La Casa del Rey Moro
The Casa del Rey Moro is a monumental ensemble unique for its historical interest as a key location in the history of the Reconquest and in the defense of Ronda throughout the centuries.
It consists of three parts: the water mine, the house and the garden.
- The Water Mine (one of the best conserved exemplars in Spain)
- The House, an amalgamation of several 18th century homes conceived by the Duchess of Parcent (currently undergoing restoration)
- The Garden, designed for the Duchess by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier in 1912 (the French landscape architect’s first recognised work in Spain)
Forestier’s Mediterranean-style garden combines elements of classic Hispano-Moorish garden design with the geometric layout of a French garden. It accommodates its outline to the solar strait in the uneven terrain in which it is found by means of three terraces. Additionally, it exploits the site’s full potential by including scenic overlooks with views of the El Tajo gorge and the mountains
The Water Mine is a complex feat of hydraulic engineering for military use; a vertical passageway carved into the wall of the gorge following the line of a natural crevice hidden within the walls of El Tajo. The tour of The Mine
takes you on a unique journey down through its galleries to the bed of the River Guadalevín (some 60 metres/200 feet below), a natural environment of great beauty.
The Water Mine and the Historic Garden are currently open to visitors.
From the beginning of the 18th century, the Casa del Rey Moro passed through several hands until in 1767 it was acquired by Jacinto Salvatierra and Tabares. This owner ennobled the house with a cover on which was the family coat of arms, today destroyed.
This family belonged to an old lineage linked to the conquest of Ronda in the 15th century: its ancestor, Vasco Martín de Salvatierra, had been a continuum of the Catholic Monarchs; that is, he was one of the 100 members of the king’s guard who guarded his palace. As a reward for his participation in the conquest of Ronda, he received a house in the repartimiento of the Muslim city: later it would become the sumptuous Palace of the Marquises of Salvatierra that is situated in front of this Casa del Rey Moro.
After Jacinto Salvatierra bought this house, in 1795, his nephew, Bartolomé Félix de Salvatierra and de la Barra became the first Marqués de Salvatierra, with the creation of the marquisate by order of Carlos IV. Later, he sold the Casa del Rey Moro to a political nephew and, in this way, the monument was inherited by different members of the family until it was purchased by the American billionaire Lawrence Perin.