This is Spain




Monda and its Castle

The site of the town was originally occupied by an Ibero-Roman fortified enclosure established in the 3rd to 1st Centuries BC by the Romans. This was to protect the indigenous Iberian population and to defend the road leading to the more important town of Coín. It is rumoured that there was actually a Phoenician settlement before the Romans came, but there is no firm evidence.

The area where the village sits was an important crossing point located in an ancient communication route that ran parallel to the Mediterranean coast and the settlements came in contact with the interior of the coastal zone. The Romans built a cobbled road lin king the coast near San Pedro, through Istan, Monda, Cartama and on to Malaga. There are still parts of the old Roman road visible today.

It is thought that the name of the village might come from the Roman word Mundare which means Mountain Valley.

On March 17th 45BC, the Roman Civil War, which had been raging for four years between the forces of Pompey’s sons (Cneo and Sexto) and Julius Caesar, was brought to an end when Caesar conquered his opponent at the Battle of Munda. The site of the Romano-Spanish town of Munda is open to some doubt, but it is probable that present day Monda was formerly the site of the battle. When the Romans left, the settlement fell into decline until the Moors arrived and built a fortress.

The original construction of today’s castle probably dates from the eighth century; and it fell into disrepair towards the end of the ninth century. The Christian leader Omar Ibn Hafsun rebuilt the castle and named it Al Mundat; then in 990 it was destroyed by Abbas Ibn Almundir.
It was then rebuilt in the 11th century by the Hammudíes and was an important garrison for many centuries. By the 12th century Monda was am important village famous for its leaders and fighters.

In the spring of 1485 the invading Christians under the command of Captain Hurtado de Mendoza y Luna took control, and the fortress remained more or less intact until 1570 when, after an abortive Arab uprising, it was almost completely demolished. Hurtado became the first mayor of Monda.

The following century, in 1570, Arevalo de Zuago arrived with 80 settlers to ransack the castle, and slaughter the Moriscos (Moors converted to Christianity) living there. The settlers established their town at the foot of the castle hill, where Monda village is today. The church is built on the site of the old mosque. The village came under the jurisdiction of Malaga and during the War of Independence in 1811, Monda played a vital role in the Spanish general Ballesteros Frente a Soul, Duke of Dalmacia’s mountain warfare strategy.

The remains of the castle ca. 1950
The remains of the castle ca. 1950

The castle remained a ruin for 400 years until, in the mid-1970s, a German aristocrat bought what little was left and began an ambitious re-building project. Eventually the castle ruins were sold to a group of English entrepreneurs, who completed the work and opened the place as a luxury hotel. It was sold on to an American consortium with the aim of making it a timeshare, and it was briefly a private club before being taken on by a consortium of Dutch entrepreneurs.

The remains of the Roman road on the Eastern side of the village.
The remains of the Roman road on the Eastern side of the village.
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