Monda - CASTLE
Castillo de Monda has enjoyed mixed fortunes over the centuries.
The original construction may date from the eighth century; if so, it must have fallen into disrepair towards the end of the ninth century. Christian leader Omar Ibn Hafsun rebuilt the castle and named it Al Mundat; some remains from this era can still be seen today. In 990 it was destroyed by Abbas Ibn Almundir. It was rebuilt in the 11th century by the Hammudíes and was an important garrison for many centuries. In the spring of 1485 the invading Christians under the command of Captain Hurtado de Mendoza y Luna took control.
Arturo, Beatriz and the blood-red almond blossom
Mendoza became Monda's first Christian mayor, and according to legend he had a daughter of exceptional beauty called Beatriz, who was known in the castle as ‘la Buena Villeta'. Over in Tolox the mayor had a son called Arturo. The two lovers used to meet in the shrine of Virgin del Almendro in the castle. One day Arturo arrived bearing bad news - he had to leave for America - the New World - with his father. He picked an almond blossom, gave it to Beatriz as a token of their enduring and everlasting love, and was gone.
For a long time the flower remained fresh, which Beatriz took as a sign that her Arturo was well. Then one day it withered suddenly, and drops of blood fell from the almond blossom and the other flowers in the shrine. Beatriz, who believed in omens, decided that Arturo must be dead. She fell at the feet of the Virgin and died of grief, and this is why the almond blossom you see around Monda has a reddish tone. She is said to still walk the castle at night.
The following century, in 1570, the Moorish revolt tested the patience of the Christian rulers from the north. Arevalo de Zuago arrived with 80 settlers to ransack the castle, and slaughter the Moriscos (Moors converted to Christianity) therein. The settlers established their town at the foot of the castle hill, where Monda village is today.
The castle remained a ruin for 400 years until, in the mid-1970s, a German aristocrat bought what little was left and began the ambitious re-building project. Eventually he tired of what he considered over-complicated Spanish bureaucracy, and sold out to a group of English entrepreneurs, who completed the castle as it is seen today. It was opened as a luxury hotel but closed at the end of the century.