Mondragón’s Palace (Archaeological Museum)
The Palacio de Mondragón is also known as Palacio del Marqués de Villasierra, and is, without doubt, the most important monument in Ronda.
Legend has it that this building was the residence of the King Abbel Malik or Abomelic, the son of the sultan of Morocco, Abul Asan. A few years after the death of Abomelic, the kingdom of Ronda was handed over to Granada, as the last Moorish Governor to inhabit the palace had been Hamet el Zegri.
Without a serious archeaological study it is a little difficult to say what this palace looked like during the Arabic period, although it is easy to imagine that it would all have been oriented around the courtyard nearest the “Tajo”. This means that the garden as it is today would have been part of it as would the gallery on the front.
The most important work was carried out on the building during the Christian period, like the courtyard that is nearest the Tajo which is reached through the garden. It is a unique courtyard in many ways with its triple series of low arches on three of its sides which stand of some web-built brick walls and marble columns and capitels. A fine moulding made of brick which projects out over the framework of the arch creating a continuous horizontal stetch which follows the line of the arches. The cornise is also created using moulded bricks and leaves a thick stretch between it and the part of the arch, which is aslo decorated by wonerfully intricate and colourful tilework. The curved triangles between the arches and the frame that they sit inside are also decorated with circles that have a clear Renassiance style.
The second courtyard is from the Late Gothic Period and has a front with stone columns with capitels, which are also used as supports for some wooden stocks that provide access to the next floor where the Archaeological Museum is found with its different rooms.
The courtyard at the entrance is also exquisite, with galleries on two of the walls, half pointed arches, decorated friezes, metopas and cornises. All of this is wonderfully built in brick, on very high quality Corinthian based columns in line with the Renaissance period design. There is a very similar courtyard as this one, which was built in Seville in, what is known as the now disappeared,” Patio de Levies”. Today, it has been rebuilt as a gallery in Reales Alcázares.
In the XVIIIth century the exterior facade was built with some complicated and detailed stone work involved. The front has a double pair of columns, the lower ones being set on a Doronic and Ionic pedestals and crowned with a curved pediment which is divided in the centre in order to house another decorative feature in the form of another set of Corinthian columns. This whole lower floor of this XVIIIth century construction was home to a old stables.
The noble Main Hall is worth special mention for its impressive Mudejar wooden marquetry
The Town’s Archaeological Museum is located inside.