However, no remains have been found of any significant settlement, although some artefacts of Phoenician and later Carthaginian settlements have been unearthed in different parts of the municipality, as in the fields of Rio Real and Cerro Torrón.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.The coastline is heavily urbanised; most of the land not built up with golf courses has been developed with small residential areas. Marbella is bordered on the north by the municipalities of Istán and Ojén, on the northwest by Benahavís, on the west by Estepona and on the northeast by Mijas. The Sierra Blanca is most centrally located in the province, looming over the old village.
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.
Unlike other towns in the Costa del Sol, Marbella had a significant population before the population explosion caused by the tourist boom of the 1960s.
These include the Guadalmina, the Guadaiza, the Verde and the Rio Real, which provide most of the water supply.
The irregularity of rainfall has resulted in intermittent rivers that often run dry in summer; most of the many streams that cross the city have been bridged.
) is a city and municipality in southern Spain, belonging to the province of Málaga in the autonomous community of Andalusia.
It is part of the Costa del Sol and is the headquarters of the Association of Municipalities of the region; it is also the head of the judicial district that bears its name.
The city also has a significant archaeological heritage, The Marbella municipality occupies a strip of land that extends along forty-four kilometres (27 miles) of coastline of the Penibético region, sheltered by the slopes of the coastal mountain range, which includes the Bermeja, Palmitera, Royal, White and Alpujata sub-ranges.
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.
Archaeological excavations have been made in the mountains around Marbella which point to human habitation in Paleolithic and Neolithic times.
Some historians believe that the first settlement on the present site of Marbella was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC, as they are known to have established several colonies on the coast of Málaga province.
Because most of the mountain areas around Marbella cannot be managed by the City Council and they are under the management of the central government, remnants of the land in its natural state are still preserved in the mountains, where there are chestnut and cherry trees, reforested firs, Aleppo, Monterrey and maritime pines; pinyons, and ferns.