This building, dating from the early 14th Century but much extended over the years, together with the Villa Paz next door, belonged for seven centuries to the Vázquez de Mondragón family until it was bought by the Ronda city council, restored (it was in a pretty poor condition) and turned into a municipal museum.
It is - and always has been - the most important private dwelling in Ronda, and makes a fascinating visit, although I would have liked it better if it had had furnishings, as you find in English stately homes that you can walk around.
It was until fairly recently always called the Casa de Mondragón - the house - not the palace. An English company rented it from the Vázquez de Mondragón family in the 1970's for a couple of years, using it as the hospitality centre for horse-riding and hiking holidays. They baptised it as a Palace, as it looked better on their brochures, and it's stuck.
The garden is delightful, with water features, some of which begin inside the house and then flow outside. Flowing water in a garden or courtyard is a typically Moorish feature - don't let's forget the seven centuries of Moorish rule in Ronda, which have left their mark in many ways.
The house has the typical Moorish/Andalusian courtyards, with balconies above acting as the corridors between the rooms, gracious pillars holding them up, flowerpots and cobbles in the centre. There is an enormous (but hidden) "aljibe" underground just inside the heavy front door - a water tank for that most precious of liquids; it is probably the original one from eight centuries ago.
The top floor has been made into the municipal museum. The exhibits change from time to time, but one pretty constant feature is the (how can I say this?) the non-standard English translations going with the exhibits. This adds an extra spice to the displays, as you try to fathom out what on earth they mean.
The Vázquez de Mondragón family lived in the house, or palace, (with spinster aunts next door in the Villa Paz) until the mid 1970's. In summer when the fierce Andalusian sun gave temperatures of 35-38 Centrigrade, the little streams and the shady courtyards kept the house cooler, although the family would usually escape to lower temperatures down on the coast.
In winter when the icy winds came off the Sierra, and the streams in the garden sometimes glazed over, the house was freezing, the main form of heating being the "mesa de camilla", which is a table with a thick tablecloth down to the ground, and underneath a brass tray filled with hot coals. You sit round it, have the tablecloth up around your waist, so your legs are nice and cosy and the rest of you is still freezing!
This is the point at which I must tell you how I know all this - and a great deal more - about the Palacio de Mondragón. The last owner, Don Manuel Rodríguez Pulido y Fernández de la Reguera y Vázquez de Mondragón, was my uncle. Or rather, uncle-in-law.
I'm just glad I was never in charge of sewing on his nametapes when he was a boy. :-)
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