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“Exquisite piece of history - don't miss it!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Palacio de Mondragon

Palacio de Mondragon
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$82.32*
and up
Ronda Historical Walking Tour with Bullring Entrance
Ranked #17 of 86 things to do in Ronda
Attraction details
Estepona, Spain
Level Contributor
559 reviews
246 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,638 helpful votes
“Exquisite piece of history - don't miss it!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2014

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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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Visited September 2013
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3 Thank Turista-Inglesa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Wonderful museum”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2014

The museum was incredibly well curated with all of the information for the exhibits in both English and Spanish. The museum/former palace was divided into different areas with a gorgeous garden. It was a truly delightful experience.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank TGFS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boston,ma.
Level Contributor
285 reviews
80 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
“History with a view.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2014

We loved this little old building with the numerous displays explaining the history of the area. The views of the surrounding countryside and mountains are great, but isn't that what Ronda is all about? Ronda has a very interesting history going back to prehistoric times and the museum covers it all. Very educational and very beautiful.

Visited January 2014
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Thank ricka..
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
Level Contributor
120 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“terrific explanation of the area, in a typical house”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2014

We loved this museum and the charming building, with its lovely garden and views of the surrounding countryside. The exhibits included some very good explanations and remains from pre-history-Moorish period. If you are in Ronda, this would be my #! pic to visit.

Visited December 2013
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Thank travelfromric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“The TripAdvisor map location is wrong”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2014

The Mondragon museo is placed on the wrong side of the river on the TA map. It's in the old town over the river not by the bullring. I'd have had more time to see this excellent museum if I hadn't wasted time looking for it in the tourist trap areas.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Stephen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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