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History of Rota
Prehistory and Ancient Age
As for the etymology of the place name, Rota has had many names throughout its history.
Although there are remains in Rota from the Copper Age. The town of Rota is of Phoenician origin. With the name of Astaroth, whose meaning is “Port of Asta”. Later came the Romans who called it Oraculum Menestei and then Speculum Rotae.
With the arrival of the Arabs it was called Rabita Rutta, and later it was called Rutta. The Arabs built a fortress, because they suffered from the Norman incursions. In 1197, Ibn Arabi of Murcia, a Muslim philosopher and mystic, visited it.
In 1248, with the capture of Seville by the Christians, Rota submits. After the capture of Cadiz there was a Mudejar uprising, killing the Castilian garrison. But after the capture of Jerez in 1264, the Mudejar population is expelled.
Already in Christian times, its name was changed to Rotta and finally Rota.
In 1349, Alfonso XI confirmed to Pedro Ponce de León the possession of the town with inheritance rights.The Catholic Kings were in Rota in 1477 in their castle.
Until 1493, the port of Rota had played a leading role in trade relations with North Africa. However, due to a royal prohibition, the facilities were not used. Even so, it seems that it continued to be used.
In the year 1522 there was a plague epidemic. There were also Berber attacks at that time. That is why they fortified the city by building cannon batteries.
In 1569, a plague was repeated. And in 1680 another epidemic is declared. After the death of Carlos II the War of Succession begins and the coasts of Rota are invaded by the Anglo-Dutch army.
The wharf of Rota served for the disembarkation of its troops. Almost a month later, they retire after having taken Puerto Real. Because they suffered many casualties.
In 1800 another epidemic appears, this time, Yellow Fever.In 1810 Napoleon’s troops arrive and stay until 1812. In 1823, it was the abolition of the lordships at the national level. That is why the Duchy of Osuna no longer had jurisdiction over the entire region. There was another epidemic in 1834, along with an economic crisis that had been present for ten years.
In 1873, Rota is declared an independent canton from July 22nd to August 3rd.
In 1955 the Rota Naval Base was installed, which led to the growing number of businesses. But little by little the abandonment of agriculture and fishing. Nowadays, the source of wealth is tourism.
Castillo de Luna
First of all the Castillo de Luna which is a fortress that is a Cultural Interest Property with the category of monument. It was built by the Arcos family. But currently the Town Hall is the owner. The name of the castle comes from the wife of Pedro Ponce de Leon who married a daughter of Alvaro de Luna.
The Church of the O
It is a nave with a central and unique late Gothic style. But also with Plateresque influence. It also has five chapels. It is from the year 1537 and its interior stands out for its combination of Gothic, Isabelline, Plateresque and Baroque styles. It also houses images of the choir, the 18th century organ, the 18th century Triana tiles and many silver pieces and various carvings of great interest.
It’s a big oval around the city. Built of masonry and 2 meters thick. First of all its function was to separate the surroundings of the ribat with the settlements outside the fortress. And also later for a more defensive use. Batteries and bastions were also added. Today only traces remain, as well as the gates.
Which are Natural Monuments. It is a plot delimited by artificially built walls that separate the surface from the sea in different compartments. Romans used them for fishing. It was used until the middle of the 20th century. In addition to its historical and cultural value, it is of great ecological interest. Because they are home to a great diversity of both animal and plant species.
Chapel of Charity
It’s an 18th century chapel. It has a Latin cross plant. In addition it is the baroque monument in Rota par excellence. Also it is of emphasizing his altarpiece of the same century.
The Chapel of San Roque
It is a 17th century chapel. It is composed of three naves separated by low and thick columns. It was originally a chapel on the outskirts of Rota.
Lighthouse of Rota
Which is a lighthouse above the gate of the walled enclosure. It is 15 metres above sea level and 9 metres above the ground.
La Merced Tower
It is part of the old convent of La Merced, from the 17th century. Destroyed by a storm in 1722, the current one was built.
Economy of the city
First of all, Rota’s main source of income is the U.S. military installation at the Rota Naval Base. This base receives about 600 million Euros in the whole Bay of Cadiz every year.
The per capita income of this municipality is the seventh in its province. However, this figure could be higher due to the underground economy. And this, added to other social aspects, has meant that the population has increased considerably in recent decades.
Among the different positive points of the impact of the Rota Base, we can highlight the education, culture, local commerce, increase of the population… This has led to an enrichment and prosperity of many sectors such as cab, construction, hospitality and other services.
The Tourism in Rota
On the other hand, it is also a great source of income the tourism in the coastal locality of Rota. It can be said that the American naval base is the first source of the economy, but it is clear that tourism is the second. Because Rota naturally depends on seasonal tourism. Mainly thanks to the income during the summer time of the tourists that come to Rota. Both nationals and foreigners, especially from the European Union.
For that reason Rota has more than 4,200 places of lodging, distributed in:
- 8 hotels
- 8 hostels and pensions
- 3 tourist apartments
- 1 campsite
- numerous houses for tourist purposes registered with the Junta de Andalucía.
Rota Illustrious Characters
José María Ruiz-Mateos
José María Ruiz-Mateos y Jiménez de Tejada was born in Rota on 11 April 1931. He was a businessman and main shareholder of the extinct Rumasa and Nueva Rumasa groups of companies.
In 1983, the Spanish government expropriated the Rumasa holding company, which had enormous economic weight in the country, by means of a Decree-Law. In addition, in 1991 it bought the Rayo Vallecano First Division football team.
After winning a seat in the European Parliament, he led the candidacy of an electoral group in his name, the Ruiz-Mateos Group. He suffered an accusation of false documentation which weighed heavily on him but was acquitted.
In 2005, the Audiencia Nacional sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment for property seizure.
He also held the noble title of Marquis of Olivara, originally from San Marino.
María Teresa Rodríguez-Rubio Vázquez was born in Rota on 18 September 1981. She is a political deputy for Adelante Andalucía in the Parliament of Andalusia.
After the creation of Podemos in early 2014 Teresa Rodríguez was elected as number two in the open primary. She was also elected to the European Parliament. Like the rest of her colleagues, she gave up her full salary as an MEP.
In February 2015 she was elected as Podemos’s candidate for the Presidency of the Andalusian Regional Government.
Teresa Rodríguez was elected Secretary General of Podemos in Andalusia through a process of open primaries.
In November 2016 Teresa Rodríguez was re-elected to the General Secretariat of Podemos Andalucía. She would later leave the Podemos party to join Adelante Andalucía.