Macael Marble


Lions Court Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Local native name

Mármol de Macael

Year designation





Mainly white, other varieties are grey and yellow

Geological settings

Mesozoic – Triassic – Upper Unit of the Nevado-Filábride Complex – Bedar-Macael Unit


Macael and other places, Almeria, Andalusia

Lions Court Alhambra, Granada, Spain

One of the most famous marbles in the world

The ornamental use of marble from the Macael region (Almería, southeast of Spain) began more than 5000 years ago. The first small objects date back to the Neolithic period (3400–3000 B.C.), and its widespread use began during the Roman Empire. Since then, the marble’s use has been continuous, especially since the eleventh century. Some of the best known examples of Macael marble in Spain can be observed in Roman cities (e.g., Itálica), in Muslim buildings (e.g., Mosque of Córdoba or the Alhambra palace), or in Renaissance buildings such as the monastery of El Escorial, among many others. Some are declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. This makes the region one of the most important extraction centers in Spain, both at present and historically. The oldest and most famous variety of marble is known as White Macael (Blanco Macael).

Macael Area quarries

Macael Marble detail

Rafael Navarro