, offering a vivid display of Marbella’s rich religious traditions.

Ermita de Santiago (Hermitage of Santiago)

Nestled in the picturesque Plaza de los Naranjos, the Ermita de Santiago is the oldest chapel in Marbella, dating back to the 15th century. Built on the site of a former mosque, this simple yet iconic structure symbolizes Marbella’s deep Christian roots and its historical pilgrimage routes.

Inside, the chapel features religious statues and a modest altar, providing a serene space for reflection amid the lively plaza, surrounded by cafes and restaurants.

Capilla de San Juan de Dios

The Capilla de San Juan de Dios, dating back to the 16th century, is a hidden gem located in a narrow street. Built to celebrate the reconquest of Spain by the Catholic Monarchs, it is one of the most beautiful and significant chapels for local parishioners.

The main altar is striking, and the side niches house statues used in Holy Week processions. Notably, the wooden vaulted ceiling, discovered in the late 20th century, and the carved pomegranate symbol, representing the ancient kingdom of Granada, are standout features.

2. Modern Churches

Parroquia Santo Cristo del Calvario

Situated near the main post office, outside the old town, the Parroquia Santo Cristo del Calvario is a modern church built between 1972 and 1976. Its large, open design features a wooden roof and exposed brick walls. The church is known for its beautiful stained glass windows and the striking sculpture of Jesus on the cross by artist Miguel Fuentes Del Olmo.

Interior Iglesia El Calvario - Parroquia Sto. Cristo del Calvario

The church is open to visitors throughout the week, with an international mass held every Sunday at 11:00 a.m., making it a welcoming space for a diverse congregation.

Parroquia Virgen del Rocío

Built in the 20th century, the Parroquia Virgen del Rocío stands out with its striking yellow façade and large bell tower. This modern church is a popular venue for weddings and features interesting religious sculptures and artwork. While it may not draw as much tourist attention as older churches, it is a vital part of the local community’s spiritual life.

Parroquia Divina Pastora

Constructed in 1971, the Parroquia Divina Pastora is located near the center of Marbella, in one of the city’s popular working-class neighborhoods. Given the densely populated neighborhood, the church is always bustling with activities, meetings, and celebrations. The busiest times are during Holy Week and Christmas, but the highlight of the year is the celebration of the patronal feast in honor of the Divina Pastora, marked by a traditional community picnic.

3. Unique Churches

Iglesia de San Pedro (Church of San Pedro)

In San Pedro de Alcántara, a charming town west of Marbella, the Iglesia de San Pedro blends traditional and modern religious practices. Opened in 1869, this large church showcases colonial architecture with a yellow and white color scheme, a grand bell tower, and an impressive vaulted ceiling.

The church is open daily and provides a peaceful retreat for visitors. Its spacious interior and vibrant community activities welcome people of various faith backgrounds.

4. Coastal Churches

Ermita del Santo Cristo (Hermitage of the Holy Christ)

Located along Marbella’s scenic coastline, the Ermita del Santo Cristo is a sacred site attracting visitors seeking solace and reflection. This hermitage, open to individuals of all faiths, offers a serene environment for prayer and contemplation, enhanced by breathtaking coastal views.

Diversity of Beliefs

Mosque Marbella

The Mosque Marbella, also known as the Mezquita del Rey Abdelaziz, is a prominent symbol of Islam in Marbella. Funded by Saudi Arabia, this mosque represents Marbella’s commitment to religious diversity. It serves the Muslim community with religious services, education, and community support. The mosque’s architecture, a blend of Andalusian and Arab influences, provides a peaceful space for worship.

Mezquita de Marbella - Marbella Grand Mosque - King Abdul Aziz Mosque

Synagogue of Marbella

The Beth El Synagogue on Calle Jazmines is the heart of Marbella’s Jewish community. The original synagogue dates back to 1491, and the current one was consecrated in 1978. It offers religious services, cultural events, and educational programs, catering to the spiritual needs of Jewish residents and visitors. Kosher food is also available through the synagogue, maintaining Jewish dietary traditions.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses have a significant presence in Marbella, with services offered in multiple languages to cater to the diverse community. Here are the details for their services:

Spanish Language:

  • Calle Barquilla, 1, bajo A (Edificio Caracas), 29600 Marbella.
    • Tuesday & Wednesday: 20:00
    • Saturday: 19:00
    • Sunday: 10:00 & 12:30
  • San Pedro Alcántara, Calle Amor 14, 29670.
    • Thursday & Saturday: 19:30
    • Friday: 20:00
    • Sunday: 12:00

French Language:

  • San Pedro Alcántara, Calle Amor 14, 29670.
    • Tuesday: 19:30
    • Saturday: 17:00

Tagalog Language:

  • San Pedro Alcántara, Calle Amor 14, 29670.
    • Wednesday: 19:30
    • Saturday: 09:30

Russian Language:

  • Calle Barquilla, 1, bajo A (Edificio Caracas), 29600 Marbella.
    • Monday: 19:30
    • Saturday: 11:30

Other Religious Centers

Marbella’s spiritual diversity extends beyond Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The city is home to various other religious centers, including Buddhist temples and Hindu prayer halls, reflecting its openness to different spiritual practices. This diversity highlights Marbella’s commitment to inclusivity and religious tolerance.

A city that embraces spiritual diversity.

Marbella’s rich tapestry of spiritual diversity is a testament to its multicultural identity. Its diverse spiritual offerings show the city’s efforts to promote inclusivity and religious tolerance. Understanding and respecting these beliefs fosters a harmonious community where everyone feels welcome.

Exploring Marbella’s spiritual landscape provides a deeper appreciation of the city’s cultural richness. From historic churches and modern places of worship to diverse religious centers, Marbella offers a unique spiritual experience for residents and visitors.

We extend our gratitude to the city of Marbella for its continuous efforts to promote inclusivity and religious tolerance. Special thanks to the individuals and organizations that contribute to Marbella’s vibrant spiritual landscape, making it a welcoming place for people of all faiths and backgrounds.