Ronda - Palace of Mondragon
The palace of Mondragon, also known as Palace of the Marquis of Villasierra, is a wonderful building regarding its architectonical aspects, and, without any kind of doubts, is the most significant civil monument of Ronda.
The legend tells that it was formerly home of the great king Abbel Malik or Abomelic, son of the Morocco's sultan Abul Asan. Few years later after the death of Abomelic, the kingdom of Ronda was dependent on the kingdom of Granada, and it is also known that the last arab governor Hamet el Zegrí lived also at this palace.
It is difficult, without an archaeological exploration, to know the aspect of this palace at the arab age, but it can be assured that the building had to be organized around the courtyard next to the Tajo, adding also the garden. The current space between the the two suporting walls of the façade did not exist.
At the Christian age the most important alterations of the palace were done. From that age is the closest courtyard to the Tajo, from where you can get access to the garden. It is a very original courtyard with triple low archade at three of its sides over semicircular arches, fine done with bricks over marble columns consisting of base, chapitel and abacus. One fine brick lace draws an horizontal line, tangent to the direction of the arches.
The edge is also made of bricks, generating one plane space between the edge itself and the space were the semicircular space of the arches begins. It is decorated with sumtuous ceramics, which also appear at the triangular space between each arch and the square envolving the arches, in this case with circles, giving the aspect of the Renaissance style.
The second courtyard belongs to the late Gothic style, with stone columns at each side of the door with chapitels with a different use as its original, holding up wooden bases which leads to the intermediate stage, where the different museum rooms are located.
The entrance courtyard is very nice, with a galery at each of its sides, containing semicircular arches, with brick decoration at its basis and top, over columns with Corinthian base and chapitel of the Renaissance style of great quality. Similar to this courtyard was built at Seville the Patio de Levies, which at the moment has been rebuilt as gallery at the Reales Alcázares.
In the 18th century was built the exterior side of the façade, with an important masonry and double columns over a Dorian base and Ionic pillaster chapitel, being the top one pediment broken at its midle point in order to put inside one third decorative order consisting of pairs of Corinthian columns. All that decoration of the 18th century is shown at the ground floor adding also the halt and the formerly stables.
It is also remarkable the noble room of the palace with a wonderful mudejar coffered ceiling.