Monday, 15 November 2010
Ronda proves a revelation
Its near impregnable position made it significant in Moorish times, and the town features multiple historic buildings from that time -- the most memorable being the ruins of the Arabic baths (Banos Arabes) and the Palacio de Mondragon (home of Moorish kings before the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella kicked them out in the 1490s). The latter is now a museum devoted to the history and pre-history of the region -- tracing the hunter-gatherer origins of settlements in the region, to the Iberians and then the Roman occupation. Ironically, the museum exhibits petered out when it got to Moorish times! The musem did, however, reveal the deep and complex history of the region, reminding me of Sarlat and the Dordogne region: evidently, there are prehistoric cave paintings in the region, plus the ruins of an ancient town about 12km from Ronda.
It turns out Ronda also played a significant role in the Spanish Inquisition, plus was at the hub of much bandit activity in the past few centuries. It has a pretty amazing history, and multiple museums to delight the energetic visitor.