The much-rebuilt Mondragón Palace perches on top of the El Tajo Gorge and looks north towards the Sierra de las Nieves. Although little remains of the original Moorish palace, it may once have been the home of the 14th-century Moorish King Abomelic, who built the underground Water Mine at the Casa del Rey Moro. What is more certain is that Ronda’s last Moorish governor did live there.
Following the Reconquest in the 1480s, the palace was presented to Isabella and Ferdinand, and today its appearance is largely a hybrid of architectural styles. However, in places there are original Moorish mosaics and beautifully carved wooden ceilings plus a well-restored Mudéjar courtyard, complete with tiled, tinkling fountains and views of the gorge. Other courtyards were less lucky and were clumsily restored under Franco’s regime with lashings of concrete. The palace entrance is flanked by two squat reconstructed Mudéjar towers but is now primarily ornately Baroque.
The small Museum of Ronda and the Serrania on the second floor showcases local history and archaeology – going right back to prehistory – alongside a display dedicated to Megalithic and Moorish tombstones and burial traditions.
The palace is open daily Monday-Friday 10am-7pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-3pm. There is an admission fee. Ronda is small enough to explore on foot and parking is plentiful around the new town of El Mercadillo north of the El Tajo Gorge or outside the old town walls.